By Chris Niles
NEW YORK, 25 March 2011 – UNICEF has released a new public service announcement (PSA) about the dangers posed by landmines.
|VIDEO: Watch UNICEF's new PSA on anti-landmine awareness, created and developed by Bolt-On.Corp, a London-based production company. Watch in RealPlayer|
Produced by London-based production company Bolt-On.Corp, it is being launched to coincide with the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on 4 April.
The day emphasizes that landmines and other unexploded devices – known as unexploded ordnance, or UXO – are unique because their destructiveness is indiscriminate and long outlasts the conflicts in which they are used. They are particularly dangerous for children.
‘An unjust threat’
“I have always felt strongly about the issue of landmines,” said Bolt-On.Corp Creative Director Charles H. Joslain.
“They are such an unjust threat to innocent lives, but also such an unproductive weapon, that they simply do not make one bit of sense, and I find their existence and use to this day nothing less than absurd.”
|Tayyab, 5, outside his home in Sadra Sharif, Dera Ismail Khan District, Pakistan. Tayyab lost a leg to a landmine explosion. A new video sport has been being launched to coincide with the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on April 4th.|
Bolt-On.Corp created and developed the concept for the advertising initiative and approached UNICEF to distribute it.
“We did consider launching an online campaign ourselves, but it quickly appeared clear to us to leave that difficult task up to the real professionals,” Mr. Joslain went on. “UNICEF was, of course, the best partner we could have hoped for.”
UNICEF works with partners in about 30 mine-affected countries, educating children of their dangers and helping families who’ve had children injured in blasts.
For example, in Lao PDR – the most bombed country per capita in history – UNICEF is planning to mark the day through a number of activities. UXO survivors are attending workshops on advocacy in Vientiane Capital and will be given the opportunity to speak at a special event on 4 April, to be held at the National University of Laos stadium.
|© UNICEF Cambodia/2004/Thomas|
|A girl holds a poster showing different signs that warn of the presence of landmines, at Boeng Prolith Primary School in Cambodia. She is part of a team that visits schools to raise awareness of landmines.|
At the event they will also have a chance to raise awareness among the university students there, many of whom are from provinces affected by cluster munitions or UXO but know little about them.
The survivors will also visit the office of the National Regulatory Authority for UXO and the COPE Centre at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Vientiane.
Spread the message
Landmines violate nearly all the articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They severely disrupt economic activity, halt rebuilding after conflict and lead to increased food security because farming and irrigation are prevented.
“We now only wish that our work will spread a just message and help make western audiences more conscious of the horrible threat hidden under the feet of innocent civilians in so many places throughout the world,” added Mr. Joslain.