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Experts discuss explosive remnants of war

23-05-2002 News Release 02/21

A meeting of government experts on explosive remnants of war and anti-vehicle mines was held from 21 to 24 May in Geneva to discuss ways of addressing the humanitarian problems caused by these weapons.

A meeting of government experts on explosive remnants of war and anti-vehicle mines was held from 21 to 24 May in Geneva to discuss ways of addressing the humanitarian problems caused by these weapons. The meeting is the first in a series of three scheduled to take place this year. The experts will report on their work to a meeting of States Parties to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) to be held in Geneva on 12 and 13 December 2002.

The ICRC regularly treats men, women and children who have been injured by explosive remnants of war in many countries affected by armed conflict. " We hope that this meeting and the following ones will lead to a better understanding of the problem and produce broad agreement on measures to reduce the deaths, injuries and suffering caused by these weapons, " said ICRC legal adviser Louis Maresca at the meeting.

As part of its contribution to the meeting, the ICRC highlighted the types of munitions that kill and injure civilians in post-conflict situations. In Afghanistan, for example, over 42% of the total number of mine/UXO victims recorded by the ICRC were killed or injured by cluster munitions, booby traps, munition fuses and other UXO and over 49% were killed or injured by landmines. In Kosovo, 36% of post-conflict victims were killed or injured by submunitions, grenades and other UXO and over 52% by landmines.

The data indicates that a variety of unexploded munitions threaten civilians and that no one weapon is responsible for the problems posed by explosive remnants of war. Consequently, an effective solution will require measures target ing a wide range of munitions. " From a humanitarian perspective, focusing on one or two types of weapons will not adequately address the problem on the ground or greatly facilitate clearance operations, " said Maresca.
 
States party to the CCW and observer States took part in the meeting, which was also attended by non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and the ICRC.