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Swiss make four-year commitment to demining

The government is to spend SFr16 million ($17.5 million) annually until 2015 in the fight against landmines, cluster bombs and other explosive remnants of war.

The announcement from the foreign ministry on the strategy for humanitarian demining comes on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

Meanwhile the Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross is calling for increased action to end the suffering caused by mines, cluster munitions and other explosives.

The ICRC director-general Yves Daccord expressed regret that mines and other explosive hazards were not only a legacy of wars long past but also pose a threat from recent conflicts.

In Libya, for example, explosive remnants of war are inhibiting the return of people to their homes, as well as slowing post-conflict reconstruction. Although the conflict lasted less than a year, the clearance of these weapons will go on for a long time to come, the ICRC said.

“The suffering caused by landmines and other unexploded munitions could be greatly reduced if all states joined and fully implemented the relevant international humanitarian law treaties, namely the Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Convention, the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War,” the ICRC added.

This year will mark the 15th anniversary of the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Convention. A total of 159 States are party to the convention, including at least 35 that still have mine clearance obligations.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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