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Mine Awareness Swiss concern over increase in landmine victims

A picture of a landmine clearing site

in a reversal of a trend over the past few year landmines and cluster bombs caused more casualties in 2017 

(Keystone)

The Swiss government has expressed alarm over a growing number of casualties worldwide from such weapons last year.

The official statement published on Tuesday coincides with the International Day for Mine awareness and Assistance in Mine Actionexternal link on April 4 to draw attention to the threat posed by landmines.

Switzerland has been advocating for a global ban of landmines and cluster munitions for years, and pursues and ongoing mine action strategyexternal link.

In the annual report, the Federal Council said the increasing number of casualties came after several years of progress and were the result of anti-personnel mines being used for the first time in countries such as Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iraq and Myanmar.

Another area of particular concern were so-called cluster munitions as well as the increased use of improvised explosive devices by armed paramilitary forces.

Continued efforts

These developments affecting war-torn countries serve to “highlight the relevance of Switzerland’s sustained engagement in this area” according to the report.

The government pledged to continue its advocacy for a global ban of landmine weapons. “Switzerland’s vision is a world with no new casualties [from such weapons] – a world where continuous strides are made towards sustainable development and where the needs of affected communities are met,” the report says.

Switzerland invested CHF22.3 million ($23.3 million) in mine action activities last year. The money was used to help clear affected areas, raising awareness of mine risk as well as monitoring the implementation of international law.

Eradicating mines ‘It’ll take ages for Bosnia to be mine free’

More than 20 years have passed since the end of the war in Bosnia, but the country is still contaminated with landmines and cluster bombs.


swissinfo.ch/ln

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