“The Government, and especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, continues to give great importance to humanitarian action against anti personnel mines”. This is what the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marina Sereni, said when opening the XXIV Meeting of the National Committee for Humanitarian Action against Anti Personnel Mines.
“Italy,” explained V.M. Sereni, “has strict legislation forbidding anti personnel mines, in the form of the Law of October 1997, which pre-dated signing of the Ottawa Convention that completely banned anti personnel mines from December in that year. Then there’s the National Fund for Humanitarian Mine Clearing, set up in 2001, which makes it possible to launch effective actions against mines. Italy completed destruction of its own arsenals of anti personnel mines back in 2002, before the deadline laid down by the Ottawa Convention, just like it completed destruction of its arsenals of cluster ammunition in 2015, five years ahead of the deadline set by the Oslo Convention”.
“The difficulties brought on by COVID-19,” continued the Vice Minister, “did not lessen Italy’s commitment to cooperation in support of humanitarian initiatives against mines on all continents. In 2021 the Fund has almost Euro 8,6 million, more than double the amounts forecast to be earmarked in 2020. Thanks to this significant increase it will be possible to confirm and increase the contribution to mine clearing in the arenas of the major crises in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Palestine, and adding others, like Sahel and especially Mali and Niger”.
“I am convinced that civil society can make an essential contribution to our humanitarian action when it comes to mine clearing, in areas that are an ever greater priority, such as care for the victims and education on the risk. For this reason,” concluded V.M. Sereni, “this year we intend also financing the actions of some NGOs in Libya and Iraq”.