Falklands declared free of landmines almost 40 years after end of the war

Video report by ITV News Correspondent John Ray

The Falklands have been declared free of landmines almost 40 years after the 1982 conflict between the UK and Argentina over the South Atlantic islands ended.

A UK-funded mine clearing program that started in 2009 has ended three years ahead of schedule.

With the completion of the program, no anti-personnel mines will remain on British soil.

The removal of the mines laid during the conflict with Argentina means the UK has now met its obligations set by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.

A landmine detonation during the clearing of a minefield in the Falkland Islands. Credit: FCDO (John Hare and Guy Marot)

Wendy Morton, the UK minister responsible for the Falklands, said: “Our commitment to ridding the world of fatal land mines does not end with our territories being mine free.

“A further £36 million of UK funding will allow de-mining projects across the world to continue, protecting innocent civilian lives.

”The funding will help Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Myanmar, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe."

People on the Falkland Islands will detonate the final mine in a ceremony on November 14 that will also include cutting down fences to reopen access to beaches.

A de-miner clearing a minefield in the Falkland Islands Credit: FCDO (John Hare and Guy Marot)

Argentina lost the war for the South Atlantic archipelago after its troops embarked on an ill-fated invasion.

The conflict claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers.

Argentina still claims the islands, which it calls the 'Islas Malvinas'.

Britain says the Falklands are a self-governing entity under its protection.

A referendum on the islands held in 2013 found 99.8% of people wished to remain part of the UK.