Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has called for the elimination of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in countries that have been involved in armed conflicts. The scale of the problem is quite large with around 70 million mines in areas of some 70 countries.
According to a press release issued by the pontifical council, on October 18 Cardinal Martino met with Heidi Kuhn, founder of the international Roots of Peace organization. The U.S. group is concentrate on reducing UXO through its "Mines for Vines" campaign, whose goal is to transform minefields into farmland.
"Every 30 minutes, a person is killed or maimed by UXO in countries that have been theaters of war. Every year 20,000 civilians are killed or injured because of the explosion of mines or cluster munitions,” the statement explained.
“This cruel type of weaponry does not discriminate between civilians and combatants; it is designed to inflict maximum suffering and not always to kill."
In the meeting, Cardinal Martino underlined the need "to increase commitment, particularly at the local level, to free the world from the dangers of UXO, which causes so much suffering and death in countries that seek to reestablish an order of justice and peace following the atrocities of a conflict."