NLIS 7
December 3, 2002
(Youth Services and Post-Secondary Education)
 

The following statement was issued today by Sandra C. Kelly, Minister of Youth Services and Post-Secondary Education. It was also read in the House of Assembly:

Anniversary of Convention to Ban Anti-Personnel Mines

I rise today in this Honourable House on behalf of the Youth Mine Action Ambassador program as we mark the fifth anniversary of the treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines.

On December 3, 1997, representatives of 122 countries gathered in Ottawa and signed the Ottawa Treaty (now referred to as the Convention to Ban Anti-Personnel Mines). This day is recognized as one of inspiration and hope for peace in the world.

After many years of hard work, meetings and lobbying, a community of non-governmental organizations and international governments succeeded in creating and signing a treaty to ban landmines. The goal of the treaty is to ensure that countries party to it will end the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of landmines.

Since the 1997 signing of the Convention to Ban Anti-Personnel Mines, the Canadian government and non-governmental organizers continue to take a leadership role to end the suffering as a result of this indiscriminate weapon. The Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program resulted from the collaborative efforts these two groups.

Here in our province we have an active Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program, a tri-partite initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Mines Action Canada and the Canadian Red Cross. Hosted by Oxfam Canada here in St. Johnís, the Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program aims to facilitate community action and awareness with Canadians across this country.

The youth ambassador for our province is Ajmal Pashtoonyar. I would like to acknowledge Ajmalís presence here in the gallery today. Ajmal is an Afghan native who came to Canada four years ago as a student refugee with World University Science of Canada and is currently studying a bachelor of arts in political science at Memorial University. In 1994, while travelling in his home country, Ajmal became an eyewitness to the destruction and devastation caused by decades of war and civil fighting. It was at this time that he met with landmine survivors and felt a deep commitment to be involved in the anti-landmine movement.

I invite all honourable members to join me in marking the anniversary of the treaty and to recognize it as a moment of inspiration and hope for peace in the world.

Photo #1: Sandra C. Kelly, Minister of Youth Services and Post-Secondary Education, and Ajmal Pashtoonyar, of the Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program, sign a proclamation to declare that December 3, 2002 be recognized as Mine Ban Treaty Day in Newfoundland and Labrador. (December 3, 2002)

2002 12 03                                         1:55 p.m.


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