MONTREAL, Dec. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - On the eve of the 13th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Ottawa Treaty to ban landmines, Handicap International, co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, applauds the record-breaking progress made in 2009 in the reduction of the use and of the production of landmines, and the decrease of casualty rates.
Indeed, the Landmines Monitor 2010, released on November 24th, at the United Nations in Geneva, identifies 12 producers of antipersonnel mines, of which as few as three are believed to continue to actively manufacture antipersonnel mines (India, Myanmar and Pakistan) and only Myanmar and non-state armed groups in six countries (Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Yemen) continued to use these weapons. In addition, 3,956 new landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties were recorded, the lowest number for any year since the entry into force of the Treaty.
However, 66 States are still confirmed or suspected to be mine-affected and 500 000 victims will continue to need a life-long assistance. The mobilization of the international community in implementing the 1997 Ottawa Convention banning landmines is still a priority.
In this respect, Handicap International regrets the drastic decrease (57%) in Canadian funding for the fight against landmines, in sharp contrast to the previous year; this was the largest funding decrease recorded for any donor country by far in 2009. « This is extremely disheartening coming from Canada, which has been a global leader in helping to draft and implement this treaty. », says Claire Fehrenbach, director of Handicap International Canada; she also adds «Canada, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in particular, seems to be gradually removing from their agenda the fight against landmines. We are deeply concerned by this given the ongoing needs of victims and the disastrous effects of landmines, not only on the future victims, but also as an obstacle to the development of the affected countries.»
In addition to the overall drop, Canada's funding has been directed to a handful of recipient countries, notably Afghanistan, and mainly through the United Nations and other multilateral institutions. « This support may be important, but the Canadian organizations in the field, in particular the NGOs conducting mine clearance or victims assistance programs in the affected countries, now receive less and less support from Canada », notes Christian Champigny, Programs Officer at Handicap International Canada. « We are calling the Canadian Government to build upon its past leadership in the fight against landmines and to recommit to allocating funds in support of the affected populations ».
Source : Landmine Monitor 2010
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