International Mine Action Day: Statement by Foreign Minister Westerwelle
Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement on 4 April to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action:
“There are still far too many people around the world who are at risk from mines and cluster munitions. We therefore remain fervently committed to reducing the risks posed by these treacherous weapons and protecting people better.
That is why we are pushing for more countries to join the international agreements against anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions. We will also be providing 20 million euros again this year to support humanitarian demining activities.”
Anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions remain an insidious danger to civilian populations even years after military conflicts end. Many of the victims they claim are children. The German Government has long been working to bring about a worldwide ban on these inhumane weapons.
As demonstrated by the conventions on anti-personnel mines (Ottawa Convention, 1997) and cluster munitions (Oslo Convention, 2008), results can be achieved at the international level. The German Government worked intensively to reach these milestones of international humanitarian law. In 1997 Germany fully destroyed its own stocks of anti-personnel mines. It unilaterally renounced the use of cluster munitions in 2008.
The German Government is one of the world’s leading donors to humanitarian mine action. Since 1992 it has provided over 220 million euros for such projects in 42 different countries. For 2013, 20 million euros in funding have been earmarked. Over the past decade the European Union has provided 1.5 billion euros for mine action.