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Parliamentary group to study use of landmines

By Kim Pilling

An all-party parliamentary group focusing on landmines will be launched today.

The move follows a report last year which revealed that the use of anti-personnel mines by states is at a seven-year high.

Pauline Latham, Conservative MP for Mid Derbyshire and chairman of the group, said: "Landmines and unexploded ordnance kill and maim thousands of innocent people every year. This danger must far outweigh their military effectiveness.

"Through this new APPG we will be holding a number of investigations into their current use, the efforts of agencies to clear existing mines and the ways we can provide them with every support."

Launching at the House of Commons, the group will be joined by war photographer and landmine survivor Giles Duley, who lost three limbs to a landmine in Afghanistan last year.

On lending his support, Mr Duley said: "I set out to Angola, Sudan and Afghanistan not because I wanted to take photos but because I wanted to help create change.

"If my recent experience and injuries mean I can use my own story to the same effect, to make people sit up and take action, then that makes it all seem worthwhile."

The venture is being supported by the UK-based Mines Advisory Group (MAG), one of the world's leading mine clearance organisations and co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

MAG chief executive Nick Roseveare said: "As an organisation on the frontline of landmine clearance, we see first-hand the devastating effect that unexploded weapons and other 'lethal litter' has on some of the world's poorest people.

"We very much welcome the launch of this new APPG and hope that it will help keep the issue of mine action on the agenda, helping to deliver safer and better futures for those affected by conflict."

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