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Reference : V-F-CR-F-02087-N
Date : 29/11/2017
Title : 20 years after Ottawa : landmines still destroy lives
Duration : 00:04:51
Person appearing :
TOLLEFSEN, Erik (head of Unit, ICRC)
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Production company : ICRC
ICRC producer :
FOULKES, Imogen; BATOEVA, Ayuna
Cameraman : various
Editor : FOULKES, Imogen; AUDEOUD, Tristan
Production reference : AV739N
Description : It is 20 years since the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel landmines was adopted, but the legacy of these devastating weapons lives on. Landmines need just an instant to create a catastrophic injury that lasts a lifetime. And for decades, landmines were used in huge numbers, all over the world. In the years before the Convention, Erik Tollefsen, the ICRC’s head of Weapons Contamination, remembers mine clearance as an almost hopeless task.
162 states have ratified the convention, and nearly all countries have stopped using landmines, but there are millions of mines, deployed decades ago, still in the ground. In Zimbabwe, ICRC supported teams are clearing mines laid in the early 1970’s. Their presence, says Erik Tollefsen, threatens entire communities, not just with terrible injury, but with poverty: vast areas of farm land cannot be used.
Landmines cause profound injuries: losing a limb can mean a child can no longer get to school, can no longer play. For adults, the opportunity to work and earn a living can be wiped out.
In 1997, an estimated 20,000 people, the majority of them civilians, were killed or maimed by landmines every year. After the Ottawa Convention, the numbers gradually decreased, down to around 6500 a year. But that is still 6500 too many, and in recent years there has even been a worrying increase. The reason, says Erik Tollefsen, is the changing nature of conflict. The big problem today is non state actors, Erik explains.
In Afghanistan, the ICRC has been running a physical rehabilitation centre since 1988. Patients, many of them landmine victims, are fitted with prosthetic limbs, and then supported to learn to use them, and regain their mobility.
It is a huge achievement, but to really fulfill the goals of the Ottawa Convention, more is needed, and Erik Tollefsen worries that countries may have become complacent.
It is a fantastic moment when landmine victims can get on their feet again. But the path to that moment is long, painful, often frightening, and costly to individuals, families, and entire countries. 20 years on from Ottawa, much work remains to be done: because the final goal must be no landmines, and no landmine victims.
Original language : International soundtrack
English title : 20 years after Ottawa : landmines still destroy lives
Colour/B&W : colour
SD/HD : HD
Resolution : 1920 x 1080
Aspect ratio : 16/9
Original material/format : H264
Best material/format available : ProRes 422

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