Major progress in clearing landmines in Iraq: 59% of contaminated areas declared safe


Iraq’s Minister of Environment, Nizar Amidi, has disclosed today a significant achievement in the country’s efforts to eliminate landmines, reporting that 59% of the previously contaminated areas have now been successfully cleared.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani has shown a steadfast commitment to addressing environmental concerns, with ample funding allocated in the federal budget to carry out the essential task of landmine clearance, as reported by the state news agency, INA.

“Amidi emphasized that Iraq has effectively demined 59% of the affected zones, marking a substantial progress. The remaining 41% represents an area of more than 2,000 square kilometers still requiring attention. The Iraqi Minister of Environment underscored the ministry’s strong determination to execute a strategy that aligns with Iraq’s domestic and international objectives, working in close partnership with stakeholders”.

“Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Amidi echoed a declaration made last March regarding the Ministry’s commitment, particularly through the Directorate for Mine Action (DMA), to achieve a mine-free Iraq by 2028. This commitment falls in line with Iraq’s responsibilities under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, informally known as the Ottawa Treaty”.

Tragedy struck in October 2022 when two members of a team affiliated with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) lost their lives, while a third was injured during an incident at a hazardous explosive clearance site near Basra’s Shatt Al-Arab. In a statement released in November, UNMAS addressed the various forms of contamination that Iraq continues to face, the remnants of decades of war and conflict, which continue to imperil the safety and well-being of Iraqis.

“Iraq stands as the most heavily affected nation by landmines globally. This contamination is partly attributed to the deployment of mines by ISIS during its control over territories in Iraq and Syria, as Reuters reported. The lingering impact of the 2003 coalition-led invasion, the 1991 Gulf War, and the prolonged 1980–1988 Iran–Iraq war has compounded the landmine issue, further intensifying the challenge of restoring safety and normalcy to these regions”.

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