Humanitarian mine action – global engagement against mines and cluster munitions

Mine clearance on grassland in Takhar Province, Afghanistan

Mine clearance on grassland in Takhar Province, Afghanistan, © The HALO Trust

17.09.2019 - Article

From Afghanistan to Bosnia and Herzegovina – Germany is working around the world to address the threat posed by mines and IEDs. At a conference at the Federal Foreign Office today, participants will examine mine clearance in complex crisis contexts. 

Landmines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) still kill or maim thousands of people around the world each year. When the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa Treaty) entered into force 20 years ago, the number of victims initially declined. Today, the situation is different. Conflicts are increasingly being fought by non-state actors that use IEDs. In recent years, there has again been a sharp rise in the number of people killed or maimed by these weapons.

IEDs and mines target the civilian population in particular. They pose a threat to life and limb, prevent the safe return of internally displaced persons and refugees, prevent post-conflict reconstruction and impede humanitarian access and stabilisation measures.

Germany is one of the biggest donors

Mine clearance workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mine clearance workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina© Federal Foreign Office

Germany is engaged around the world when it comes to the prohibition of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions and supports the clearance of mines and munitions – from Afghanistan to Ukraine to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The German Government is one of the biggest international donors in this domain. In 2018, Germany helped fund projects in the spheres of mine and ordnance clearance, raising public awareness, as well as victim assistance and advocacy to the tune of 36 million euros in 12 countries and regions. Germany’s support also aims to enable the affected countries to meet their obligations under international law, specifically those under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa Treaty), the Convention on Cluster Munitions (Oslo Convention) and the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

The conference on Mine Clearance in Complex Crisis Contexts

How can we best take future action against mines and IEDs, especially in difficult crisis situations? The Federal Foreign Office and its most important partner organisations are examining this question in Berlin today, at the conference Mine Clearance in Complex Crisis Contexts. These partners include the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and numerous non-governmental organisations that have expertise in the sphere of munitions clearance. The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) are also participating in the conference.


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