As the Third Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty just ended in Maputo, the UK Government has reiterated its interest to continue supporting Mozambique to overcome the challenge of being mine-free. UK contribution has been greatly through the UK Department for International Development funding, since the 1990s, to HALO, a British Charity and the World’s largest demining organization.
As the Deputy British High Commissioner to Mozambique, Farida Shaikh, said during an exposition promoted by HALO, “the UK government has contributed over £3 million for mine clearance and mine risk education in Mozambique since 2010.”
This funding made it possible the complete clearance of Mozambique’s Northern provinces, the Maputo Power lines as well as the Cahora Basa Dam minefields.
“The HALO Trusts’ mine clearance has saved lives, and contributed significantly to peace and stability. And it has also been crucial for poverty reduction, and promoting Mozambique’s economic development, including by enabling foreign investment”, she added.
And this year, the British Government will contribute a further £1 million to the cause and help make Mozambique free of mines by the end of 2014.
Mrs Shaikh concluded her speech expressing her hope that with all the work that has been done over the past 21 years and the continued raising of awareness, more positive change can be achieved “in pursuit of our common humanity.”
It’s has been fifteen years after the treaty banning antipersonnel mines entered into force, nearly all landmine use and production has ceased, new casualties have dropped dramatically, and numerous countries have removed all mines from their land.
In many parts of the world, meeting the needs of landmine victims has progressed but more efforts, resources, and measures are needed in order to help the more than three dozen states succeed in clearing remaining mined territory by the end of 2019. That was the aim of the Maputo Conference.