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Nicaragua: Bomb Disposal

Volume 457: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the danger posed by landmines in Nicaragua; and what aid the UK (a) has allocated and (b) plans to allocate for mine removal and local training to remove mines. (124702)

In recent years, Nicaragua has made significant progress in de-mining landmines left over from its years of conflict, under the auspices of the Nicaraguan Army Engineer Corps. The most recent Landmine Monitor report of 2006 indicated that many areas, such as the Southern Atlantic Coast Region, have now been cleared entirely, but progress is still needed in other regions, such as the North Atlantic Coast. In addition, the social and economic impact of uncleared mines is still felt, with casualties continuing to occur every year. Nicaragua’s “Demining National Plan” lays out Nicaragua’s interventions with regard to demining, with the support of the international community through the Organisation of American States (OAS). The de-mining programmes are often accompanied by mine education and awareness programmes and support to victims.

Globally, DFID is committed to reduce the social and economic impact of landmines on developing countries through helping them to implement their obligations under the Ottawa Convention. In 1999-2001, DFID provided support (£283,000) to the Government of Nicaragua, through the “Humanitarian Mine Action” programme coordinated by the OAS, to remove and destroy landmines and unexploited artefacts planted throughout the country during the years of conflict.

In addition, between 2000 and 2001, the UK Government, through the embassy in Nicaragua, contributed £850,000 to the implementation of Nicaragua’s Demining National Plan through the OAS. These resources went towards the removal and destruction of land mines in the area of the Northern Atlantic Coast.

The European Commission has also undertaken a €1.3 million project (2003-04), entitled “Implementation of Humanitarian Operations for Demining in Nueva Segovia”. This project was executed by the Nicaraguan Army, under the supervision of the OAS and Inter American Development Bank.

DFID no longer provides direct support to the de-mining effort in Nicaragua, as many donor partners continue to be closely engaged, including EU partners, Canada and the United States of America.