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To Walk the Earth in Safety - Eliminating Landmines


An Afghan soldier uses a mine detector during a demining drill at Camp Shaheen, a training facility for the Afghan National Army (ANA), located west of Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/John MacDougall, Pool)

So far, we have invested $2.5 billion into this drive. In addition, every year, the United States Department of State releases To ‘Walk the Earth in Safety’, a report which details the previous year’s efforts to reduce the harmful effects of these remnants of war.

Once the fighting ends, peace treaties are signed and armies disbanded, too often the world assumes that life in former conflict areas will soon return to normal. But in many countries, landmines and unexploded munitions kill and maim their victims decades after the original conflict is little more than an ugly memory.

Left-over landmines and unexploded munitions stand in the way of post-conflict stabilization and inhibit long-term development. They render thousands of acres of land unusable and destabilize communities. Clearly, people can only realize the benefits of a return to peace once these deadly hazards are removed.

Since 1993, the United States has been part of a concentrated effort to clear and destroy poorly secured, unstable, or illegally traded conventional weapons of war. So far, we have invested $2.5 billion into this drive. In addition, every year, the United States Department of State releases To ‘Walk the Earth in Safety’, a report which details the previous year’s efforts to reduce the harmful effects of these remnants of war.

This year’s report notes that in 2014, four projects in particular stood out. First, we launched a five-year initiative to completely demine Vietnam’s Quang Tri province, and increased our funding for the clearance project ten-fold.

In the Middle East, we helped fund the HALO Trust’s work in the West Bank, a first-of-its-kind effort to clear the mines there.

In Tajikistan, we funded the first and only all-female demining team in Central Asia.

And finally, we worked to help destroy illicit and at-risk weapons and munitions stockpiles in Chad, Niger, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“‘To Walk the Earth’ in Safety not only provides detailed information of our programs in these countries, it makes clear the real difference these programs make in the lives of countless people,” said Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security:

“With the help of our NGO partners, . . . we have turned one-time battlegrounds into land for vital infrastructure. We have cleared minefields so that farmers can get back to their fields and children can walk to school safely in Angola and other countries. These inspirational programs touch thousands of lives all over the world, from children in Sri Lanka who can now safely walk to school to farmers in Vietnam who can now tend to their crops without fear.”

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