22 June 2011

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is extremely concerned about the latest reports from our colleagues at Human Rights Watch that confirm even more antipersonnel landmines have been used in Libya during the recent conflict.

In a press release issued on Tuesday 21 June 2011, Human Rights Watch said their teams had discovered more than 150 newly-laid landmines in the Nafusa Mountains, close to the Tunisian border. This disturbing discovery comes as hundreds of governmental delegates and experts in mine action from international and non-governmental organizations convene in Geneva for a series of vital meetings to encourage further universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

"These reports are increasingly worrying and we have taken every opportunity during this week's conference to publicly condemn the Libyan government's use of antipersonnel mines," said ICBL Director Kasia Derlicka. "Human Rights Watch's report shows that as long as antipersonnel mines are being stockpiled, there is the real danger they will eventually be used. There have been reports of new minefields being laid in at least three more places in Libya since the most recent conflict began." The ICBL has responded with consistent calls for the Libyan government to take urgent steps to ensure clearance of all laid mines and destroy existing stockpiles to prevent further casualties.

"The humanitarian consequences of laying minefields are vast, and the practice really must stop. We hope States Parties in Geneva this week will join us in condemning this activity in Libya, and re-double efforts to rid the world of this indiscriminate weapon," Derlicka added.

More information: please visit Human Rights Watch's website for a technical briefing on the type and location of the mines found in Libya.