UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called Wednesday for universal accession [statement] to the Protocol II on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices (Protocol II) [text, PDF]. The comments came as part of the secretary's message to the 13th Annual Conference on Protocol II. Congratulating the 97 States already party to Protocol II, the secretary reiterated his call to implement the Plan of Action to Promote the Universality of the Convention:
Landmines, booby-traps and other explosive devices aggravate and prolong the horrendous consequences of armed conflict. Both during and after hostilities, they kill indiscriminately, maim vulnerable civilians and cause excessive, yet random, suffering of combatants. Since its inception, the Protocol has helped shape global efforts to eliminate that scourge. ... Furthermore, evidence provided years ago by members of the United Nations Mine Action Team indicates the need to strengthen international rules applicable to mines other than anti-personnel mines. ... Universalizing the Protocol remains as important as ever.Protocol II was amended in 1996, expanding its application to international and domestic conflicts [UN News Centre report] and banning the use of non-detectable anti-personnel mines as well as non-self-destructing and non-self-deactivating mines not in marked, fenced and monitored areas.
The call to universalize the treaty is not the first. In November 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged the US to become a state party [JURIST report] to the Mine Ban Treaty [text], repeating a plea made in March [JURIST report]. The calls came after the US State Department [official website] stated in November 2009 that the US will not be signing the treaty [JURIST report] to ban the use of anti-personnel landmines. In April 2007, Ban urged all countries to sign [JURIST report] and abide by international treaties banning landmines International Mine Awareness Day.