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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka, in partnership with the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI), recently hosted a lecture by the Special Envoy on the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, His Royal Highness Prince Mired Bin Ra’ad Bin Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan on ‘The Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Landmines – Asia’s Opportunity and Challenges.’ The lecture was held at LKI on 6 March 2018.
In the course of his lecture, HRH Prince Mired congratulated Sri Lanka on its accession in December 2017, to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (commonly referred to as the Ottawa Convention, or the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty). He commended Sri Lanka’s commitment to mine clearance and highlighted its potential for a leadership role, stating that, “With its accession, Sri Lanka has come to occupy its place among States Parties and could help drive international efforts to foster this norm in the region – it puts Sri Lanka in a position of great responsibility.”
HRH Prince Mired observed that the Convention is one of the fastest adopted disarmament treaties in history. It includes key novel elements such as victim-oriented assistance through rehabilitation, the provision of healthcare, and economic support for victims of landmines.
Prince Mired also explained Jordan’s own efforts with regard to victim assistance, remarking that, “We are trying our best to address the direct needs of our landmine and other ERW (explosive remnants of war) survivors on the one hand, and at the same time we are working diligently to promote the rights of people with disabilities in Jordan more broadly.” He spoke about legislation on ‘The Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ which places obligations on the Jordanian government vis-a-vis education, health, diagnostic testing, accessibility, voting, employment, and de-institutionalising persons with disabilities, to facilitate social integration and inclusion.
Following the lecture, LKI’s Executive Director, Dr. Dinusha Pandiraratne, chaired a question and answer session with Prince Mired. In moderating the discussion, she noted the global, regional, and national importance of banning anti-personnel landmines, highlighting Sri Lanka’s potential to multiply the impact of this Convention by promoting the ban on landmines in South Asia and showing that there is no necessary dissonance between the Convention and the pursuit of national security. She observed that the “treaty is a defining example of the power of civil society to change norms, and to change lives for the better – an example that is very timely in its message of hope and encouragement.”
The high-profile dialogue drew a diverse group of participants, including policymakers, scholars from universities and think tanks, media, representatives from the private sector and civil society and students. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions and engage in a broader discussion of the challenges and opportunities for the Ottawa Convention and its role in the Sri Lankan context.
Video of the lecture
Photos: Fluke, by Ruvin de Silva
Resources from the lecture
- Read the key Takeaways from lecture here.
- Download the full text of HRH Prince Mired’s remarks below.