David Ellery, Reporter for The Canberra Times.
November 6, 2015 – 8:45PM
The United Nations had launched Operation Salam, under the leadership of its former high commissioner for refugees, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, in 1988 to help the displaced Afghans and facilitate their eventual return.
This led to an appeal to the international community for funds to help train Afghan civilians to locate and destroy landmines using a “village clearance” model.
“The response [to the appeal for funds] was very poor [because] the vast majority of countries regarded landmines as a military problem, not a humanitarian one,” Mansfield said.
“I was exposed to the [human] impact of landmines for the first time.
“[There were] people whose limbs had been blown off, leaving them to die in areas with no medical facilities; children were being killed needlessly.
I realised these were weapons that continued to kill and maim long after the wars they had been used in were officially over.
There were, at this time, more than 100 million anti-personnel mines scattered across almost all the major continents. They killed indiscriminately and prevented people from using large areas of land.”
– Ian Mansfield, head of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (retired 2011).
Discover, Explore and Learn more via WA Today | Landmine campaigner Ian Mansfield began his journey towards peace in Canberra