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A man wearing protective clothing and a helmet kneels on the ground to defuse a landmine.
An expert defuses a mine in Ukraine to mitigate the threat to the local community. (© The HALO Trust)

Switzerland provides funding of around CHF 16–18 million every year to support international political efforts, specific projects in affected countries and the secondment of experts from the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, placing it among the fifteen largest mine action donor countries in the world. About half of these funds are channelled to the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). At the same time, Switzerland is committed to ensuring that the States Parties implement the relevant conventions and meet their obligations under these international treaties.

Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (en)

Mine action

Mine action aims to reduce the dangers of anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war to a level where people can live safely again. Switzerland’s Mine Action Strategy includes:

  • prevention through the dissemination of information about the dangers of mines and danger zones;
  • clearing of anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war;
  • victim assistance, including rehabilitation and the social and economic reintegration of survivors;
  • advocacy for a total ban on anti-personnel mines, cluster munition and other explosive remnants of war.

Mine Action Strategy of the Swiss Confederation

To implement its Mine Action Strategy, Switzerland works closely with non-governmental organisations like Geneva Call, the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining GICHD, the Cluster Munition Coalition, the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Geneva Call

Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining, GICHD

Cluster Munition Coalition

Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor

International Campaign to Ban Anti-personnel Mines

Anti-personnel mines, ICRC

International treaties

Switzerland has ratified the international conventions banning anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions.

Oslo Convention (Ban on Cluster Munitions)

Oslo Convention

The convention prohibits the development, production, use, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions. More than 100 states, including Switzerland (July 2012), have ratified the convention.

Following ratification, Switzerland adapted its War Material Act accordingly. By 2018, Switzerland had eliminated its stockpiles of cluster munitions .

Convention on Cluster Munitions, classified compilation

More on the convention

Ottawa Convention (Mine Ban Treaty)

Ottawa Convention

The convention bans the production, use, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines. More than 160 states have ratified it to date. The States Parties undertake to destroy their stockpiles within four years of ratifying the convention and to clear their sovereign territory of all anti-personnel mines within 10 years.

Switzerland ratified the convention in March 1998, one of the first states to do so. Switzerland destroyed the last of its anti-personnel mines in 1999.

Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, classified compilation

More on the convention

Example Cambodia

30 years of war and conflict in Cambodia have left the country with an estimated three to four million landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war. They continue to claim countless lives and hinder economic and sustainable development.

Mine action makes large tracts of land safe and habitable, enabling people to return to their land and farm their fields again.

As one Cambodian farmer explains: “Before the mines were cleared, I lived in constant fear. We used to burn the mines but this only put our lives at greater risk. Now I can farm my fields safely again.” Many other Cambodians have the same story to tell. 

A peasant woman is crouching on her mine-free field.
A farmer working in her demined field. (© SDC)

Last update 20.04.2022

Contact

International Security Division

Effingerstrasse 27
3003 Bern

Access plan

Phone

+41 58 463 58 00 / +41 58 485 65 10

Fax

+41 58 464 38 39

Peace and Human Rights Division

Bundesgasse 32
3003 Bern

Phone

+41 (0)58 462 30 50

Fax

+41 (0)58 463 89 22