Demand for ban on landmines

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The Independent Online
The Government is coming under increasing pressure to support a ban on anti-personnel mines at the start of a United Nations conference on the weapons that kill or maim more than 25,000 people a year.

The meeting in Geneva, which begins today, is part of an review of the Inhumane Weapons Convention, designed to protect civilians from the mines. An estimated 110 million anti-personnel mines are scattered across 62 countries such as Afghanistan, Angola and Cambodia, devastating communities and economic growth.

British officials will support a plan to allow the use only of mines which self-destruct over time. But opposition parties, aid agencies, and Church leaders have joined 27 countries in calling for a total ban.

On Saturday, at rallies across Britain, they said Britain must take the moral lead. Labour's defence spokesman, David Clark, said: "The Government has dragged its feet for too long . . . It should set an example by immediately supporting a ban on the trade of all anti-personnel mines."