Canada boosts funding to dig up landmines, including in Syria


Ottawa (AFP)

Canada announced more funding Monday to rid the world of landmines, including clearing explosives left by the Islamic State group in Raqqa and southern Syria.

The Can$12 million (US$9 million) in new funding comes two decades after a UN treaty banning landmines was adopted.

"Since the introduction of the Ottawa Treaty 20 years ago, significantly fewer people have been injured or killed because of a landmine," Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.

But, she added: "More work remains to be done to rid the world of landmines."

The money will go to clear homes, schools and other public areas of Syria once controlled by the IS group, allowing for the safe return of civilians.

The funding will also support the removal of mines in Cambodia, Laos, Colombia and Ukraine, which are among the most affected by the weapons.

The 162 state parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Treaty, aim to clear all mines by 2025.

The United States, China, Egypt, India, Israel, Pakistan and Russia have not signed the treaty.

Ottawa said 51 million landmines had been destroyed over the past two decades.

According to the most recent Landmine Monitor report, however, the number of people killed or injured by mines nearly doubled in 2015 to 6,461, compared with 3,695 casualties in 2014. It was also the highest recorded total in a decade.