For Immediate Release

Iran/Iraq: Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan Destroys Anti-personnel Mines

GENEVA - The ICBL welcomed today the recent destruction of 392 antipersonnel
landmines by the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), in Koya,
northern Iraq. The news was announced by Swiss-based NGO Geneva Call in
a press release on 1 September 2008.

According to information provided by Geneva Call, the mines destroyed
included Italian, Chinese, as well as mines of US and Russian design
but of unknown manufacture. Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) carried out
the destruction activity.

The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) signed the Deed of
Commitment for Adherence to a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines and for
Cooperation in Mine Action, administered by Geneva Call, in December
2007 (see http://www.icbl.org/news/iran_gc).
This destruction took place within 9 months of their agreeing to the
Deed of Commitment, which commits non-state armed groups to banning the
use, production, acquisition and transfer of antipersonnel mines, to
destroying their antipersonnel mine stocks, and to facilitating mine
action activities.

In August 2008, Geneva Call was shown a stockpile of more than 400
antipersonnel mines by the PDKI. Geneva Call Programme Officer for the
Middle East, Armin Köhli who witnessed the destruction, stated that
Geneva Call "will follow up with them to clarify if this was the
complete stockpile, and to assist them in undertaking other concrete
steps of mine action in accordance with their commitment."

The PDKI stated that it halted all armed activities in 1997, but,
according a December 2007 Geneva Call press release, maintains a
militia. The PDKI's declaration that it will forego the use of
antipersonnel mines, and this destruction of stockpiled antipersonnel
mines are the first by an armed group in Iran. The group was not
previously reported in the Landmine Monitor to use antipersonnel
landmines, but has stated to Geneva Call that it did use antipersonnel
mines prior to halting armed activity.

** Read more about the landmine situation in Iran and Iraq in the Landmine Monitor Report

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