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close this bookICRC Activities in Rwanda: 1993 - 6 April 2000 (International Committee of the Red Cross , 230 p.)
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ICRC NEWS N° 52/28 December 1994

RWANDA
A FURTHER ORDEAL: MINES

Since the end of July, the two hospitals in Kigali have admitted 112 people injured by mines, and every week brings another series of casualties whose injuries often necessitate amputation. According to doctors there, those who reach the hospitals account for only some of the victims, many of whom, including a large number of children, die on the spot and do not appear in the statistics.

The whole of Rwanda, particularly the north, is afflicted by the scourge of mines. Although the exact number laid on the paths leading to the fields is unknown, it can be estimated at several tens of thousands.

Mines are obviously very easy to obtain. According to an UNMAR (United Nations Mission for Assistance to Rwanda) mine-disposal expert, so many have been strewn throughout the country that “in July, you simply had to bend down and pick them up. Seven hundred were found in one go in Nyamirambo, a workers’ district of Kigali”. The clearance of mines is particularly difficult, since there are practically no records showing their position and they are buried or otherwise concealed in the most seemingly innocuous places.

The ICRC is doing its best to alert the international community to the immense danger they present, especially those still lying in wait from wars that have now ended. Mines are very often used beyond the bounds of military necessity to serve as a means of terrorizing the civilian population. The ICRC therefore urges all States to support the amendments that will have to be introduced in 1995 into the 1980 United Nations Weapons Convention with the intention, among other things, of banning or at least strictly limiting the use of these deadly devices. The Fourth Session of the Group of Governmental Experts to prepare the Review Conference on this Convention will be held in Geneva from 9 to 20 January 1995. At the request of the United Nations Secretary-General, the ICRC will take part as an observer.

Further information:

Kim Gordon-Bates, ICRC Geneva, Tel. + +41 22 730 2265 (operational details)
Louise Doswald-Beck, Peter Herby, ICRC Geneva, Tel. + +41 22 730 2519 (legal information) and
Johanne Dorais-Slakmon, ICRC Geneva, Tel. + +41 22 730 2319