The Ottawa Treaty is the common term for an international treaty aimed at banning antipersonnel landmines. The treaty is also sometimes referred to as the Mine Ban Treaty, although its official title is "the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction." The Ottawa Treaty was signed by 122 countries on 3 December 1997 in Ottawa, Canada, and became binding law for all signers on the first day of March 1999. The Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor estimates that between 1999 and 2009, the treaty resulted in the destruction of 2.2 placed anti-personnel mines and an additional 44 million stockpiled mines.
An anti-personnel landmine is an explosive military device designed to be hidden underground and is specifically aimed at human targets. The mine can be either a blast producer, a fragmentation device which projects metal fragments, or a bounding device that springs into the air and then releases projectiles in all directions. The mine explodes when a person triggers its detonator either by direct pressure or by close proximity. Article 2 of the Ottawa Treaty defines these devices as being designed to wound or injure people and differentiates them from anti-vehicle and anti-tank landmines which are not covered by the treaty.
The law is deemed to be in force six months after a country signs the Ottawa Treaty, which is housed at the office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. By 2010, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) stated that 156 countries had ratified the treaty. Another 39 countries, including the United States, the Russian Federation, and the People's Republic of China, had not signed. In addition, the ICBL states that most non-signing countries, including the U.S., are in compliance with and are abiding by the terms of the Ottawa Treaty with only two countries, Russia and Myanmar, continuing to use anti-personnel landmines as of 2010.
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Among other requirements, nations that sign the Ottawa Treaty are required to never use, produce, acquire, or transfer anti-personnel landmines. They must destroy all mines in their arsenals within four years, clear all mines out of their territory within 10 years, and offer assistance to other treaty members in clearing mines. In addition, signers are required to pass national legislation banning landmines. Each nation must also make an annual report to the United Nations declaring how many and what types of mines it possesses, where the mines are located, the status of mine production facilities, the number of mines destroyed, and the status of the nation's mine decommissioning program.