International Mine Awareness Day

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April 4 is observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and assistance in Mine Action. The decision to mark the day as Mine Awareness Day was announced by the United Nations General Assembly on 8 December, 2005. It was done because mines and explosive remnants of war constitute a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of the civilian populations and an impediment to social and economic development. This Day raises awareness of the threat caused by landmines to the safety and lives of civilian population, and encourages state Governments to develop mine clearing programmes.
The day aims to raise awareness about landmines and progress toward their eradication. ‘Mine action’ refers to a range of efforts to clear landmines and explosive remnants of war and to mark and fence off dangerous areas.
Creating a world free from deadly weapons is an important objective for the United Nations. Together with Government and civil society groups, it created the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and provides for their destruction. Today, over 60 states and territories are contaminated by landmines, cluster munitions, unexploded and abandoned explosive ordnance.
Moreover, the achievements of the mine action community show that, in working together, we can reach milestones once seen as impossible – a timely message for our efforts today to suppress transmission of the pandemic.
We need to teach individuals as how to stay safe in a mine-influenced environment, pushing for universal cooperation in international treaties identified with landmines, dangerous remainders of war and their victims, and destroying landmines accumulated by Governments and non-state armed groups.
We need to raise awareness at the international and national level on the role that mine action can play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including by capturing country-level evidence that brings a broader voice to the work and impact of mine action. Our special gratitude goes to all mine action personnel, UNMAS staff and others, who, in over 30 mine-affected countries, help rehabilitate health care facilities, keep access routes open for humanitarian workers, medical staff and peacekeepers and who enable communities to reach them safely.
Landmines and explosive remnants of war continue to kill or injure as many as 15,000 people a year. The overwhelming majority are civilians, who trigger these devices years or even decades after a conflict ends.
Mines are still present in over 60 countries, threatening lives of millions of people and preventing the land they contaminate from being used, for agriculture and housing, for example.
On this International Mine Awareness Day, let us redouble our efforts to realise dream of a mine-free Nations.
Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit