Minister of State Kent Attends Ottawa Convention Second Review Conference

(No. 372 - December 4, 2009 - 4:20 p.m. EST) The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), today concluded his participation in Cartagena, Colombia, in the Second Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines.

"One hundred and fifty-six countries are party to the Ottawa Convention, which has proven to be a great legal tool to address the scourge of anti-personnel mines," said Minister of State Kent. "Our collective efforts over the past decade have yielded some remarkable results. More than 42 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed, over 3,200 square kilometres of land have been cleared in approximately 90 countries, and hundreds of thousands of survivors have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into their communities as full, productive members."

The Second Review Conference of the Convention, also called the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World, took place from November 30 to December 4. While at the Conference, Minister of State Kent signed the Cartagena Declaration, which reaffirms States Parties’ commitment to the goal of a mine-free world.

"As we celebrate our success to date, Canada, in partnership with other countries, recommits to supporting mine action and all other activities necessary to protect innocent civilians from the ravages of war," said Minister of State Kent. "Canada will do its part to implement the Cartagena Action Plan that will guide international mine action over the next five years."

The Ottawa Convention, officially known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Production, Stockpiling and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction was signed by 122 countries on December 3, 1997, and entered into force on March 1, 1999.

Over the past 10 years Canada has supported mine action in nearly 60 countries, including many in the Americas. Canada has been particularly active in Afghanistan and Cambodia, the world’s most severely mine-contaminated countries.

During his trip, Minister of State Kent also met with Colombian civil society representatives and government officials, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaime Bermúdez Merizalde.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Eleanor Johnston
Senior Special Assistant (Communications)
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)
613-947-898

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874