Maoists not committed to banning landmines: NCBL

Kathmandu, October 3:

The CPN-Maoist has “refused” to express commitment to ban landmines in Nepal.

Talking to journalists, Purna Shova Chitrakar, coordinator of the Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (NCBL), said that the Maoists still are not ready to come up with an official commitment to ban the use of landmines in conflict.

“We met Maoist leaders yesterday,” Chitrakar said, accusing Maoist leaders of “turning their back from showing commitment to banning landmines”.

Nepal is one of the countries that have not ratified the Mine Ban Treaty. Altogether, 155 countries have ratified it after the Ottawa Convention, which was held in 1997.

After having failed to convince the government to ratify the treaty, the NCBL urged the parties to come up with their party-level commitment to ban landmines.

Nine parties, except the Maoists, have expressed commitment in writing to ban landmines.

“We don’t know why this ratification is not taking place. We are asking the government and others to clarify why they are not ratifying it,” she said.

The lack of co-ordination among the stakeholder agents is a major roadblock facing the ratification, she added.

“Nepal could be and should be the 156th state to join the Mine Ban Treaty,” she said.

In the year 2007 alone, landmines or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have caused 86 casualties, including 43 children, in 25 out of the 70 affected districts.

A delegation from the International Campaign to ban Landmines (ICBL) is in on a three-day visit to the capital.

The delegation has met speaker, leaders of parties, including the Maoists, senior officers of the Nepal Army as well as members of the Nepal Mine Action Steering and Technical Committees.