Mine Action in the Midst of International Conflict - A Report on the Workshop Organised by Geneva Call and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines Non-State Actors Working Group

from Geneva Call
Published on 01 Nov 2005
Mine action is often seen as an exclusively post-conflict activity. While such a perspective is understandable, it is nevertheless a limited view. An end to fighting does offer the best conditions for clearing battlegrounds of landmines, or for raising awareness of the dangers that mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) present, but focusing on the peace ignores the hardship inflicted on civilians by landmines throughout the war. Indeed, the majority of conflicts today happen within the borders of States, pitting armed non-State actors (NSAs) against the forces of the government. The drawn-out nature of many of these confrontations, lasting months if not years and often involving extensive mine-laying, demands that we not wait until the guns are silent and that landmines become a "legacy" of war before doing something to relieve the threat to civilians.

Co-organised by Geneva Call and the Non-State Actors Working Group (NSAWG) of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the workshop on "Mine Action in the Midst of Internal Conflict" was held on Sunday 27 November 2006, the day before the opening of the Sixth Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Convention in Zagreb, Croatia

The aim of the workshop was to better understand mine action in the midst of internal conflict through an exchange of views and experiences between mine activists and government representatives, to examine questions faced by such operations, and to look for possible strategies for mine action during an armed conflict, as well as at the benefits of doing so. This report is a summary of the workshop, a compilation of the main presentations made in its course, and some final reflections on mine action in the midst of conflict.