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Cartagena Summit: renewed commitment to end suffering caused by mines

04-12-2009 News Release 09/244

Cartagena/Geneva (ICRC) – At the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World, the States party to the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-personnel Mines (Mine Ban Convention) have renewed their commitment to end the suffering caused by these weapons by adopting a five-year action plan to clear mined areas, assist mine victims and destroy all remaining stockpiles.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has hailed the plan as an important step forward, but emphasized that much difficult work lies ahead.

Addressing the Summit, ICRC Vice-President Christine Beerli said that " despite 10 years of implementation the hopes that most landmine survivors had for the Convention have still not been fulfilled. " Ms Beerli welcomed the strong commitments made to victims in the Cartagena Action Plan but cautioned that " the more difficult task of turning words into tangible benefits for victims remains. " The Plan commits States to expand health and social services for victims, and to promote respect for their rights and dignity, with the aim of ensuring their full participation in society.

The Plan calls on States Parties that have not yet destroyed their stockpiles of anti-personnel mines to do so without further delay. It also calls on those that still need to clear mined land to accelerate the return of safe land to affected communities. Four States – Albania, Greece, Rwanda and Zambia – announced that they had fulfilled their obligation to clear all mined areas.

The ICRC said the persistence of States in pursuing complete implementation of and universal adherence to the Mine Ban Convention has made a world free of anti-personnel mines an achievable goal.

The ICRC has been helping thousands of mine victims by producing and providing prostheses and orthoses and by supporting physical rehabilitation facilities in some 25 countries. An ICRC-commissioned opinion poll carried out in eight war-affected countries earlier this year shows 93% of respondents rejecting the practic e of planting landmines where civilians may step on them.

For further information, please contact:
  Simon Schorno, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 251 9302
  Camilla Waszink, ICRC delegation to the Cartagena Summit, tel: +57 320 85 97 521
  Details of the ICRC-commissioned opinion survey