Top UN officials spotlight progress on anniversary of antilandmine treaty

“Much has been achieved since the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention entered into force 10 years ago,” the Team said in a statement marking the anniversary of the signing of the watershed treaty (1 March).The Team, comprised of 14 different UN entities, said it was “greatly impressed and heartened by the steady decline in casualty rates, the return of formerly mined areas to productive civilian use and the destruction of tens of millions of these deadly weapons.”It estimated that 190,000 anti-personnel and 10,000 anti-vehicle mines were destroyed in 2008, and an increased number of countries have declared completion of their mine clearance operations, including most recently France, Malawi and Swaziland.“We applaud the progress made in the struggle against the scourge of landmines,” the statement read, reaffirming the Team’s commitment to assist mine-affected countries “in meeting their obligations to clear mined areas, assist victims, destroy stockpiled landmines and educate women, men, girls, and boys about the dangers of landmines and explosive remnants of war.”The statement also urged Member States to fully support three pacts signed in recent years aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating the humanitarian suffering and negative development impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war.It underscored that the Mine-Ban Convention “is an excellent example of effective collective efforts by States, the United Nations, regional organizations, NGOs and the International Committee of the Red Cross aimed at ridding the world of indiscriminate weapons.” 27 February 2009Last year bomb disposal experts cleared over 200,000 landmines around the world, contributing to the progress made in ridding the anti-personnel and anti-vehicle explosives from the planet over the past decade, the United Nations Mine Action Team said today.

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