Their job is life-threatening: together with their sniffer dogs the colleagues of the Afghan NGO “Mine Detection and Dog Center” (MDC) are working to create a mine-free Afghanistan. It is one of the world’s most heavily affected countries in terms of landmines and unexploded munitions. Thanks to the work of the MDC and other mine clearance organizations, the number of landmine victims in Afghanistan has fallen by 60 per cent since 2002. Germany is supporting the project in which the MDC is working together with the German NGO “medico international”.
Germany is also strongly involved in the efforts to clear away landmines and unexploded munitions in Lebanon, the Balkans, Cambodia and Vietnam. Since 1992 the Federal Government has made available some 217 million euros to projects dedicated to humanitarian landmine and munitions clearance in 42 states around the globe. For the year 2012 the funding for humanitarian landmine clearance and victims’ assistance was increased to 18 million euros. During and after armed conflicts, especially the vulnerable civilian population remains threatened by antipersonnel mines, cluster munitions and the explosive remnants of war. More than 4,000 people die each year as a result of these weapons.
In addition to promoting projects, Germany is pushing hard at the political level to initiate a ban on antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions. Germany has actively worked for the achievement and the implementation of international agreements on humanitarian arms control. This includes the Ottawa Treaty banning antipersonnel mines, the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions and the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons – three international agreements which Germany supports together with their universal implementation. Noticeable progress has been made especially with the Ottawa Treaty, which has meanwhile been ratified by 160 states. The treaty’s comprehensive bans and binding regulations on the production, use, stockpiling, transfer and the destruction of antipersonnel mines, as well as on victims’ assistance, set new standards in international humanitarian law and disarmament policy.
United Nations Disarmament Week from 24 to 30 October 2012