ICRC welcomes Uzbek government decision on land mines
The International Committee of the Red Cross welcomes the Uzbek government's decision to start the process of removing landmines from its borders with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
While this process takes place, the ICRC is ready to start field activities to raise the awareness of the population on the danger of land mines. The ICRC has also offered to the authorities legal support to work on the ratification of the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction by the Republic of Uzbekistan
In 1994, the ICRC called for a total ban on anti-personnel mines. This call was based on the experience of the ICRC medical staff around the world who had witnessed a profound medical, human and social crisis in nearly all the situations where these weapons had been used. Growing public abhorrence with the devastating effects of anti-personnel mines on civilians led governments to adopt, in 1997, the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-personnel Mines.
The ICRC has been working on mine awareness programs in Central Asia for several years. In Tajikistan, the organization evaluated the situation in areas affected by land mines and in 2002 started a joint mine awareness proprogram with Tajik Red Crescent Society. With the support of Tajik Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and the Red Crescent Society, the ICRC helped to open Dushanbe Orthopedic Center in 1998. The Center produces lower limb prosthesis and orthoses for victims of land mines. A joint mine awareness program with Kyrgyz National Society is also on the way in Kyrgyz Republic since 2003.
One hundred forty two governments in the world already banned anti-personnel mines. However, there are some States that still remain outside of the Convention. The ICRC remains firmly committed to achieving the Convention's humanitarian objectives and bringing about a mine free world.
An anti-personnel mine is an explosive device designed to maim or kill the person who triggers it. Mines are indiscriminate in terms of target and time. They go on killing and maiming-soldiers and civilians, men and women, adults and children alike-decades after the fighting has ended.
For further information, please contact:
Rolin Wavre, Head of the Regional Delegation
Vadim Isakov, Press Officer
ICRC Tashkent, tel.: (998 71) 120 5290, 120 5291, 120 5292.