Mine Action Day in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo, April 4, 2008 - Together with its partners, UNICEF supports this year's marking of the International Mine Action Day, 4th April.
This day has been commemorated for three years in BiH. The organization and coordination of this international event of great significance for Bosnia and Herzegovina so far has been led by the UNICEF, UNDP, BHMAC, International Red Cross, LSN, ITF and the Ministry for Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, supported by the Council of Ministers. This year, the support was also granted by the Football Federation of BiH, Kurt & Plasto, BHT, FTV, RTRS, HT Eronet and m:tel.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the most mine-contaminated country in Europe. It has been estimated that 3,7% of the country’s territory is still under mines. A mine presence study in BiH conducted last year has identified 1,631 communities that face mine threats. The contaminated locations directly affect security of over 900,000 people, which makes Bosnia and Herzegovina one of the most mine affected countries in the world hindering its development and secure life of its citizens.
Since 1996 until today, there were 1,611 mine accidents – out of which 473 people have died. Last year there were 30 victims, eight of them died. Since the beginning of 2008 until today, mines killed two and injured three persons. Annual costs of the demining process in BiH are very high. The estimation says that a successful mine clearance in BiH – implementable in the next 10 years – will take around 80 million BAM annually. Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have such funds, so it depends upon foreign donors for final completion of the task. Hence, this year’s 4th April will focus on allocation of resources for mine action through opening of the humanitarian telephone lines by m:tel, HT Eronet and BH Telecom.
The process should also be joined by citizens, public and private companies, media as well as other stakeholders and subjects willing to contribute. Thanks to the good cooperation with the International Trust Fund (ITF) from Slovenia, the resources collected through this action will be matched by the ITF, which will hopefully initiate more people to join the action and give their contribution to final mine clearance in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The phone numbers for citizens’ contribution to demining are: for m:tel – 1413; for HT Eronet – 092 800 850; for BH Telecom – 090 290 004.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.