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Geneva and Budapest – Hungary has become the 26th country in the world to rid its territory of landmines as required by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, or Ottawa Convention, which bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of these weapons.
Hungarian officials attending the Thirteenth Meeting of the States Parties gathered in Geneva this week, presented a formal Declaration of Completion saying, “Now we can safely state that there are no longer minefields in Hungary.”
The announcement came after a symbolic closing ceremony took place on 25 October in Harkány where Hungarian officials announced: “Hungary has completed demining work along its border with Croatia and it is now free of all known minefields.”
In early 2011, Hungary had discovered a previously unknown minefield along the Hungarian-Croatian border that was a spillover from the 1990s conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
Hungary immediately notified the Convention’s States Parties of its findings and quickly proceeded - according to the Convention’s norms - to mark and fence off the suspected hazardous area in its southern border.
In September 2011, a Croatian-Hungarian project to survey and clear the hazardous area began.
The project, supported by the European Union, also included environmental rehabilitation of the area as dictated by the EU’s Natura 2000 programme.
In the course of fulfilling its obligations, Hungary cleared or otherwise declared safe an area totalling 1,007,747 square metres. Hungary, which was one of the first States to join the Convention, destroyed its 356,884 stockpiled landmines in 1998.
“I commend Hungary for having cleared the hazardous area in such a quick and effective manner,” said the Convention’s Implementation Support Unit Director, Kerry Brinkert.
“One more European country is now free of landmines. We are that much closer to our goal of a mine-free world.”
Delegation of Hungary at a meeting of the States Parties
The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention was adopted in Oslo in 1997, opened for signature in Ottawa the same year and entered into force on 1 March 1999.
Since entering into force, millions of square metres of once dangerous lands have been released for normal human activity and over 44.5 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed.
For press inquiries, contact: Laila Rodriguez press(at)apminebanconvention.org or +41 (0) 22 906 1656. Find the Convention on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.