BERN, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland spent CHF17.3 million in 2012 to rid the world of anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war, the government said Friday 5 April, to mark International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
The country is one of the 10 largest financial contributors in the world and it works closely with a number of organizations involved in landmine clearance efforts, several of them based in Geneva. The Ottawa Convention has been in force since 1997, a commitment to a worldwide ban on anti-personnel mines, and, since 2010, a cluster munitions treaty has been in effect (in Switzerland since 2013).
Switzerland is active on the political front, but it also works closely with a dozen countries’ anti-personnel mine projects. “In 2012, the Swiss Armed Forces seconded within the framework of military peace promotion an average of 12 of its members to the UN mine-clearing programmes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Laos, Somalia/Somaliland, South Sudan, and Western Sahara,” Bern notes in a press release Friday, “as well as to the UN headquarters in New York. Their main tasks were to build up local capacities, management and leadership structures and to train personnel for mine-clearing work.”