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Last Updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Asia pressed on landmine ban
Heavily-mined countries in Asia will be the focus of a major landmine conference in Thailand.

Delegates from 148 countries signed up to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty have descended on the Thai capital Bangkok for the week-long meeting.

Nearly half of the 46 nations yet to sign the treaty are in Asia and include some of the world's biggest landmine producers and stockpilers, as well as the most heavily mined countries.

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"We've made headway in other parts of the world, but Asia is lagging behind in tackling the landmine problem," said Jody Williams of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).

At least 3,000 casualties of mines in Asia were recorded from May 2002, although analysts believe the actual number is likely to be at least double.

Afghanistan and Cambodia - two of the world's most heavily-mined countries, and both signed up to the treaty - suffered 1,200 and 834 casualties respectively.

Pressure

Landmines are being used by both sides in the conflicts in Nepal and Burma, and by India and Pakistan, says the ICBL.

Non-treaty Asian countries
Working a field next to a landmine warning sign on the Thai-Cambodia border
Bhutan, Burma, China, India, North and South Korea, Laos, Micronesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vietnam
"Last year, India and Pakistan have done some of the heaviest mine laying in recent years," said ICBL official Susan Walker.

South Korea, China and Singapore are among those singled out as major mine producers and stockpilers.

China has the world's largest stockpile of landmines, 110 million, according to the recently-published Landmine Monitor Report 2003.

Delegates will be called upon to put pressure on those Asian countries yet to sign up to the treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention.

Tun Channareth, Cambodian landmine survivor and ICBL ambassador, urged the treaty's supporters to press the case to non-signatories.

"More can, and should, be done," he added.




SEE ALSO:
Hopes rise in war on landmines
14 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Afghan landmine blast kills two
30 Apr 03  |  South Asia
Landmine blast in Pakistan
02 Apr 03  |  South Asia
Sri Lanka mines take toll
24 Feb 03  |  South Asia


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