Human Rights Commissioner calls for solidarity with victims of mines and ordnance

04.04.2012 - Press release

Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, will today take part in the 4 April LEND YOUR LEG event for the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

Mr Löning issued the following statement on the subject in Berlin today (4 April):

“Around the world, more than 500,000 people are living with severe injuries caused by landmines and cluster munitions. Scarred for life, they have been rendered forever dependent on other people’s help.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance are inhuman and despicable. For many countries, they represent a huge obstacle in the way of development.
The German Government is therefore providing assistance for mine and ordnance clearance in such countries as Libya. Germany is one of the world’s top financial donors. This year, we are making 18 million euros available for clearance activities.
Notwithstanding the clear progress that Germany’s commitment has helped achieve in recent years, further efforts in the field of humanitarian mine and ordnance clearance are urgently required.
I urge all states to prohibit the production and spread of cluster munitions and landmines. I call on all people to show solidarity with the victims.”

Background information:
The event taking place in Berlin’s Pariser Platz at 12 noon is being run by Handicap International and Solidarity Service International, the Germany NGOs taking part in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Mr Löning will be there to express his solidarity with the victims of landmines, cluster munitions and unexploded ordnance.

Germany is among the world’s most generous and consistent countries in promoting humanitarian mine and ordnance clearance. Approximately 217 million euros from the Federal Foreign Office budget have been made available for mine action projects in 42 countries around the world since 1992. The 18.1 million euros earmarked for 2012 will be used to clear not only landmines but also cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnance left over from various wars and conflicts, as well as to promote projects aiming to assist victims.

Germany is a Party to the Ottawa Convention and campaigns for it to be consistently implemented and made to apply worldwide. The Convention prohibits the use, production and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines as well as trade in such items.

Germany has additionally contributed over 300 million euros to the 1.5 billion euros provided by the European Commission for mine action programmes over the past decade.

Unexploded cluster munitions are another dangerous remnant of war. The German Government unilaterally renounced the use of cluster munitions in 2008 and ratified the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions in the following year. There is a ban on developing, producing and trading in cluster munitions. Exporting them is also explicitly forbidden.

Germany began destroying its own stockpile of cluster munitions back in 2001. Around 352,000 pieces of cluster munitions and more than 34 million explosive sub munitions have now been destroyed, amounting to approximately two thirds (65 percent) of the original stockpiles. Plans foresee the destruction of the entire stockpile to be completed by the end of 2015.

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