Feb 15 2024
Past event

Policy dialogue: What role for the UN human rights system in securing an end to ‘the suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines for all people for all time’?

According to the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor maintained by the ICBL, in 2021 there were 5,544 casualties of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), (2,182 people were killed and 3,355 injured), 75% of which were civilians, including 1,696 children.

A range of internationally protected human rights are critically (and often indiscriminately) impacted by the use and long-term legacy of landmines.

International human rights obligations and commitments should also inform demining programmes. Under international human rights law, States have an obligation to protect human rights and prevent human rights violations. Considering the scale and severity of the impacts of landmines on affected populations, this clearly implies an obligation to remove landmines as a matter of urgency, to conduct awareness raising campaigns (especially for children) about the dangers of landmines in affected areas, and provide information on the possible presence of landmines (especially for rural workers). International human rights law also sets forth the duty of international cooperation.

As with all contemporary human rights challenges, the problem of landmines and their terrible consequences for human beings in all parts of the world cannot be solved by the Council or the human rights mechanisms acting alone. Rather, the Council and the wider UN human rights system should work to deepen the international community’s understanding of the normative relationship between human rights and landmines/demining/rehabilitation, should make carefully calibrated recommendations to States as the principal human rights duty-bearers, should coordinate follow-up by the UN system to ensure the implementation of those recommendations, and should ensure that human rights norms are integrated into relevant national, regional, and international policies and programmes. It should also ensure that human rights considerations inform the funding and operation of the United Nations Mine Action Service and initiatives such as the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action and the Safe Ground campaign, an advocacy and fundraising campaign launched in 2019 by the Secretary-General to ‘turn minefields into playing fields.’

Against this backdrop, the Universal Rights Group will organise a ‘by-invitation’ policy dialogue on 15 February 2024, involving representatives of diplomatic missions, civil society, and UN officials, to consider the following questions:

1. How to increase the role of the Human Rights Council and the human rights mechanisms in addressing issues such as the human rights impacts of the use of landmines, ERWs and booby traps?

2. How can the Human Rights Council and the human rights mechanisms help secure, in the words of the Oslo Action Plan, an end to ‘the suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines for all people for all time’?

3. What kind of role have the mechanisms played so far in responding to the human rights challenges posed by landmines? Has this been sufficient? Has it been effective?

4. How can the Council and the mechanisms ensure that human rights obligations and commitments inform education/awareness-raising campaigns, victim support, and remedy, redress, and reparation programmes?

5. How can the Human Rights Council and human rights mechanisms address the impact of landmines on the environment and biodiversity?

6. How can the UN human rights system ensure that human rights standards inform international and regional demining and post-conflict rehabilitation programmes, whether those programmes are implemented by international organisations, civil society, or others?

7. What role can the Council and the wider human rights system play in ensuring that the voices and needs of victims and affected communities are placed ‘front and centre’ in all decision-making related to landmines?

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  • Feb 15th 2024
  • 13:00 - 14:30
  • By invitation only