On 22 May 2018, Geneva Call monitored the destruction of 2,500 stockpiled anti-personnel (AP) mines by the Sahrawi Mine Action Coordination Office (SMACO) in accordance with Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment banning AP mines, signed by the Polisario Front in 2005. The event took place near Tifariti in the presence of representatives of the Polisario Front and of the international community.
This marks the seventh such destruction since the Polisario Front signed the Deed of Commitment, bringing the total number of stockpiled AP mines destroyed to date to 17,954. This event came about following discussions with Geneva Call and a declaration made by the Polisario Front in 2017, announcing the destruction of all its remaining stocks of AP mines by the end of 2018.
“2500 mines destroyed are potentially 2500 lives saved. Every effort to prevent new civilian casualties should be supported” said Catherine Hiltzer from Geneva Call, who was present at the destruction of the mines.
According to the Landmine Monitor, more than 2,500 people have been the victims of AP mines and explosive remnants of war in Western Sahara since 1975. In 2017, 11 new casualties were reported on both sides of the Moroccan Western Sahara Wall.