DPKO | UNMAS
The theme of this year’s International Mine Action Day is "More than Mines", which raises the question - why? Does this mean that landmines are no longer a problem and we can move onto other issues?
Sadly, this is not the case. In fact, a staggering 56 countries and four other territories are still confirmed to be mine-affected. And these mines remain deadly - thousands of men, women, boys and girls are killed or injured every year. It is vital to keep working on removing these landmines and fulfilling the goals of International law, such as the Mine Ban Treaty.
But landmines are not the only explosive hazards that pose a danger to civilians living in conflict and post-conflict settings. Unexploded bombs, grenades, unsecured weapons and ammunition and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) also kill, injure and block access to healthcare, education and development. In Afghanistan, IEDs now kill ten times more civilians than landmines.
The nature of conflict has also changed, with an increased role of non-state actors and fewer stable peace agreements creating a more complex –and dangerous- environment for humanitarian workers.
"More than Mines" highlights the changes that are taking place in the world and how the United Nations and its civil society partners working in mine action have adapted to meet today’s challenges. The adaptation is crucial to keep humanitarian priorities central and respond to the needs of the people and countries afflicted by warfare.
To see what this means in real life, check out this new video from UNMAS on Côte d’Ivoire, where the United Nations worked with the National Authorities to make the country safer through better management of its weapons and ammunition.
Overview of the video - Unstable ammunition and weapons storage areas pose a threat to civilians in many countries around the world. UNMAS uses its expertise to mitigate this threat in the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Libya, Mali and South Sudan. By managing weapons and ammunitions, either destroying or safely storing it, the United Nations builds security and protects civilians.