Letter: Random victims of the trade in mines

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The Independent Online
Sir: I read with deep sadness of the casualties (one killed and two injured) resulting from a British Army Land Rover hitting an unmarked mine in Bosnia, and my sympathy goes out to all concerned (report, 30 April).

Unfortunately, these casualties just add to the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who have been killed or maimed recently by the indiscriminate use of mines in civil wars around the world, from Cambodia to Afghanistan, northern Iraq, Ethopia, Mozambique and Angola.

The international aid agencies, notably the International Committee of the Red Cross and Oxfam, have for a long time been calling for an internationally enforceable ban on the manufacture, sale and use of all mines, which are indiscriminate as to whom they harm, remain a threat to life and limb indefinitely until disarmed (itself a dangerous undertaking), and even when peace comes their presence stunts recovery and development.

It is particularly unfortunate that our government has been unwilling to take a lead in achieving such a ban and, indeed, has not yet signed the latest UN protocols on the use of mines. Inevitably there are going to be more British casualties, both military in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, and among aid workers around the world.

Yours faithfully,

DAVID JONES

Wood End, Warwickshire

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