Group says many land mines remain

Associated Press / November 13, 2009

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GENEVA - Significant progress has been made in removing land mines around the world, but the hidden devices killed more than 1,260 people last year, the International Campaign to Ban Land mines said yesterday.

Land mines have been cleared from 1,236 square miles in 90 countries - an area twice the size of London - in the last decade, said the group, which received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to establish the Mine Ban Treaty. But more needs to be done because a similar amount of land is still mined and dangerous, the group said.

Mines remain planted in the earth in more than 70 countries, said the group’s 1,253-page report. Mines killed at least 1,266 people and wounded 3,891 last year, it said, adding that most of the victims were civilians.

“Significant progress has been made in eradicating anti-personnel mines, but much work remains,’’ the report said.

While more than 150 countries have agreed to the treaty’s provisions to end the production, use, stockpiling, and trade in mines, a number of holdouts remain. China, India, Pakistan, and the United States are among those yet to join the treaty, but only Myanmar and Russia are believed to have used mines in recent years, the campaign said.