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Bosnia-Herzegovina : More than a thousand mine victims in peacetime

26-04-2001 News Release 01/16

Spring is always a dangerous time in Bosnia-Herzegovina, for as the long hard winter draws to a close people go out into the woods and fields where mines and unexploded ordnance — the war's cruel legacy — lie in wait for the unwary.

This month alone nine people have stepped on mines in Central Bosnia and Sarajevo cantons, Srebrenica municipality and the Republika Srpska. Five of the victims were killed and four were severely injured.

Warning people of the dangers they face as they go about their daily lives is crucial. Over the last four years, the ICRC has been conducting a massive, countrywide mine-awareness campaign with Red Cross instructors and volunteers. This has helped to reduce the number of new victims from over 600 in 1996 to less than 100 last year. But there is no room for complacency, as the most recent figures all too clearly show.

On 17 April the ICRC launched its latest mine-awareness activity, a huge publicity campaign. Seventy giant billboards depicting a swirl of yellow tape (used to mark minefields) and a watchful eye were erected in key towns and villages all over the country. The message at the bottom reads: " 1,263..... and how many more victims in peacetime? "