United Nations mine action programmes make an invaluable contribution to post-conflict recovery, humanitarian relief efforts, peace operations and development initiatives. They prevent landmines and other explosive ordnance from causing further indiscriminate harm long after conflicts have ended, and help to transform danger zones into productive land. Mine action sets communities on course toward lasting stability.
In Libya, mine action personnel have responded to the threat posed by landmines, cluster munitions, and the lack of secure ammunition storage areas. Thousands of explosive remnants of war have been secured or cleared from schools, roads or residential areas, and tens of thousands of people have received risk education.
Over the past year, mine action operators have also been assisting in stockpile management in Albania, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The recent disaster in Congo Brazzaville, where an arms depot exploded, is a tragic reminder of the need for such management.
On this year’s International Day for Mine Awareness, we are “lending our legs” in a campaign to show support and compassion for survivors. Working closely with national authorities and non-governmental organizations, the United Nations is implementing mine risk education and victim assistance in more than 40 countries, teaching communities how to live safely in contaminated areas, and assisting survivors with disabilities to obtain access to the full range of services and rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
I thank all who contribute to international mine action. I also commend the 159 States that have agreed to be bound by the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Convention, those that have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war, and the 110 that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
On this International Day, I call for universal adherence to these important treaties and for increased support for mine awareness and mine action. Landmines and explosive remnants of war hamper development and endanger lives. Let’s eliminate them together for a safe sustainable world.