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15 years on from mine ban: No time for complacency

20-06-2014 News Release 14/108

Geneva (ICRC) – Fifteen years after the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention became binding under international law, anti-personnel mines continue to exact a terrible human toll. States gathered in Maputo, Mozambique next week must maintain and build the momentum towards eradicating these weapons and improve much-needed support to mine victims.

Starting on 23 June, States will meet at the convention's third review conference to look at the remaining challenges in achieving a mine-free world, a goal they first committed to at a similar meeting in Maputo in 1999. Mozambique itself, heavily contaminated at that time, has since been transformed through the clearance of almost all of its minefields.

Anti-personnel mines continue to exact a terrible human toll.

Addressing the week-long conference, Christine Beerli, vice-president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), will applaud the real progress made over last 15 years but will warn against complacency. "The use of anti-personnel mines is never acceptable. Every new mine victim is a forceful reminder of the urgency of mine clearance and of our collective duty to ensure that these weapons stop harming people."

The ICRC will impress upon States the importance of ensuring that mine victims – survivors, families and communities – receive the help they need. This includes medical care, physical rehabilitation services and psychological and other support to help social and economic reintegration. "Far too many victims cannot obtain the services they need," added Ms Beerli. "More must be done if we are to see measurable improvements, including through strengthening the wider public health-care system."

The Maputo conference comes just after floods in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina dislodged and shifted remaining landmines from the 1992-95 conflict beyond their markers, setting the demining process back significantly. "Nineteen years after the conflict ended, anti-personnel mines still pose a real threat to the population. This is another good example of why timely clearance is so critical," said Nicole Hogg, legal adviser in the ICRC's arms unit.

The ICRC conducts extensive activities to reduce the impact of anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war. These include advocacy and promoting respect for the law, preventive activities such as risk-awareness programmes, and surgical assistance. It also supports physical rehabilitation programmes producing and providing artificial limbs and orthotic devices in 27 countries, including Afghanistan, South Sudan and Iraq.

- 15 years on from mine ban: no time for complacency - TV news footage

For further information, please contact:
Tendayi Sengwe, ICRC Maputo, (+263) 772 24 09 60
Ewan Watson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 33 45 or +41 79 244 64 70, Twitter @EWatsonICRC