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Slovenia Weekly

For a safe step


Contamination with landmines today threatens the lives of people in 64 countries around the world. After a relatively long period of decline in the number of victims of mines and other explosive remnants of war, the figure has sadly been rising again over the last five years. They have also claimed more lives. There are now genuinely fewer countries in the world that are at war, but the amount of weaponry in use is greater than it was a few years or even decades ago. New conflicts contaminate more and more areas.

Contamination with landmines is still a problem in the western Balkans. Slovenia resolved this problem shortly after independence. This was partly thanks to an internationally recognised non-profit organisation, which is one of the rare organisations, if not the only one, that Slovenia has succeeded in launching with global reach. Who knows how many more accidental victims of landmines there would have been worldwide had Slovenian diplomacy, spurred by the consequences of the war in the Balkans, not decided to establish the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance, known around the world today as the ITF.

The figures show that, despite all the protests, the awareness-raising among the public and the efforts of civil society, there have been more than 100,000 victims of landmines since 1999, when the ITF began keeping statistics. A false step can turn a life on its head. Without a worldwide ban on the use and production of landmines, to go with the awareness-raising, successful demining and other worthy work, safer steps simply cannot be taken. The target is for there to be no more mines by 2025. It will probably not be met, but perhaps we might be able to say that the problem no longer exists in our wider environs.

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