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Geneva and Kinshasa – The Democratic Republic of Congo, one of Africa’s countries still affected by landmines, is to take stock of mine clearance progress and determine activities that need to be undertaken to meet its mine clearance obligation under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention - or Ottawa Convention, at a two-day workshop in Kinshasa.
“This workshop takes us a step closer to our goal of a Democratic Republic of Congo without landmines,” said Sudi Alimasi Kimputu, Coordinator of the Congolese Mine Action Centre. “The DRC is pursuing a national assessment to update information on progress made, what remains to be done, document the challenges encountered and make recommendations to overcome these challenges, all this by the end of 2013. The DRC is fully committed to overcome these challenges with national efforts and the help of national and international partners.”
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been a State Party since 1 November 2002. By acceding to the Convention, the DRC undertook to identify all mined areas under its jurisdiction and to clear such areas by or before 1 November 2012. In November 2011, the DRC received a “temporary” extension of 26 months to better understand the scope of the work that needed to be done.
“By 15 December, the DRC should have submitted a second request for an extension of its mine clearance deadline clearly detailing the extent of the problem that still remains and plan the required activities to fulfill its mine clearance obligation,” said Kerry Brinkert, Director of the Convention’s Implementation Support Unit. “This workshop aims to help the DRC to develop plans to provide more accurately, the time frame needed to complete mine clearance operations and to submit an action plan detailing the activities to be conducted to fulfill its obligation under the Convention.”
The workshop is organized in partnership with the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC), which helps the DRC to eliminate landmines and other explosive remnants of war. “Since 2002, 9.3 million square meters of contaminated land has been released, 3,533 mines and over 235,000 other explosive remnants of war have been destroyed by UNMACC in collaboration with partners, donors and other interested parties,” said the UNMACC Director, Pascal Simon.
Funding for the workshop comes from a Decision of the European Union Council, which aims to support the States Parties to overcome the difficulties encountered in implementing the Convention. The European Union has funded similar workshops in Peru, Colombia, Tajikistan and Ethiopia.
The DRC will be at the next Meeting of States Parties in Geneva from December 2 to 5, where it will present a report on progress in implementing the Convention.
For press inquiries, contact: Laila Rodriguez press(at)apminebanconvention.org or +41 (0) 22 906 1656. Find the Convention on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.