Youth Address 21MSP

Today, the Mine Action Fellows Addressed the 21st Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in English and Spanish.


Thank you Mr. President.

More than 20 years after the treaty entered into force, we still see  States and non State armed groups, using these inhumane weapons. As young activists, we condemn the use of landmines by all actors and we call on all State Parties to do the same. For those who continue to use landmines remember you are not just attacking your enemy, but also the people you want to protect and future generations.

Besides their humanitarian impact, landmines also affect a community’s socioeconomic development. Many people are unable to access their land and essential services such as health care and education. Among us there are Fellows who have had to leave their homes because of mines and still cannot return. 

The impacts go beyond humanity to the natural world as well. We want to thank the president of the 21st MSP for the steps taken to include environmental considerations in mine action. We further urge the international community to continue their work and include an environmental mainstreaming approach in their mine action strategies. 

We have noticed that funding is often concentrated on clearance but we urgently need global support and funding for Victim Assistance and Mine Risk Education, including for community-based local organizations who are leading these efforts on the ground. 

Remember the effects of a mine injury reverberate throughout the international community from individual survivors and their families to global actors. Even after the mines are cleared, we must commit to support for victims and deminers during demobilization. 

Like VA, Mine Risk Education (MRE) often receives inadequate attention in many countries, hindering prevention efforts in providing lifesaving information. 

Information is at the foundation of this treaty. Article 7 reports are a crucial component of maintaining transparency and providing information. It is the state’s parties’ duty to update these reports annually. By transparency, we mean that you should provide disaggregated data and thorough reporting which will highlight the needs of under-resourced activities, like victim assistance, and help donor countries provide targeted funding. 

More transparency through reporting leads to better funding, which should be guided by cooperation between donor countries and mine-affected countries.  At the same time, donor countries, states parties or not, are responsible for understanding the needs of mine-affected countries and distributing funding based on these needs.  

We know what we have to do but how we do it matters as well. 

Queremos destacar el papel que juega el enfoque de género y diversidad en la Convención… La mujer desminadora de Colombia que atraviesa constantemente territorios devastados por el conflicto... El niño que va en bicicleta a la escuela en Zimbabue... La facilitadora que trabaja como voluntaria en las aulas de Camboya y que perdió una pierna a causa de una mina antipersonal… sus experiencias nos da un indicio de los múltiples efectos que las minas antipersonal pueden tener sobre las comunidades. Las políticas nacionales deben tener en cuenta las necesidades diversas de todos los grupos poblacionales y mejorar la accesibilidad a los servicios de la Acción Contra Minas. Necesitamos un enfoque integral que dé respuesta a los efectos de las minas antipersonal en las comunidades en situación de vulnerabilidad, sin dejar a nadie atrás. Debemos asegurarnos de que todo el mundo tenga la oportunidad de contar su propia historia, incluidas las víctimas de las minas.

Además, el enfoque de diversidad debe tener una lógica descendente. Una vez más, reconocemos los inquebrantables esfuerzos por contribuir y fortalecer la representación de las mujeres en el diálogo diplomático y los valiosos aportes del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Género y Diversidad. Sin embargo, este equilibrio de género no significa necesariamente que las voces de todas las personas están siendo realmente escuchadas. Debemos asegurarnos de que el género y la diversidad no sean concebidos como conceptos limitados, por el contrario, deben estar orientados en torno a comunidades con necesidades diversas.

Una mayor sinergia y coherencia política entre la acción humanitaria contra las minas y otros marcos jurídicos de derechos humanos, incluida la agenda sobre mujeres, paz y seguridad, los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible y la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre los derechos de las personas con discapacidad, son cruciales para comprender las diversas perspectivas de las comunidades afectadas por las minas antipersonal.

Tanto para los que están en terreno como los que brindan apoyo desde las oficinas, garantizar el enfoque de género y diversidad podría conducir a una mejor apreciación y consideración de las distintas realidades y obstáculos a los que se enfrentan todos los actores de la acción contra minas, generando nuevas ideas y destruyendo barreras para lograr un mundo libre de minas antipersonal. A medida que se acerca el final del Plan de Acción de Oslo, debemos proponer indicadores más específicos que tengan un impacto real en la construcción de una mayor igualdad. 

We are here this week because we are already leaders in the field - we recognize and promote the importance of the Mine Ban Treaty and implement its provisions. Among us, some are involved in mine risk education, advocacy, victim assistance and clearance. However, we know that youth are seldom included in these decision making processes but are deeply impacted by mines. 

We thank the governments of Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom for their support which allows us to be here today. 

As young people, we envision a world where state parties follow their obligations and support civil society in our work. Demining is essentially youthful, hopeful, and abolitionist. The act and outcome of demining requires us to think beyond geopolitical and resource constraints in aspiring for realities free of violence, conflict, and suffering. Such a revisionist view brings out the best of humanity – our ability to imagine, rebuild, and maintain peace and is an effort that requires all states to participate and everyone to be included, literally leaving no one behind in mine action. 

At this crucial moment with a review conference next year, we must support the treaty and its norms. A mine free world is possible and we will stand with you the states parties as you take the next steps. When things get difficult over the next year refer to the purpose of this treaty; it seeks to put an end to suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines through the pursuit of four core aims: universalization, clearance, destruction of mines, and victim assistance. When all these aims are fully achieved, we will have a mine free world where children can run freely, the environment can be restored,  and all  people can live in peace. 

Thank you.