By Peace Post Staff/ Images: United Nations
“Peace without mine action is incomplete peace,” says United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. In remembering April 4 as International Mine Awareness Day, the United Nations called for this year to be “Needs driven” and “People Centered.”
Secretary-General António Guterres further noted, “I urge all Member States to keep this issue at the top of international agenda when negotiating peace, when seeking to prevent harm during conflicts, and when deploying emergency humanitarian responses in war zones.”
This year they brought it actor Daniel Craig to deliver a special message.
Through the United Nations Mine Actions Service (UNMAS) they have been working towards eradicating the dangers of mines since 2005.
The U.N. stated, “It called for continued efforts by States, with the assistance of the United Nations and relevant organizations, to foster the establishment and development of national mine-action capacities in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war constitute a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of the civilian population, or an impediment to social and economic development at the national and local levels”.
Moreover, they stated that, “For 20 years, the work of UNMAS has been driven by the needs of affected people and tailored to the threat of explosive hazards faced by civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarians. UNMAS works to save lives, to facilitate deployment of UN missions and the delivery of humanitarian assistance, to protect civilians, to support the voluntary return of the internally displaced and refugees, to enable humanitarian and recovery activities and to advocate for international humanitarian and human rights law.”
Secretary-General António Guterres further stated, “ Most disturbingly, many warring parties shamelessly target civilians and show a flagrant disregard for international humanitarian law. Improvised explosive devices are killing and injuring thousands of civilians annually. These pernicious devices are hidden in homes and schools, terrorizing local populations.”
He continued, “Over the past twenty years, the United Nations and its partners have cleared vast areas of land contaminated by landmines and explosive remnants of war. Land that was once dangerous and unproductive has been returned to citizens, enabling them to rebuild their communities. The removal of landmines from roads and airstrips has facilitated humanitarian access to people in need.”
He further stated, “The United Nations has provided medical assistance to victims, and educated millions of people on how to live safely during or in the immediate aftermath of conflict. We have also trained and employed thousands of men and women in mine action jobs that support and sustain peace. I thank the brave women and men working in mine action for their life-saving work. I commend the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action for its needs-driven, people centered approach. And I applaud the United Nations Mine Action Service, now in its 20th year, for its leadership, courage and commitment to peace.”
He added, “Mine action establishes the foundations for lasting recovery and development. No one should have to live in fear of dying even after the fighting stops.”