News / Europe

Campaigners Call for End of Landmine Use

A mine field from the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina is seen near Stanley, Falkland Islands, June 10, 2012.A mine field from the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina is seen near Stanley, Falkland Islands, June 10, 2012.
x
A mine field from the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina is seen near Stanley, Falkland Islands, June 10, 2012.
A mine field from the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina is seen near Stanley, Falkland Islands, June 10, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
Campaigners for a mine-free world say they are closing in on their goal and are urging governments to commit to eradicating antipersonnel landmines in years, not decades.
 
At the opening of a week-long review of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, more than 100 governments are expected to review progress in halting production, destroying stockpiles and clearing mines after wars. 
 
Fifteen years after the Mine Ban Treaty was opened for signature in Ottawa in 1997, 160 countries — nearly 80 percent of the world's nations — have joined the treaty.
 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Peter Maurer says there is a need for renewed commitment by landmine states to extend the scope of the treaty and to implement its obligations through concrete action.
 
A recent report, the Landmine Monitor, finds the annual casualty rate from explosive remnants of war has decreased dramatically since the treaty came into force. But Maurer says the toll remains unacceptably high with 4,000 landmine victims last year.
 
“We are concerned as ICRC about the apparent lack of the urgency by a number of states to fulfill their clearance obligations today," he said. "Too many states, parties have fallen behind their clearance plans. Too many mine-affected communities continue to suffer from delays in mine clearance, which put their lives and limbs at risk and impede access to agricultural land.”
 
Campaigners note 19 states have declared their territories mine-free and four other countries — the Republic of Congo, Denmark, Jordan and Uganda — are expected to announce completion of mine clearance during this week’s assembly. They also say more than 46 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed under the treaty.
 
Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams, who was a founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in 1992, echoed concerns of numerous campaigners who cite a decrease in financial support for victim assistance programs.
 
This year’s Landmine Monitor notes a 30-percent drop in money to aid landmine survivors, as, Williams said, most money goes toward mine clearance.
 
“I think it is because once you get the mine out of the ground and it is gone, the issue [perceived to be] completed," she said. "But a landmine survivor, his or her family, the communities living with the aftermath of landmine accidents, need help for decades to come.
 
"We would make the strong call for states to not reduce the amount of money to landmine survivors, but increase it, actually," she said.
 
Campaigners say serious concerns to be raised during the meeting include use of anti-personnel landmines by Syria in 2012. The Landmine Monitor finds Syria is currently the only government in the world to use landmines, down from four governments in 2011 — Israel, Libya, Burma and Syria.
 
The conference also will deal with concerns regarding the use of landmines by non-state armed groups in six countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, Burma, Pakistan, Thailand and Yemen.
 
They say it is time to finish the job to ensure landmines do not claim any more limbs and lives.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid