ALERT – A mine-free world within 10 years: States must keep their promise | November 26, 2015
To mark the publication of the 17th annual Landmine Monitor report on the application of the Ottawa Convention on 26 November, Handicap International is reminding States Parties to the convention of their promise at the Maputo conference in June 2014 to free the world of mines by 2025. The report also noted a rise in […]
To mark the publication of the 17th annual Landmine Monitor report on the application of the Ottawa Convention on 26 November, Handicap International is reminding States Parties to the convention of their promise at the Maputo conference in June 2014 to free the world of mines by 2025.
The report also noted a rise in the number of mine casualties and the use of mines in 2014. The organisation is therefore calling on States Parties to redouble their efforts to eliminate this threat. “In 2014, States Parties to the Ottawa treaty committed themselves to ridding the world of mines by 2025,” explains Anne Héry, Advocacy director at Handicap International. “They have 10 years to complete their demining programmes, destroy existing stockpiles and provide victims with assistance. We are calling on States Parties whose territories are contaminated to be particularly unstinting in their efforts. We’re also asking funding bodies to stay fully engaged, and to reverse the loss of impetus in terms of funding for anti-mines action.”
The slow pace of demining operations in several countries has thrown into doubt the political will of certain States to meet their obligations. A total of 27 of the 33 States Parties contaminated by mines have been granted extensions to their clearance deadlines.
More than 3,600 casualties in 2014
According to the 2015 Landmine Monitor report, 3,678 people were killed or injured by mines or explosive remnants of war in 2014, an increase of 12% compared with 2013. The report also underlines a steady rise in the use of improvised explosive devices by non-State armed groups.
“The resurgence in the use of improvised explosive devices by non-State armed groups is particularly worrying,” adds Anne Héry. “We can probably expect more contamination and casualties in the future. Some conflicts show no signs of ending or are worsening, so we need to reinforce the stigma against these weapons. The best way to ensure we don’t lose ground is by applying the treaty.”
Anti-personnel mines and improvised explosive devices used as mines kill, maim and cause serious sequelae for casualties – 80% of whom are civilians. Their presence close to water points or public infrastructures poses a permanent threat and slows the development of the countries in question. Whole populations continue to be threatened as they go about their everyday business, such as fetching water or working in the fields.
The recent example of Mozambique, which declared itself officially mine-free on 17 September, shows that the fight against mines can be won. Handicap International played a major role in this country by decontaminating 16 million square metres
of land between 1998 and 2015. In Lebanon, the organisation cleared 92,200 square metres this year; this land was recently restored to the local population. Similar operations will be launched in Casamance, Senegal, at the end of this year.
Around the world, 57 States and four territories are still contaminated by mines. Handicap International is conducting clearance operations, risk education, victim assistance or advocacy actions in 43 countries, including in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine.
You can also read the interview of Emmanuel Sauvage, Middle-East Coordinator for Handicap International, and Alma Al Osta, Arms Advocacy Officer, in Le Figaro here.
The Ottawa Treaty bans the acquisition, production, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel mines. It was opened for signature on 3 December 1997. The treaty entered into force on 1 March. A total of 163 States have signed the treaty and 162 are States Parties to the treaty.
 Improvised explosive devices were used in ten countries in 2014 according to the 2015 Landmine Monitor report: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen.