MAG in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of the first states to sign the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in 1997, but 20 years later there is still a lot of work to do.

A MAG deminer at work in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Photo: MAG Bosnia and Herzegovina


 

 

The problems

Why MAG is in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of the first states to sign the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in 1997, but 20 years later there is still a lot of work to do.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre (BHMAC) estimates that approximately 1,100 square kilometres remains contaminated by mines and other explosive remnants of war. This directly affects nearly 1,500 communities which is more than half a million people, or approximately 15% of the total population.

As well as the day to day risk of accidents, mine contamination prevents people from using land needed for agriculture, tourism, and access to basic infrastructure. In some areas of the country, including where MAG is working in Pale-Prača, it is even still affecting the progress of post-war reconstruction as well as preventing people from returning to their homes, 20 years after the war ended.

The first mine found at the beginning of Bosnia and Herzegovina operations in May 2017.

Photo: MAG Bosnia and Herzegovina


 

How MAG is helping in Bosnia and Herzegovina

MAG has been working with the BHMAC and other national authorities for the past few months in preparation for starting work. Mine clearance operations began in May 2017 in Pale-Prača which is about 35 kilometres east of the capital city, Sarajevo. The site location is a perfect illustration of the issues, with minefields close to people’s homes and access roads, and blocking access to agricultural land, water sources, electricity supplies, and cemeteries.

This large area of 2.1 square kilometres is the first of many sites that MAG plans to make safe for communities over the coming years, working towards the landmine free 2025 deadline. The first MAG team to be deployed is funded by the US Department of State, and a second team will deploy in June 2017 which will be funded by the Austrian Government.

 

 

MAG`s operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina border houses and gardens in the area of Pale-Prača.

Photo: MAG Bosnia and Herzegovina