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Global Anti-Landmine Campaign Launched

Firoz Ali Alizada (L), a landmine victim and campaign manager for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger speak to the press, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland,

Landmine survivors worldwide on Thursday launched an international campaign aimed at eradicating these weapons. The start of the "Lend your leg for a mine-free world" campaign marks the entry into force 13 years ago of what is commonly known as the Mine Ban Treaty.

Much progress has been made in ridding the world of landmines and reducing casualties from these weapons since the Mine Ban Treaty began. Eighty percent of countries have banned landmines. Most no longer produce them, and millions of mines have been removed.

But landmines continue to kill, maim and threaten people. That is why the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the United Nations, and other partners, celebrities and survivors are launching the “Lend your leg for a mine-free world” campaign.

This video shows personalities, including the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Israeli film-maker Oren Moverman, Somalia survivor Muhudin nur Hassan and others rolling up their pant legs in a show of solidarity with landmine survivors.

Campaigners are asking people around the world to join them by rolling up their pant legs on April 4 - U.N. Day for Mine Action and Mine Awareness.

Until then, campaigners will be organizing concerts, sporting and other events to urge people to participate in the cause.

Firoz Alizada is Campaign Manager for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. An Afghan landmine survivor, Alizada lost a leg in a mine explosion when he was 14-years-old. He said landmines and similar devices wreak havoc on peoples’ lives and livelihoods.

“There is still an average of 12 people who are maimed or killed by mines or explosive remnants of war per day or 4,000 per year, which is a lot - some of whom die on the spot, some of whom die in the hospital and cannot make it. Mines are present and still affect peoples lives in more than 60 countries,” said Alizada.

During the past two years, the International Campaign says several governments - Burma, Israel, Libya and probably Syria - have used landmines. In addition, non-state groups in Afghanistan, Colombia, Burma and Pakistan have used them.

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