The UK Government congratulated Nepal for the successful clearance of its last remaining minefields and its designation as a landmine free country. On the culmination of the task, the Foreign Office called on the Nepalese government to join the Ottawa Convention
As a key donor, contributing over £5 million toward demining activities in Nepal over several years, the UK has worked closely with Nepal to help rid the country of its mines, which are estimated to have claimed over 300 lives since the end of the Nepalese civil war in 2006.
UK Ministers today paid tribute to the realisation of this important milestone:
“I congratulate Nepal on this remarkable achievement, and pay tribute to the brave work of the demining personnel. I now urge the Government to build on this success by joining the Ottawa Convention to ensure that these terrible, indiscriminate weapons never again blight Nepali soil and the lives of its people”, said FCO Minister Jeremy Browne.
Department for International Development Minister Alan Duncan said: This is really good news for Nepal. People can move without fear of death or horrific injury, and farmers can plough their fields and regain their livelihoods. Ridding a country of the scourge of landmines is an excellent use of UK aid. It is what development is all about.
Finally Ministry of Defence Minister Andrew Robathan also praised the milestone saying that “I welcome this positive news, which is an example for other countries seeking to restore and build peace. The UK has been the major international supporter of demining efforts in Nepal, with a contribution worth some £5m over several years. I am delighted that this support has paid off.”
The UK Government has actively contributed to mine-clearance activities in Nepal through its support to the Nepal Peace Trust Fund and the UN Peace Fund for Nepal.
In addition, UK funding from the FCO, DFID and MoD Conflict Pool has enabled the United Nations Mine Action Team to train and provide equipment for the Nepal Army’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit and the Nepal Army Mine Action Coordination Centre.