International Mine Awareness Day tomorrow

DHAKA, April 3, 2017 (BSS) - International Mine Awareness Day will be observed tomorrow with the theme "Needs driven, People Centred".

On December 8, 2005, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared that April 4 of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

"Peace without mine action is incomplete peace," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today said in a message on the eve of the day.

He urged all member states to keep the issue at the top of the international agenda when negotiating peace, seeking to prevent harm during conflicts and deploying emergency humanitarian responses in war zones.

"In today's world, conflicts are multiplying and increasingly interlinked. Most disturbingly, many warring parties shamelessly target civilians and show a flagrant disregard for international humanitarian law," he said.

The UN secretary general said improvised explosive devices are killing and injuring thousands of civilians annually. These pernicious devices are hidden in homes and schools, terrorizing local populations, he added.

"Over the past 20-year, the UN and its partners have cleared vast areas of land contaminated by landmines and explosive remnants of war," he said, adding that land that was once dangerous and unproductive has been returned to citizens, enabling them to rebuild their communities.

Guterres said the removal of landmines from roads and airstrips has facilitated humanitarian access to people in need.

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, he added.

"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," the UN Secretary-General said.

He commended the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action for its needs-driven, people centred approach.

Antonio Guterres also applauded the United Nations Mine Action Service, now in its 20th year, for its leadership, courage and commitment to peace.

"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," he said.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)