The United Nations‘ International Mine Awareness Day and Assistance in Mine Action are observed on April 4 each year. The day aims to create awareness about landmines, harmful effects of explosive remnants of war among people, call on those states that have not signed the treaty and mobilise resources to help the countries affected. General Assembly decided of celebrating Mine Awareness Day on December 8, 2005. Actor Daniel Craig on April 15, was appointed as the first UN Global Advocate for eliminating Mines and explosive hazards. Million of landmines in various parts of the world is continuously taking innocent lives. The vital objective of the United Nations is to create a world free from deadly weapons.
The government and Civil Society created the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, which includes prohibition in use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and provides for their destruction. Over 169 countries signed the treaty, which has brought a dramatic reduction in the use of landmines, but there is still a long way to go. Mines are still present in over 60 countries which are threatening the lives of millions of people. For over 20 years, United Nations Mine Action Service ( UNMAS) has been driven by the needs of the affected and tailored to the threat of hazards faced by civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarians. UNMAS works to save the life of people, deliver humanitarian assistance, and protect civilians.
Mine Action Community, led by UNMAS, has stated the activities to raise awareness for mine action work.
In 2020, despite the pandemic:
- Thousands of explosive were found and destroyed.
- Hundreds of thousands of square metres of land were made safe and put to productive use.
- Millions of people living in contaminated areas were provided with explosive ordnance risk education.
Theme Of International Mine Awareness Day For 2021:
This year Perseverance, Partnership and Progress is the theme of International Mine Awareness Day. This year, the UN has laid focus to advance the work so that they form new partnerships. According to the UN, this year will require perseverance as work will continue, and many landmines and explosive ordnance will be cleared. On the other hand, the world needs to be free from landmines’ threat; thus, welfare needs to be made.
Threats Due To Landmines:
Iraq is the most contaminated countries in the world due to landmines and unexploded ordinance. “Landmines and unexploded ordinance continue to affect Iraqis terribly, restricting their access to essential services and maiming and killing them”, said Mr Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq.
More than 1730 square kilometres of land in Iraq are contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordinance; it has affected 1.6 million Iraqis in around 4000 communities across the country. One million children are affected due to landmines, hundreds of people were killed, and a twelve-year-old boy lost one eye and both hands from a munition that exploded. Landmine incident affects the entire population in the countries. According to the Landmine Monitor report of 2010, women account for around 16 per cent of the total number of civilian landmine casualties. In some areas, the percentage is even higher.
According to UN sources, over 6.3 million people reside in areas where landmine related activities have been frequently recorded. Surveys have reported that the presence of landmines is one of the significant threats among the local population. According to UNICEF estimates, landmines are said to be killing at least 800 people a month. These terminal devices have exploded under more than one million people since 1975.
Types Of Landmines:
Two types of landmines are used during conflicts.
- Anti-personnel mine is the most lethal and explodes with gentle pressure.
- An Anti-tank mine is designed to damage vehicles, including tanks and fighting vehicles.
International Mine Awareness Day raises awareness about the threat caused by landmines to civilian populations’ safety, health, and lives. It encourages the State Government to develop mine-clearing programmes.