MONTREAL, April 4, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - To mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, Handicap International is issuing a reminder of how much needs to be done before we achieve a world without mines.
An estimated one person is killed or injured by a mine or explosive remnant every two hours around the world, while 75% of recorded victims are civilians and one third are children. Over 500,000 survivors of accidents involving mines or explosive remnants of war need assistance for life.
Over 80 countries and territories, most of them the world's poorest, are still contaminated with these weapons. In addition to the terrible suffering they inflict on their victims, anti-personnel mines place a major block on the social and economic development of these countries, preventing the cultivation of land and limiting the movement of people and goods long after conflicts have ended.
"The rapid and systematic elimination of all minefields requires greater, more determined mobilization by all State Parties," explains Marc Drolet, Executive Director of Handicap International Canada. "In particular, we call upon Canada, who played such a key role in the creation of the Ottawa Treaty, to take all possible steps to prevent countries from resorting to these weapons, while ensuring that victims throughout the world benefit from proper assistance."
In 2011, for the first time in seven years, the number of countries using mines has increased to a worrying extent. Four countries used these weapons, compared with one in 2010: Libya, Israel, Myanmar and Syria.
Handicap International urges Canada to re-establish its leadership in the fight against landmines and to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions, imposing a total domestic ban on this weapon. "Cluster munitions are as horrific a weapon as mines - an estimated 98% of the victims are civilians," adds Marc Drolet. "It is both necessary and urgent that Canada passes legislation that will reflect the Convention's high humanitarian standards."
About Handicap International
Handicap International is an aid organization working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. Handicap International is a co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munition Coalition, and is a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. To help civilians return to their normal lives, the organization has been operating in the field every day for nearly thirty years through demining, risk education and victim assistance.
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