Geneva Call

(exists also en espanol, en français, and in arabic).

Linked with Elisabeth Reusse-Decrey – Switzerland, and with Fight against Landmines.

Geneva Call: is an international humanitarian organisation dedicated to engaging armed non-state actors (NSAs) to respect and to adhere to humanitarian norms, starting with the ban on anti-personnel (AP) mines. Geneva Call is committed to the universal application of the principles of international humanitarian law and conducts its activities based on the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.

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About: Since 1992, humanitarian organisations, particularly the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), have campaigned tirelessly for the elimination of anti-personnel (AP) mines. These efforts culminated in the adoption of an international treaty in 1997 prohibiting the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of AP mines, commonly known as the anti-personnel mine ban treaty (MBT).

Geneva Call provides an innovative mechanism for NSAs, who do not participate in drafting treaties and thus may not feel bound by their obligations, to express adherence to the norms embodied in the 1997 anti-personnel mine ban treaty (MBT) through their signature to the “Deed of Commitment for Adherence to a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines and for Cooperation in Mine Action” [PDF File]. The Government of the Republic and Canton of Geneva serves as the guardian of these Deeds.

Under the Deed of Commitment, signatory groups commit themselves:

• To a total prohibition on the use, production, acquisition, transfer and stockpiling of AP mines and other victim-activated explosive devices, under any circumstances.

• To undertake, to cooperate in, or to facilitate, programs to destroy stockpiles, clear mines, provide assistance to victims and promote awareness.

• To allow and to cooperate in the monitoring and verification of their commitments by Geneva Call.

• To issue the necessary orders to commanders and to the rank and file for the implementation and enforcement of their commitments.

• To treat their commitment as one step or part of a broader commitment in principle to the ideal of humanitarian norms.

Thirty-four armed groups in Burma, Burundi, India, Iraq, the Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Turkey and Western Sahara have agreed to ban AP mines through this mechanism. The ultimate indicator of progress however, is not the number of Deeds signed but an effective ban and the practice of humanitarian mine action. Geneva Call is pledged to promote the implementation of humanitarian mine action programmes in mine-affected areas under NSA control, to assist signatory groups fulfil their obligations under the Deed of Commitment and to monitor compliance.

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