Land mine death toll falls to new 12-year low
Published Date: 25 November 2010. By JOHN HEILPRIN At LEAST 3,956 people died last year because they stepped on a land mine or other unexploded devices left behind from war, the lowest number since counting began nearly 12 years ago.
A new report, issued at the United Nations by Mines Action Canada, Human Rights Watch and other groups, cited the casualty rate and the record amount of contaminated land cleared of mines as major progress toward a land mine-free world.
It said an area of about 76 square miles was cleared of land mines in 2009 in a nearly $500 million (£320m) effort, and 138 square miles of former war zones were cleared of other unexploded devices.
Eighty per cent of areas cleared were in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq and Sri Lanka.
India, Burma and Pakistan are believed to be the only three nations still making anti-personnel mines, and Burma is the only government confirmed as using them, the report said. But "non-state armed groups" in six nations - Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Burma, Pakistan and Yemen - also use land mines.
This was the first time that Russia was not listed as a land-mine user since the groups' Landmine Monitor was created in June 1998 by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
The report was issued in advance of a meeting next week to discuss the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.
"The record progress made in the past year toward eliminating anti-personnel mines shows that the Mine Ban Treaty is working," said Mark Hiznay of Human Rights Watch.
The treaty has been signed by 80 per cent of nations. China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the US are among 39 that have not yet joined it.
The report said 86 nations had finished destroying stockpiles of anti-personnel mines, but several, including Belarus, Greece, Turkey and Ukraine, failed to meet their treaty deadlines for this.
Von: Quelle: http://news.scotsman.com/world/Land-mine-death-toll-falls.6638709.jp