9 - United Nations International Meeting on Mine Clearance, Geneva, Switzerland, 6 July 1995  pp. 349-351

United Nations International Meeting on Mine Clearance, Geneva, Switzerland, 6 July 1995

By Louis Maresca and Stuart Maslen

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Seeking to raise additional funds for badly needed mine clearance operations, the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs convened a meeting of some 100 States to stimulate both funding and an international exchange of technical expertise. In his statement to the meeting, ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga told assembled delegates that during 1992 a quarter of those treated by the ICRC had been mine casualties, most of them non-combatants. He termed the ‘mindless carnage’ that mines had wrought on populations around the world an ‘affront to humanitarian values’ and he reiterated his call for a total ban on these weapon.

Statement of Mr. Cornelio Sommaruga

President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Geneva 6 July 1995

Over the past ten years medical teams of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have treated more than 140 thousand war-wounded. One in five was a mine victim. Each and every year more than twenty thousand men, women and children are injured or killed by anti-personnel mines.

The use of these pernicious weapons has resulted in an acute human tragedy. Apart from the appalling number of casualties they cause, anti-personnel mines inflict the most horrific wounds regularly treated by war surgeons, strike blindly at all human beings alike and continue to spread terror for decades after hostilities have ended.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been charged by the international community with providing protection and assistance to the victims of armed conflict. Not only have landmines created victims on a massive scale but these weapons have also hindered the ICRC and other humanitarian agencies in providing vital aid to victims or even locked such efforts entirely.