Syria sole country to employ deadly mines in 2012; US among few countries still maintaining right to produce them
Only a single government—Syria’s—continued to actively deploy new landmines in 2012 while the number of countries rejecting use of of the deadly weapons increased worldwide, according to the latest annual report released Thursday by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).
"This represents a milestone for us: having only one country using antipersonnel mines," Mark Hiznay, editor of the report for the ICBL, told reporters in Geneva at the unveiling of the 2012 Landmine Monitor Report. Calling the development "good news," Hiznay said progress being made on the issue was "a testament to the achievements of the Mine Ban Treaty over the past 15 years."
Clearance operations next to a school in the Democratic Republic of Congo in May 2011.
Despite what campaigners called positive improvements by world governments, the ICBL report notes that the US continues to be the most powerful outlier among a handful of nations that continue to defend their right to produce such weapons.
And cautioning against undue celebration, Hizney said that despite the "great gains" made towards achieving a mine-free world, "eliminating the daily impact landmines have on countless communities will require a sustained international effort for years to come.”
The last time only one country was determined to have employed landmines was in 1997, the year the international Mine Ban Treaty originated. Hiznay said the finding is a significant change from last year, when four governments (Israel, Libya, Myanmar and Syria) were found to have laid mines.
With Finland, South Sudan and Somalia signing onto the treaty this year, the list of countries rejecting landmines continues to grow, showing both the success of the ICBL’s global campaign and the treaty itself. Currently, all sub-Saharan African countries have joined the Mine Ban Treaty, according to the report, with 160 countries around the world party to the treaty.
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