International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

On 8th December 2005, it was decided by United Nations General Assembly that 4th April of every year will be observed as International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. It aimed at creating national mine action capacities in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war pose a serious threat to civilians with the joint efforts of the United Nations and the countries as well as other relevant organizations.

Theme: The 2022 theme of the United Nations Mine Action Service is “Safe Ground, Safe Steps, Safe Home.”

Safe Ground is the name of the global campaign “turning minefields into playing fields,” It works for creating a safe environment for development by clearing the earth of landmines and other explosive hazards. The campaign was launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2019.

Safe Steps is about the apprehension faced by the civilians when they move around not knowing whether that step would be their last step.

Safe Home aims to restore the personal and communal security of individuals and communities after a conflict has ended.

History: In 1997, Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, commonly known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention was opened for signature. 164 countries ratified to it. On 12 November 2006, the Secretary-General hailed the entry of force of Protocol V on explosive remnants of war from the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. In December 2008, the Convention on Cluster Munitions was opened for signature. This move was welcomed by the Secretary-General. 108 states supported this convention. In 2018, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) convoked and led the drafting of the United Nations Mine Action Strategy 2019-2023.  The strategy had two major aspects – accountability framework for the United Nations System and Theory of Change for the United Nations engagement in mine action.

Since its inception over 20 years ago, UNMAS has attempted to address the needs of affected people as well as the dangers of explosive hazards faced by civilians, peacekeepers, and humanitarian personnel.

Significance: In celebration of International Day for Mine Awareness, people are encouraged to consider providing assistance for mine action efforts, raise awareness of the hazards posed by landmines, and work towards eradicating them.