10 February 2017
The delegate of Algeria announcing completion at the 20th International Meeting of National Mine Action Programme Directors ©ICBL
Algeria confirmed today in Geneva the completion of its antipersonnel landmine clearance activities. Felicitations, mabrouk!
The ICBL congratulates Algeria for this major accomplishment. Antipersonnel landmine contamination in Algeria dated back as far as World War II - a cruel reminder of the unacceptable legacy of these weapons.
During the International Meeting of UN Mine Action National Programme Directors and Mine Action Advisors, Colonel Ahcene Gherabi spoke on behalf of Algeria and received warm applause after announcing that the programme was completed on 1 December 2016, four months ahead of Algeria's treaty-mandatory deadline of 1 April 2017.
Algeria's antipersonnel landmine clearance was conducted exclusively by national teams, using national funding. The ICBL noted on numerous occasions, over the years, that this demonstrated remarkable national ownership of the problem and its solutions.
"I am delighted that Algeria is now free of antipersonnel mines. Thanks to our government, and all other actors that have contributed to the clearance of landmines and their destruction," said Youcef Rafai, head of Association of Solidarity for the Handicapped and Mine Victims. "But we are not done with implementing the Mine Ban Treaty, I call upon our government to continue supporting landmine victims, some of whom are in critical need of assistance."
Algeria's formal declaration of clearance completion under the Mine Ban Treaty should follow at the 16th Meeting of States Parties, to be held in December 2017 in Vienna.
Algerian campaigners lend their legs in solidarity with landmine victims in Souk Ahras, Algeria. 3 April 2013 ©Faradji Djillali, L'Association de Protection des Handicapés d'Igli Wilaya Bechar, Algeria
According to the Landmine Mine Monitor, in Algeria between 1963 and 1988, some 500km² of mined area was cleared by manual and mechanical means, resulting in destruction of more than 7.8 million antipersonnel mines. A second clearance phase began in November 2004, resulting in the destruction of more than one million mines from 100km² of mined area. Photo © Government of Algeria.