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Other countries should reconsider joining Ottawa Treaty -HRW

Other countries should reconsider joining the Ottawa Treaty to ban landmines following Sri Lanka’s accession to the treaty on Wednesday, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

HRW Arms Director Steve Goose on Thursday said Sri Lanka’s accession should spur other nations that haven’t joined the landmine treaty to take another look at why they want to be associated with such an obsolete, abhorrent weapon.

“This should spur other countries that haven’t joined the treaty to review their position and address any obstacles to joining it,” he said.

Sri Lanka deposited its instrument of accession to the treaty with the United Nations in New York, becoming the 163rd country to join.

The Mine Ban Treaty comprehensively bans antipersonnel landmines, and requires destruction of stockpiles, clearance of mined areas, and assistance to victims of the weapons.

The HRW said Sri Lanka participated as an observer in the fast-track diplomatic Ottawa Process, which led to the adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty in September 1997, but said it could not sign due to its ongoing conflict with the LTTE.

“Since then Sri Lank expressed its support for the humanitarian objectives of the Mine Ban Treaty and voted in favor of every annual UN General Assembly resolution on it.