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Fourth Committee

(New York, October 29, 2009)

Statement by Ambassador Claudia Blum, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations, Item 28: Assistance in mine action activities

 

Mister President,

My delegation aligns itself to the statement made by Uruguay on behalf of the MERCOSUR and Associated States.

On September of 2001, Colombia ratified the "Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction" Since then, there have in the country tangible accomplishments on the implementation of this mechanism. This includes the permanent suspension of the use of antipersonnel mines by the Public Force; the complete destruction on October 2004 of all the stockpiled mines; and the clearance of 12 of the 34 mined fields under the control of the Armed Forces. The culmination of the demining of all these fields has been programmed for the year 2011.

The establishment of a high level Presidential Program that coordinates and monitors the activities of the government institutions with responsibilities in the implementation of the Ottawa Convention has allowed consolidating a comprehensive strategy. The Government puts intense efforts on the area of prevention, as well as victim assistance. Likewise, it provides support to the affected communities through the recovery of the productive lands, the return of its inhabitants, the reconstruction of the net of public services, and the physical rehabilitation and psychological support, aimed at facilitating the full social and economic reintegration of the victims.

The accomplishments made at the National level constitute a contribution that Colombia makes to the Second Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-personnel Mines, which my country will have the honor to host, from November 29 to December 4 of the present year. In this event, the international community will be able to answer to the call the victims, men, women, boys and girls, from different regions of the world, that see their fundamental rights violated, as well as their life conditions because of the use of these artifacts. The hundreds of victims that are taken annually by these arms, and the great extensions of land that are still contaminated, reflect how serious this problem is.

The achieved goals and the challenges that persist on the implementation of the Ottawa Convention, encourage us to persist with the higher goal of reaching a "World free of anti personnel mines". The Cartagena Summit for the Second Review Conference is an opportunity to make of the strengthening and development of the Convention, a common purpose between the Governments, the international organizations and the civil society.

The Action Plan to be adopted in Cartagena has to build up on the results achieved by the application of the Nairobi Action Plan adopted five years ago, and at the same time, it should also reflect the new realities, the emerging needs, and the current nature of the problem.

There are several challenges that this legal instrument still faces. One of them, the use of mines by non-state armed actors. While the State has been meeting the obligations under the Convention, the illegal armed groups have developed new ways of producing anti personnel mines and continue to use them in a systematic and indiscriminate fashion.

The Cartagena Summit offers the framework for condemning the use of antipersonnel mines by any actor, particularly the non-state actors, and for the evaluation of the actions, as well as the alternatives to continue facing this phenomenon in an efficient manner.

The efforts of international cooperation are a main component in mine action. It results indispensable that even in the context of the current financial and economic world crisis, affected countries can count with an adequate technical and financial support that will allow them to overcome the harm caused to the victims and the communities.

Mister President,

A broad and active participation on the Second Review Conference, at the highest possible level, will be a guarantee for giving continuity to the progress shown, and most importantly, to face in a decisive way the new challenges. This will and spirit of compromise result indispensable in order to adopt effective measures and concrete decision in Cartagena that will favor the victims, their families and communities. Likewise, for the humanitarian and human rights dimension are fully incorporated in the fight by the international community against this scourge.

Thank you very much, Mister President.

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