Ban commends mine action successes


The weekend saw the world mark the 10th anniversary of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action secure in the knowledge more than 400,000 landmines were destroyed last year.

Another encouraging fact mentioned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his address on the day was the destruction of more than 2,000 tons of obsolete ammunition and the verification as “mine clear” of 1,500 km of road in areas of past and current conflict.

There are bow 162 States that are parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. The UN is a leading player in freeing the world from the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war. It also leads the way when it comes to meeting the needs of victims and survivors and ensuring their human rights.
“I commend all who have contributed to the successes achieved,” Ban said adding “women, girls, boys and men continue to fall victim to landmines laid decades ago in places such as Afghanistan and Cambodia and I am alarmed these indiscriminate weapons are still being used in conflicts today”.

Civilians were also exposed to an increasingly wide range of explosive hazards, going beyond mines to cluster munitions, unsafe and unsecured weapons and ammunition as well as improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
“I am concerned by the extensive use of improvised explosive devices by armed groups in Iraq, which poses a major threat to civilians. In Syria, the widespread use of ‘barrel bombs’ and other explosive weapons in populated areas has caused great devastation and human suffering, leaving a legacy of explosive remnants of war that will remain a threat until their removal.”

This year’s theme for the Day, ‘More than Mines,’ reflects that changing reality. When explosive hazards block the way, food is not delivered, refugees and internally displaced people cannot safely return home, children cannot attend school and peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development efforts are hindered.
“On this International Day, I urge Member States to stay committed to the cause of mine action through financial contributions and political support, which is particularly crucial this year as the General Assembly debates assistance in mine action. The proposed resolution will provide an opportunity to recognise mine action is indeed ‘More than Mines’ and to recommit ourselves to working with affected states to reduce the menace of mines and explosive hazards,” he said on Saturday.