Falkland Islands are to be declared officially mine free nearly 40 years after the conflict

Falkland Islands are to be declared officially mine free nearly 40 years after the conflict

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that 38 years since the conflict ended mine clearance has been officially completed

The Falkland Islands are to be declared officially mine free nearly 40 years after the conflict.

At the end of the Falklands War in June 1982 British Forces removed all of the mines it had planted as well as looking to locate and clear all other mines laid during the hostilities.

However after several soldiers were injured during this process the UK Government decided to stop clearance and instead fenced off all suspect areas.

Just over 150 areas in the Falklands were identified as hazardous, which initial work reduced to 122.

Although a number of mines continued to be destroyed by the UK military’s Joint Service Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachment using remote controlled equipment, it was not The Falkland Islands are to be declared officially mine free nearly 40 years after the conflict.

At the end of the Falklands War in June 1982 British Forces removed all of the mines it had planted as well as looking to locate and clear all other mines laid during the hostilities.

However after several soldiers were injured during this process the UK Government decided to stop clearance and instead fenced off all suspect areas.

Just over 150 areas in the Falklands were identified as hazardous, which initial work reduced to 122.

Although a number of mines continued to be destroyed by the UK military’s Joint Service Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachment using remote controlled equipment, it was not until 2009 that determined clearance work began with SafeLane Global Ltd, civilian mine clearing specialists.

Now, 38 years since the conflict ended, The Daily Telegraph can reveal that mine clearance was officially completed in October of this year.

The effort was conducted as part of the UK’s obligation to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, also known as the Ottawa Convention, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines and commits signatories to removing such mines from territories over which they have jurisdiction or control.

While the UK has never put an exact figure on the total number of mines in the Falklands, Argentina estimated that several thousand antipersonnel and anti-vehicle mines had been laid throughout the period.

Since 2009 the clearance teams, with their Zimbabwean deminers, destroyed over 10,000 Anti-Personnel mines and assorted items of unexploded ordnance.

It has resulted in 2,338 hectares of safe ground released back to the community that had been prohibited from using many beaches and areas close to the capital, Stanley, and the main populated settlements.

This Saturday, on November 14th, the UK will officially announce that the Falkland Islandsare without mines and will be able to declare that the UK and its territories are mine free.

Leona Roberts, member of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, said: “On behalf of the people of the Falkland Islands, and perhaps even more importantly, on behalf of all the generations of Islanders to come, we express our heartfelt thanks to each and every person involved in the demining programme.

“After 38 years of living with landmines in the Falklands, we can now look forward with hope and confidence to a time when our Islands will once again be fully accessible, when the need to teach our children about minefield fences will be a thing of a past.”

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