Mines and explosive remnants of war maim and kill thousands of people every year. These explosive hazards result in girls, boys, women, and men acquiring debilitating injuries that often have long-term consequences for their families and communities. Casualties have been rising over the past few years, as people in conflicts zones face an unprecedented array of deadly explosive hazards, that range from improvised explosive devices, to unexploded cluster munitions, bombs, shells, mortars, rockets, and landmines.
Since its establishment in 1997, UNMAS has led humanitarian mine action in conflict and post conflict settings. Mine action has always gone beyond clearance activities and land release. Critically, it has included sensitizing affected populations to the risks posed by explosive hazards and ensuring that assistance is provided to victims, their families and communities.
Mine-risk education involves specialized and highly-targeted campaigns that are incorporated into all UNMAS programmes. Their purpose is to reduce the risk of injury from explosive hazards by raising awareness and promoting behavioural change. Risk education efforts in 2016 impacted over 4,300,000 people in 18 mine-affected countries and territories around the world. In this photograph from March 2016, a girl in Côte d’Ivoire is pictured learning about the risk of explosive hazards in her community.
As we celebrate 20 years since the adoption of the Ottawa Convention, there will be an exhibit on mine action at the Palais des Nations from 21 June to 7 July (Salle des Pas Perdus). For more information on UNMAS: www.unmas.org