International Day of Mine Awareness

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Today – April 4 – is International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action and it is commemorated at events at various UN missions, information centres and permanent offices.

It is the day when the United Nations re-affirms its commitment to a world free of the threat of land mines and explosive remnants of war, including cluster munitions.

This year the theme for the day is “Mine Action is Humanitarian Action”.

It was chosen to highlight the intrinsic humanitarian value of mine action, be it through the protection of civilians by reducing the threat of land mines and other explosive hazards or through the facilitation of humanitarian assistance delivery.

In his message for the day UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “In far too many places around the world, new or re-emerging conflicts are creating yet another legacy of explosive hazards, such as landmines, cluster munitions and improvised explosive devices. I am particularly concerned about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas”.

As one example, in South Sudan more than half a million people have received risk education over the last 12 months; 14 million square metres of contaminated land have been cleared; 3 000 km of road made safe and 30 000 mines and explosive remnants of war destroyed. This has enabled the delivery of food and water and the safe movement of those fleeing fighting.
“Mine action is an investment in humanity. It helps nurture peaceful societies, where those in need can receive aid and refugees and internally displaced persons can safely return home and children can go to school,” Ban said.
“It provides the safe space to undertake development and reconstruction activities and lay the foundations of sustainable peace.
“The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit will convene in Istanbul next month. My report in advance of the Summit highlights the unacceptable impact of mines and explosive remnants of war on civilians.

It also stresses the need for States to become parties to, and implement and comply with, relevant international humanitarian instruments.”