Nineteenth Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II to the CCW
Improvised Explosive Devices
Australia believes that the problem of Improvised Explosive Devices is of great importance and is one which, in order to reduce its threat, requires international attention and cooperation. Many recent conflicts have seen Improvised Explosive Devices used as a weapon of choice. These weapons have resulted in civilian casualties, indiscriminate killing and unnecessary damage to populated areas.
Australia was a lead sponsor, along with Afghanistan and France, of the United Nations General Assembly resolution on IEDs entitled ‘Countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices’ which was adopted without a vote last month in New York during First Committee deliberations.
The resolution encourages States, on a voluntary basis, to share information on diversion of materials, secure their stockpiles and take measures to stem the transfer of knowledge of construction and use of IEDs between terrorist, illegal armed groups or other unauthorised recipients.
We acknowledge the work being done in this area by the World Customs Organisation and INTERPOL. Australia encourages states to support these organisations where possible to assist their work in this difficult task. We also note the success of cooperation between governments and industry in monitoring consignments of IED pre-cursor materials such as fertilizers and other chemicals. Australia recognises the important role industry plays in this issue and that communication between governments and industry has to be two-way.
Australia has been supporting INTERPOL’s ‘Watchmaker’ South East Asia programme, which is helping countries track known or suspected individuals from Australia’s region involved in the manufacture or use of explosives. This programme has established an important network of police in Southeast Asia, who are focused on sharing IED-relevant intelligence. Early next year, our funding will help INTERPOL facilitate a border operation at several key locations in Southeast Asian countries to road-test Watchmaker and national counter-IED systems.
Australia strongly supports efforts to respond to the needs of UN peacekeeping missions operating in new threat environments involving IEDs. We were pleased to contribute to the development of the UN IED Threat Mitigation Handbook, released in December 2016. We encourage implementation of these Guidelines in peacekeeping operations.
We have also contributed to the elaboration of UN IED Disposal Standards, which is being coordinated by UNMAS. We see these standards as providing essential guidance to UN peacekeeping missions on the challenging task of IED disposal in operational contexts. We also support the elaboration of the International Mine Action Standards, including through incorporation of relevant technical elements from the IED Disposal Standards, to provide additional guidance for humanitarian clearance of IEDs.
Thank you, Mr Coordinator