BOSTON -- Jordan's Queen Noor, a leader in the global campaign against land mines, warned Thursday that long after fighting ends in Kosovo, hidden anti-personnel weapons will be killing and maiming returning refugees.
"In Kosovo, land mines have been used in barbaric and terrifyingly inhumane ways to promote ethnic cleansing," said Noor, who was in Boston as part of a series of events sponsored by UNICEF of New England aimed at outlawing the use of land mines.If ethnic Albanian refugees are allowed to return to Kosovo, she said, their return will have to be carefully managed to avoid a "humanitarian catastrophe" because of the large number of mines and booby-trapped houses left by the Serbs.
"The routes in are heavily mined," said Noor, who is patron of the Landmine Survivors Network, an organization that helps people injured by land mines.
Advocates of a ban on land mines call them "a slow motion weapon of mass destruction" that kill at least 800 people a month around the globe and injure another 1,200. Most of the victims are civilians; many are small children.
The widow of Jordan's King Hussein took up the anti-mine cause early last year, filling a role the late Princess Diana once held. She said she is especially concerned about mines in the Middle East, many of which are from World War II and continue to cause civilian casualties.