Kurdpa: The left-over landmines from the Iran-Iraq war still haunt residents of Eastern Kurdistan where much of the 8-year war took place.
Kurdpa has learned that a landmine explosion on August 3 around Langrez village in Sawlava region killed 13-year-old Behzad Ebrahimi and seriously injured 12-year-old Farshad Yaghoubi.
Ebrahimi’s condition is very critical, eye-witnesses have confirmed. The victims are believed to be residents of Besaran village, in the suburbs of Mariwan.
According to the reports, the explosion took place when the two kids were playing with a left-over landmine while herding livestock around an abandoned military post.
There are more than 20 million left-over mines in the provinces of Ilam, Kurdistan, Kirmashan, Wurme and Ahwaz; furthermore, more than 2,200 hectares of land in Eastern Kurdistan are laid with deadly landmines by the Iranian government.
Iran is the second-most mine-polluted country in the world. According to studies, on average three people die in Iran on daily basis from mine explosions. This number is much higher in the Kurdish areas as most of the landmines are in the four Kurdish provinces.
Iran has refused to join the call made in Ottawa to ban landmines. In criticizing the Ottawa Convention on banning landmines, Iran’s government has stated that the agreement focuses mainly on humanitarian concerns and overlooks military concerns regarding border protection.
Non-state actors such as the main Kurdish armed exiled opposition groups have signed the Ottawa Landmines Treaty to ban the use of landmines.
However Tehran insists that “Due to the difficulties of monitoring sensitive extensive areas by established and permanent guarding posts of effective warning systems, landmines continue to be the effective means [for countries like Iran] to ensure the minimum security requirements of their borders”.
Writing by Kurdpa Staff Writers and editing by Sharmin Hassaniani.