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African Union: Experts discuss assistance for victims of mines and other explosive devices

04-03-2014 News Release

Addis Ababa (ICRC) – The African Union Commission and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are holding a workshop this week to discuss and seek solutions to the challenges involved in providing assistance for people injured by landmines, cluster munitions or other explosive remnants of war. The event, which will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 4 to 6 March, will bring together senior officials from over 15 African States where significant numbers of people have suffered weapon-related injuries.

"Over the past 15 years, a series of treaties have been adopted which aim to ensure not only that landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war are cleared but also that victims receive the assistance they require," said Claude Tardif, who is in charge of the ICRC's physical rehabilitation activities. "Member States of the African Union have taken steps to implement these treaties at national level. Nevertheless, many States that are party to these instruments continue to face challenges in meeting their obligations in the area of victim assistance."

Participants will include senior officials from the ministries responsible for planning, promoting and implementing victim assistance, and victim-assistance experts from the member States, from the ICRC, and from international and non-governmental organizations. Representatives from the African Union Commission will also take part.

The workshop is expected to produce a summary report on the progress member States are making in terms of policy and legislation on victim assistance, and on the challenges involved in implementation. The African Union Commission and the ICRC hope to strengthen intra-African cooperation in this area and to support the countries' efforts to carry out victim-assistance programmes.

This week's event follows a meeting held last year, also in Addis Ababa, on complying with clearance deadlines imposed under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

For further information, please contact:
Belain Gebremedhin, ICRC Addis Ababa, tel: +251 11 647 83 20 / 21 / 22