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Peru protests Chilean border landmines before OAS

Peru filed an official protest with the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (O.A.S.) that Chile clears its remaining land mines in areas near the two countries border, according to previous commitments made during the organization’s assembly last year in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The protest was filed by the Peruvian ambassador to the O.A.S., Ántero Flores-Aráoz, who requested that Chile initiates immediate efforts for their clearance, in agreement with O.A.S. Resolution 2180.

According to the Peruvian delegation, the Office of Humanitarian Mine Action (OHMA) of the O.A.S. updated information to obtain that America will become the first continent(s) free of antipersonnel mines, ratifying by the Ottawa Convention in 1997.

It August 2002, then-Chilean president Ricardo Lagos first initiated the destruction of 76,388 anti-personnel mines which still crowd the borders to Peru and Bolivia for more than 25 years.

Thanks in large part to OAS efforts, four member states – Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Suriname – have completed their demining programs and are considered landmine-safe. Humanitarian demining operations continue in Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru.

As part of their action against these deadly weapons, several countries have taken steps to destroy their landmine stockpiles. During the last three years, with the assistance of the OAS Mine Action Program and the IADB, more than one million stockpiled mines have been destroyed in Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.

The OAS coordinates activities, identifying, obtaining and delivering the resources that are needed, including funds, equipment and personnel. The Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) oversees technical demining operations, working with field supervisors from various countries. The actual mine clearing is done by teams of trained soldiers, security forces or other personnel from the affected country.

All but two countries in the Americas have signed and 32 have ratified the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, known as the Ottawa Convention.

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