Goto main content

Handicap International goes to war on mines and explosive remnants of war

Handicap International has started up mine clearance operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Starting in this month of June, the organisation and its local partner AFRILAM (Afrique pour la lutte antimines) will clear a 50,000 metre squared plot of land, the equivalent of eight football pitches, located around 15 kilometres from Kinsagani, the main city in the province of Tshopo, in the north-east of the country.
 

Twenty-nine people, including 14 deminers split into three teams, have been working as of mid-June on hard-going terrain in a dense and humid forest, near to the villages of Bangboka and Batiabombe. The mine clearance operation using metal detectors and probes is set to last until next autumn. It will make it possible to return agricultural land to 3,500 villagers who will then be able to resume their arable and livestock farming.

This intervention follows on from the surveys amongst the local inhabitants and authorities, conducted by Handicap International and AFRILAM over a period several weeks in order to locate the areas at risk of contamination from antipersonnel landmines and explosive remnants of war.

Mines and explosive remnants of war pose a constant threat to the local population who can fall victim to these weapons many years after a conflict has ended. They can hamper a country's economic development as their presence means there are entire swathes of land where it is impossible to build roads or houses or to farm etc.

Antipersonnel landmines were first used in DRC in 1960 after it achieved its independence. Since 1996, there has been widespread use of mines by the various armed groups fighting in the north and east of the country in a succession of conflicts. They still today pose a constant threat to the local population.

Handicap International has been working in Democratic Republic of Congo for the last 20 years. Having been heavily involved in demining operations, its last projects in this area date back to 2014. The organisation has start up new operations set to last until December 2017, with AFRILAM which has been its partner since 2008.

A State Party to the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, the Democratic Republic of Congo has set itself the goal of becoming mine free by 2021.

Where your
support
helps

PRESS CONTACT

CANADA

Fatou Thiam

USA

Mica BEVINGTON

 

Help them
concretely

To go further

 Increase of use of landmines driven by Russia, Myanmar and non-state armed groups Explosive weapons

Increase of use of landmines driven by Russia, Myanmar and non-state armed groups

The Landmine Monitor 2022 reports a high number of casualties caused by landmines - including improvised mines and explosive remnants of war - for the seventh year in a row. The Monitor recorded 5,544 casualties in 2021. 75% of them were civilians. This high figure is mainly the result of increased armed conflicts and contamination with improvised mines since 2015. The use of landmines by the Russian and Myanmar armies, as well as by non-state armed groups in five countries, are the main factors of a sharp global increase of the use of these weapons in 2022.

States will gather in Geneva from November 21th to 25th for the 20th annual Mine Ban Treaty conference. As we celebrate the 25 years of the Ottawa Treaty, HI urges States to pressure parties to conflict to end the use of these barbaric weapons and to support the funding of victims assistance that is shrinking despite growing needs and high casualty rates in recent years.

Read the full report.

80 States have made history by endorsing the international agreement against bombing on towns and cities
© G. Lordet / HI
Explosive weapons

80 States have made history by endorsing the international agreement against bombing on towns and cities

Acknowledging the devastating humanitarian consequences of bombing and shelling of towns and cities, 80 States adopted an international agreement to better protect civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, at the Dublin Conference on November 18, 2022.

The day I stepped on a mine, my fate was sealed
© J. M. Vargas / HI
Explosive weapons

The day I stepped on a mine, my fate was sealed

Marta Quintero has been part of HI’s demining operations in Colombia for seven years. She is working for the future of her country with an unerring determination born out of personal experience.