Vatican appeals for action on landmines

 Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has issued a call for the elimination of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in countries that have been involved in armed conflicts. According to a statement issued by the pontifical council, on October 18 Cardinal Martino met with Heidi Kuhn, founder of the international Roots of Peace organization, which is based in the US and runs the "Mines for Vines" campaign, which aims to transform minefields into farmland. "Every 30 minutes," the communique reads, "a person is killed or maimed by UXO in countries that have been theatres of war. Every year 20,000 civilians are killed or injured because of the explosion of mines or cluster munitions. This cruel type of weaponry does not discriminate between civilians and combatants; it is designed to inflict maximum suffering and not always to kill." Unexploded mines prolong fear among civilian populations and often extend their dependence on aid from the international community, the stament said. According to estimates, planting a mine costs three dollars, while removing it costs 1,000 dollars. There are some 70 million mines in areas of some 70 countries of the world." In the meeting, Cardinal Martino underlined the need "to increase commitment, particularly at the local level, to free the world from the dangers of UXO, which causes so much suffering and death in countries that seek to reestablish an order of justice and peace following the atrocities of a conflict." Source: VIS

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