Eliminating the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war is a crucially important endeavour that advances peace, enables development, supports nations in transition and saves lives.
The United Nations continues to provide wide-ranging assistance to millions of people in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Colombia, Laos, Lebanon, South Sudan and elsewhere. But more progress is needed, and new frontiers for action have emerged, most notably in Syria and Mali, where the devastating humanitarian impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is growing.
I am encouraged that 161 Member States have agreed to be bound by the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention of 1997. In addition, 111 have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and 81 States have consented to be bound by Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. 127 nations have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
I call for universal adherence to these important treaties.
United Nations mine action programmes continue to create space for humanitarian relief efforts, peace operations and development initiatives, allowing UN staff to deploy and refugees and internally displaced persons to return voluntarily to their homes. The United Nations 2013-2018 Strategy on Mine Action sets out a series of steps towards a safer world where individuals and communities can pursue socio-economic development and where survivors are treated as equal members of their societies.
The United Nations is strongly committed to mine awareness and mine action throughout the world. On this International Day, we reaffirm our commitment to a world free from the threat of mines and other remnants of war.