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Statement by the Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner, Luise Amtsberg, to mark International Mine Awareness Day

04.04.2022 - Press release

Death, mutilation and injury, as well as the fear of landmines, improvised explosive devices and other explosive remnants of war, continue to pose a terrible threat to millions of people even when wars and conflicts have long since become a thing of the past. The number of recorded deaths and injuries caused by mines and explosive remnants of war worldwide more than doubled between 2013 and 2020, totalling 7073. Every third mine victim is a child. It is children whom we must protect most of all, but who are particularly at risk. Victims often suffer for the rest of their lives.

Civilian infrastructure is damaged and sometimes entirely destroyed, fields cannot be used, and security risks often make it impossible to provide sufficient humanitarian assistance. Mines and other explosive remnants of war, not least improvised explosive devices, prevent reconstruction and the return of displaced residents. I am deeply concerned by the current war in Ukraine and the situation in other countries where improvised mines and explosive devices are regularly used.

Germany has been an active party to and supporter of the Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction (Ottawa Convention) for 25 years. Germany has also been a member of the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions since 2008. The German Government funds humanitarian mine and ordnance clearance in many countries around the world. This is not only a humanitarian measure but also paves the way for economic development, social cohesion and, in many cases, reconciliation.

Germany will continue to advocate the global prohibition of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions and to support other countries in clearing mines and remnants of war. However, the responsibility to rid the world of mines is one that we all share. I therefore call on all those who have not already done so to join the Ottawa Convention and to prohibit and clear mines. Our common goal is to alleviate suffering and enable people to live safe, self-determined lives.

Background information

In 2021, the Federal Foreign Office provided a total of around 44 million euro for mine and ordnance clearance projects, making it one of the leading donors in this field. Project funding is allocated based on the humanitarian mine action strategy, which is part of the humanitarian assistance portfolio and was updated in March 2022. We are currently supporting ten priority countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Colombia, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Syria and Ukraine.

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