At the invitation of the Government of Sri Lanka, the Special Envoy of the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan will undertake an official visit from 5-7 March.
The visit is of particular significance since Sri Lanka acceded to the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention on 13 December 2017, becoming its 163rd State Party.
The ‘Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction’, typically referred to as the ‘Ottawa Convention’ or ‘Mine Ban Treaty’, seeks to end the use of anti-personnel landmines (APLs) worldwide. It was opened for signature on December 3, 1997, and it entered into force on March 1, 1999. Currently the convention has 164 state parties.
During his visit to Sri Lanka, the Special Envoy will call on President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana. He is also scheduled to undertake a field visit to the Northern Province, accompanied by the Minister of Rehabilitation and Resettlement, D.M Swaminathan, where he will witness firsthand the mine clearance activities being carried out and interact with agencies that clear mines as well as landmine victims.
The Special Envoy’s visit provides an opportunity for Sri Lanka to demonstrate the work that has been done so far in mine clearance, and plans to make the country mine free by the year 2020. In this context, the Special Envoy is expected to meet with the UN Country Team, civil society and other stakeholders to discuss further assistance for mine clearance and mine victims in Sri Lanka.
On Tuesday 6 March at 5.30 p.m., the Special Envoy will deliver a lecture at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies on ‘The Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Landmines: Asia’s Opportunities and Challenges’.
Since 2004, Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein has served as the Chair of Jordan’s National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation. After being appointed in 2009 as the Special Envoy to the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, he has worked extensively with the UN and member countries to promote the banning of anti- personnel mines, worldwide.