Uganda

Uganda endeavors to reduce landmine risks

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KAMPALA, Mar 30, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Ugandan government Wednesday reaffirmed that it would work together with non-governmental organizations and community-based groups in reducing mine risks and rehabilitation of these disabled by landmines.

The remarks were made by Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Christine Aporu Amongin on the occasion of opening exchange visits between landmines survivor groups in the Great Lakes region.

She said that landmines impend the construction of conflicts affected societies, the return of refugees and internally displaced people into their communities.

"Scanty facts on landmines indicate that there are an estimated 60-85 million unexploded landmines in the ground in about 60 countries across the globe," the minister said, adding that "the Red Cross estimates that 500 people are either killed or wounded each week by landmines, majority of them are innocent civilians."

She said the Ugandan government has over the past decade been carrying out mine programs in the country.

According to her, Uganda signed the International Anti- personnel Mine Ban Convention on December 3, 1997 and ratified the Ottawa Treaty on the Convention on February 25, 1999.

"Consequently Uganda destroyed its stockpile of anti-personnel mines on July 9, 2003 in accordance with the convention. A total number of 6,383 pieces were destroyed," she added.