Jody Williams is the founding co-ordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which was formally launched by six non governmental organizations (NGOs) in October of 1992. Ms. Williams has overseen the growth of the ICBL to more than 1,000 NGOs in more than sixty countries. She has served as the chief strategist and spokesperson for the campaign. Working in a unprecedented cooperative effort with governments, UN bodies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the ICBL achieved its goal of an international treaty banning anti-personnel landmines during the diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997. In the same year, the ICBL and its coordinator Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, continues to campaign for an international ban on the use, production, stockpiling, and sale, transfer, or export of antipersonnel landmines. The signing, ratification, implementation, and monitoring of the mine ban treaty. Increased resources for humanitarian demining and mine awareness programs. Increased resources for landmine victim rehabilitation and assistance.
Each year, 26,000 people are killed or mutilated by landmines of which 8,000 are children. Roughly 3 people every hour, 71 per day are injured or killed by landmines. The roads and paths, forests and pastures of an estimated 70 countries around the world have been made treacherous by landmines. Landmines affect some of the most impoverished people in the world.
There are currently estimated to be somewhere between 60-100 million landmines in the ground worldwide, this remains a rough estimate since few accurate records were kept when mines were deployed. It costs $3 - $30 to purchase an Anti personnel Landmine. To remove a single mine could cost as much as $1000. Landmines inhibit tourism and other potential investments and development opportunities in some of the worlds poorest countries. Landmines destroy livestock and prevent the cultivation of arable land. Rebuilding war torn communities and economies are extremely difficult in these conditions. In many communities, recovery, reconciliation and long-term development are all but impossible due to landmines.
The Ottawa Convention On The Prohibition Of The Use, Stockpiling, Production And Transfer Of Anti-Personnel Mines And On Their Destruction, has now been signed by 136 nations. The members of the G8 that have signed The Ottawa Convention On The Prohibition Of The Use,Stockpiling, Production And Transfer Of Anti-Personnel Mines And On Their Destruction are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom . Still waiting to sign are the United States and Russia .
Still, some fifty countries have not yet signed the treaty. This includes three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -the United States, Russia, and China. The United States reversed policy and announced in May 1998 that it would sign the treaty - but only in 2006 and only if it is successful in developing alternatives to AP mines. Virtually all of the non-signatories have endorsed the notion of a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel mines at some point in time.
Of the 16 nations who are still producers, eight are in Asia :- ( Burma, China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Singapore, and Vietnam), three are in Europe (Russia, Turkey, FR Yugoslavia), three are in the Middle East (Egypt, Iran, Iraq), and two are in the Americas (Cuba, US). There are no producers in Africa. There are over 344 types of (Anti-personnel Landmines) AP that have been produced by over 100 companies in 52 countries around the world.
In her capacity as ICBL co-ordinator, Jody Williams has written and spoken extensively on the problem of landmines and the movement to ban them. In recognition of her expertise on the issue, Ms. Williams was invited to serve as a technical adviser to the UN Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, led by Ms. Graca Machel, former first lady of Mozambique. Prior to beginning the ICBL, Ms. Williams worked for eleven years to build public awareness about U.S. policy toward Central America. From 1986 to 1992, she developed and directed humanitarian relief projects as the deputy director of the Los Angeles-based Medical Aid for El Salvador. From 1984 to 1986, she was co-coordinator of the Nicaragua-Honduras Education Project, leading fact-finding delegations to the region. In her capacity as ICBL co-ordinator, she has written and spoken extensively on the problem of landmines and the movement to ban them. She has spoken in various forums, including at the United Nations, the European Parliament, and the Organization of African Unity.
Ms. Williams also co-authored a seminal study, based on two years of field research in four mine affected countries, detailing the socio economic consequences of landmine contamination. She has written articles for journals produced by the United Nations and the International Committee for the Red Cross among others.
In the course of 1991, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals began simultaneously to discuss the necessity of co ordinating initiatives and calls for a ban on anti-personnel landmines. Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, Medico International, Mines Advisory Group, Physicians for Human Rights, and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation came together in October 1992 to formalize the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
From the beginning the International Campaign to Ban Landmines has defined itself as a flexible network of organizations that share common objectives. In 1993 the Campaign Steering Committee consisting of the original six organizations was formalized, and the coordinator recognized. As dozens of national campaigns formed and hundreds of organizations joined the Campaign, the Steering Committee was expanded in 1996 and 1997 to reflect the growth and diversity of the Campaign. New members included the Afghan Campaign to Ban Landmines, Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines, Kenyan Coalition Against Landmines, Rädda Barnen,and South African Campaign to Ban Landmines. Today, this network represents over 1,000 human rights, humanitarian, childrens, peace, veterans, medical, development, arms control, religious, environmental, and womens groups in over 60 countries. These groups work locally, nationally, and internationally to ban anti-personnel landmines. The ICBL was an important force behind the convention to ban anti-personel landmines signed in Ottawa in December 1997 by more than 120 countries.
by International Committee To Ban Landmines