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UNICEF Representative Dr. Ayman Abu Laban's open letter to BiH political parties

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4 April, Mine Action Day

© BIH Mine Action Center 2005

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 4 April the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. This important Day will be marked in BiH as well, involving two UN agencies (UNDP and UNICEF), the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mine Action Centre.

The United Nations family in Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with  the global mine action community marks this day to draw more attention to the problem of landmines and explosive remnants of war, and underscores the commitment of the United Nations to strengthen its response in this area.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the most mine-affected country in Europe, with estimated 1.3 million people, roughly one third of the population, living in 1,366 mine-impacted communities. Almost five thousand people were killed or injured by mines; of which 1,520 since the end of the war.  UN family regards mines and unexploded ordnance as a major threat to people's "right to life, liberty and security of person," enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Although mine clearance is ongoing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it will be many years before the country is free from land-mine and unexploded ordnance contamination. 

© UNICEF BIH

The organizers of the Mine Action Day activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely UNICEF, UNDP, Ministry of Civil Affairs and BH Mine Action Center hope that the Mine Action Day will prolong the advocacy efforts to sustain public and donor interest for mine action, because the imminent problem of landmines can be solved within a matter of years - not decades - but continued donor support is and will be essential to achieve this goal.

On Mine Action Day, 4th April 2006 a series of events, media appearances, outreach activities on the streets and mine risk education activities for children are planned. Throughout Sarajevo, on the Mine Action Day itself, a number of Red Cross volunteers will distribute promotion materials, advocating together with the UN, the importance of Mine Action in BiH. New mine clearance site in Brcko DC will be announced on 10 April, and the annual Exhibition of the landmines Survivors’ Art Work will be held in Gallery Sarajevo from 18 to 31 April 2006. 

The vision that stands behind the Mine Action Day activities is of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a mine-safe country, in which individuals and communities will live safely; a country that will be a peaceful place for its citizens, providing mine victims with all necessary care and integrating them fully in wider society.

 

 

 

 

Speech by Ms. Helena Eversole

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