Lower demining capacity is a safety threat to BiH citizens

Swift action by the BiH Council of Ministers is required to appoint the new Demining Commission, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative Ambassador Johann Sattler and EUFOR Commander Major General Reinhard Trischak have warned. The Demining Commission is the country’s only body authorized to accredit and re-accredit demining organisations. With its mandate expiring, 89 percent of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s demining capacity and the entire capacity for the removal of explosive remnants of war outside registered mine suspected areas is set to be lost by the end of March.

The current stalemate represents a threat to the safe and secure environment for the citizens in a country where around 2 percent of the territory is still mine contaminated. EU Ambassador Sattler and Major General Trischak have flagged up the urgency of this matter with relevant authorities in the country. Following the nomination of a new Demining Commission by the BiH Minister of Civil Affairs Ankica Gudeljević, BiH Council of Ministers needs to move forward with the official appointment of the Commission and its members, in order to facilitate continuation of the Mine Action Strategy in line with national and international standards.

Having no commission in place also jeopardizes the execution of EU-funded demining projects worth €10 million and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mine Action Centre (BHMAC) would be unable to continue work with organisations not accredited by the Demining Commission.

EUFOR continues to stand ready to monitor mine clearing efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, furthermore, there is a sense of urgency due to the fact the demining season lasts from April to October subject to weather conditions.