Anti-personnel landmines, scattered in close to 80 countries, are a global humanitarian problem. These horrific leftovers of war kill and maim innocent victims trying to use their land, travel or just play outside. Anti-personnel mines are a costly burden on affected countries, and to citizens who live with the fear of death or injury with every step. Landmines impede development and drain the medical resources of the countries they infest.
"While even the truly pro-ban states at the October 1996 Ottawa meetings were horrified by the challenge, it was precisely Canada's willingness to step outside of 'normal' diplomatic process which was another key element in the success of the ban movement."
Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Laureate for Peace, speaking about Canada's challenge to negotiate a treaty against anti-personnel landmines in one year.
Political momentum to ban landmines was building, yet in 1995-96, international negotiations to limit them using the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, had stalled. With popular concern rising, and the UN process stuck, a small group of countries, including Canada, went to Geneva to talk informally about a ban with the International Committee of the Red Cross and International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
In January 1996, Canada announced an immediate moratorium on the use, production, trade or export of anti-personnel mines. By May Canada announced we would host an international meeting to plan how to completely ban anti-personnel mines.
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