Algeria has completed demining operations in fulfilment of its obligations under the Ottawa Convention, clearing 93 mined or suspected mined areas, including 78 former mine barrages, and destroying more than one million antipersonnel mines, local media said.
“Thanks to decades of sustained efforts, strong national demining capacities and engagement by authorities at the highest level of government, Algeria can proudly announce that it has fulfilled its landmine clearance obligation, contributing to the Convention’s humanitarian aim to end the suffering and loss of human lives caused by antipersonnel mines. As a result of our efforts, there are now 1,035,729 less mines in the world”, said Colonel Ahcène Gherabi, Director of Algeria’s National Demining Program, during a mine action meeting at the United Nations in Geneva.
Demining in Algeria started right after independence. The first phase (1963-1988) began before Algeria joined the Convention, added Gherabi.
After decades of work, 120 million square meters of land were cleared and released for normal use, noted Gherabi. “Thanks to humanitarian demining activities carried out entirely with Algeria’s own resources, Algerians can once again feel safe when moving in such areas and using their land”, he added.
The Ottawa Convention, or Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, is the prime humanitarian and disarmament treaty aimed at ending the suffering caused by landmines by prohibiting their use, stockpiling, production and transfer, ensuring their destruction and assisting the victims of these weapons.
The Convention was adopted on 18 September 1997 and entered into force on 1 March 1999. Together, the 162 States Parties have destroyed almost 49 million landmines. Since 2016, 158 States Parties no longer have anti-personnel mine stockpiles.