Vatican issues urgent call for removal of landmines

 Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Office and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, has repeated an urgent call for the removal of landmines around the world, in compliance with the Treaty of Ottawa. The Archbishop gave a speech on Tuesday, during the Fourth Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, taking place from September 16 to 20. During his address, the archbishop said that the final objective of the Treaty of Ottawa was "to remove these inhumane weapons definitively from the lives of entire populations". He said: "more than 20 million mines have been destroyed and there had been a drastic reduction in the number of producers." But he pointed out that "230 million mines still remain to be eliminated" and there have been "over 20,000 deaths." Archbishop Diarmuid stressed that "any delay or weakening of enthusiasm" in fully implementing the Ottawa Convention" would cause "more victims and in an "era of interdependence it is no longer tolerable to condemn, through inaction, entire populations to live in fear and precariousness." source: Vatican Information Service

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