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ICHR calls for a Kashmir free of landmines

Brussels: Marking the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, International Council for Human Rights (ICHR) calls for a Kashmir free of landmines, and reaffirms its commitment to raise the issue of landmines which have been laid down by the Indian military and paramilitary forces at various parts of Kashmir.

A total of 161 nations are party to the Mine Ban Treaty, which was opened for signature in December 1997 and entered into force on March 1, 1999. The treaty comprehensively prohibits antipersonnel landmines and requires their clearance and assistance to victims.

Barrister A. Majid Tramboo, the Chairman of ICHR-Kashmir Project urged the government of India to join the Mine Ban Treaty. “More than 6,000 families and some 3,500 acres of agriculture land alone in Chamb area in Jammu region are mine-affected.” said the Barrister.

Barrister Tramboo stated that “a huge population at various parts of Kashmir along the Ceasefire Line continue to be caught in a death trap of landmines since 2002, suffering the burden of a war that was never fought. The government of India cannot afford to remain ignorant of the huge humanitarian and development impact of a rising landmines in Kashmir. The Indian government has a responsibility to undertake steps and to join the Mine Ban Treaty before further lives are lost.”

The Indian Army deployed an estimated two million mines in Indian Held Kashmir in Operation Parakram. This was probably the most extensive use of antipersonnel mines anywhere in the world since the Mine Ban Treaty was negotiated and first singed in 1997.

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