Message of the United Nations Secretary-General on the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, 4 April 2023
For the millions living amidst the chaos of armed conflicts — especially women and children — every step can put them in danger’s path.
Even after the fighting stops, conflicts often leave behind a terrifying legacy: landmines and explosive ordnance that litter communities. Peace brings no assurance of safety when roads and fields are mined, when unexploded ordnance threatens the return of displaced populations, and when children find and play with shiny objects that explode.
The United Nations Mine Action Service gathers partners together to remove these deadly weapons, support national authorities, and ensure safe access to homes, schools, hospitals and farmers’ fields. The Service also supported the design of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the safe export of grain and fertilizer from Ukrainian ports.
Yet, broader global efforts are essential to safeguard people from mines.
I urge Member States to ratify and fully implement the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
On this International Day, let’s take action to end the threat of these devices of death, support communities as they heal, and help people return and re-build their lives in safety and security.
ICBL-CMC Statement on International Mine Awareness Day 2023
New York, 4 April
On Mine Awareness Day, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC) joins the United Nations Mine Action Service, states, and mine action partners in deploring the devastating immediate and enduring consequences of landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of war (ERW).
ICBL-CMC members feature prominently in activities taking place at United Nations Headquarters in New York to mark the event. The “Mine Action Cannot Wait” Symposium includes presentations by Legacies of War, Mines Advisory Group, and Norwegian People’s Aid. An UNMAS hosted multi-media exhibit at the symposium draws on Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor research to highlight the human impact of the weapons and need for adequate mine action support.
This year’s event is focusing on three Southeast Asia countries that have suffered threat from mine and ERW contamination for generations: Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam.
Today the international norm against use of cluster munitions and landmines is strong; more than 120 countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions while more than 80% of all countries in the world have signed onto the Mine Ban Treaty.
However, use of the weapons in conflicts over the past decade, from Syria, to Yemen, Myanmar, and Ukraine, means that civilians in these countries are ever more in danger. In 2021, at least 5,544 people were killed or injured by mines and ERW.
Civilians represented most of the victims recorded, half of whom were children according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor.
Both treaties have made a huge difference for affected communities around the world; making land safe again, providing life-saving risk education, and assistance to victims.
This critical work must be supported and mainstreamed through international cooperation and sustainable funding.
“On Mine Awareness Day, ICBL-CMC is calling for an immediate end to all use of landmines and cluster munitions. We need concrete action by the international community to protect civilians, ensure the rights of survivors, and address the catastrophic humanitarian impact of these weapons,” said Hector Guerra, ICBL-CMC Director. “We call on all states outside the treaties to take steps to join without delay and renounce the weapons.”
ICBL-CMC works for a world free of landmines and cluster munitions where all lives are protected. A world where contaminated land is cleared and returned to local populations for productive use and where the needs of affected communities and survivors are met and their human rights guaranteed.
Watch the Symposium live here
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