Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Tajikistan Struggles With Landmine Legacy
As a signatory to the Ottawa convention banning landmines, Tajikistan is supposed to have dealt with the remaining munitions in the ground by April this year. As the government is unlikely to meet that deadline, an international landmine conference last month approved its request for more time.
Officially, Uzbekistan says it has cleared the minefields it laid close to Tajik territory.
However, Parviz Mavlonkulov, deputy head of the Mine Action Group, says uncleared anti-personnel mines in these areas cause more casualties than anwhere else. In December, a husband and wife in Isfara district of northern Tajikistan were killed by one of these mines.
“People get blown up by mines while cutting hay, pasturing their animals and doing other kinds of farmwork,” he said. “Mostly it’s children, as it is very difficult to explain the danger to them.”
Those who work on demining also take huge risks, and casualties are frequent.
(For more on the enduring risks posed by landmines in Tajikistan, see Tajik Soldiers Fight for Mine Injury Payouts, Central Asian Human Rights Reporting, 14 Sep 09.)
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