SDP calls on Govt to sign landmine ban treaty

Singapore Democrats

The Singapore Democrats have issued a statement calling on the Government to stop the manufacture of landmines and to sign a treaty to ban the making and use of such weapons. The statement was made in response to the on-going effort by the international community to rid society of the weapon.

In the statement, SDP Chairman Gandhi Ambalam pointed out that the weapon killed and maimed innocnet civilians more than they did army personnel. (See also report by the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor)

The SDP calls on the PAP Government to stop the manufacture of landmines. Landmines are devastating not only to combatants directly involved in an armed conflict but also to the ordinary people who have no part at all in warfare.

It has been documented that use of landmines in conflict zones has resulted in more casualties among civilians than soldiers engaged in armed confrontation. Besides, hidden and buried landmines continue to remain a serious danger to civilians long after the end of hostility, leading to maiming and killing of civilians and children who go out to work and play.

What is disturbing is Singapore’s role in the manufacture of landmines. According to the International Convention to Ban Landmines (ICBL), Singapore has been identified among a dozen countries as a manufacturer of land mines. Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK), a government-linked company, remains the only company in Singapore that manufactures landmines. STK was formally known as Singapore Technologies.

The ICBL, launched in 1992 has been able to bring 155 countries to sign the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction. Known as the Ottawa Treaty, it has also been ratified by 153 countries since coming into force in March 1999.

Singapore is not a signatory to the treaty. The SDP urges the PAP Government to sign and ratify the Ottawa Treaty in keeping with the sentiments and actions of the vast majority of countries. The Government cannot avoid its obligation and remain indifferent to contributing to international humanitarian mine action programmes.

Gandhi Ambalam
Singapore Democratic Party

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