“The Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, continues to attribute great importance to humanitarian actions to combat anti-personnel landmines,” said the Deputy Foreign Minister, Marina Sereni, in her opening remarks at the 25th Meeting of the CNAUMA, the National Committee for Humanitarian Mine Action, which groups together several civil society organizations engaged in combating weapons of this type.
“Since our meeting a year ago – Ms Sereni added – the Italian Cooperation Service has been called on to give a quick response to the rapid increase of humanitarian needs first in Afghanistan, following the events of last August, and then in Ukraine, consequently to the Russian invasion. For this year, the budget of the “Fund for Humanitarian Mine Clearing Operations and the reclaim of areas with war bombs”, established pursuant to Law No. 58 of 2001, amounts to € 8.590.733, consistently with the 2021 budget. These funds will enable us to confirm our contribution for the mine clearing operations in the principal crisis areas in which we intervened last year, as well as in other areas. This year in fact, we foresee sponsoring humanitarian mine clearance operations in contexts characterized by serious humanitarian crises and, in many cases, that have been persisting over time. In addition to confirming our commitment to Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, Mali, and Niger, we will make new contributions to the actions of humanitarian agencies in Countries such as Sudan and Ethiopia, in line with Italy’s 360º action plan in the region of the Horn of Africa.”
“We express concern – Deputy Foreign Minister Sereni said – for the growing use of landmines and improvised explosive devices (IED) in the different theatres of war, as well as for the large number of accidents, most of which continue to affect the civilian population, and even more dramatically, children. The humanitarian effects of the conflict in Ukraine are alarming and, in this respect, I would like to express my firm condemnation for the use of cluster munitions. The continuation of indiscriminate attacks against the population and civil infrastructure is militarily, politically, and humanly unacceptable. The documented use of cluster munitions has brought immense suffering upon the population, in addition to extended damages to schools, hospitals, and dwellings.”
Lastly, Deputy Foreign Minister Sereni expressed the Italian Government’s satisfaction at the recent announcement from the American Administration of wanting to go back to fully comply with a de facto moratorium on the use of anti-personnel mines.