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|Fourteen-year-old Nicola Kokorus of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who lost his hand in a mine accident, makes a personal plea to world leaders at the Nairobi Summit for a Mine Free World|
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NAIROBI, 6 December 2004 - At the Summit for a Mine Free World, held here on 29 Nov - 4 Dec, UNICEF joined forces with hundreds of international organizations, global leaders and committed individuals, to call for a world free of landmines.
UNICEF’s Executive Director Carol Bellamy addressed the conference, urging nations to join the Mine Ban Treaty.
“One of the characteristics that make landmines so horrific is their indiscriminate nature,” said Ms. Bellamy. “Landmines don’t distinguish between a soldier and a child, or a mother and a military target. Although we call these weapons of war, over 80 per cent of the victims are civilians. Thousands of children around the world have been killed or maimed by landmines.
Fourteen-year-old Nicola Kokorus, a Bosnian who lost his hand in a landmine accident, made a personal plea on behalf of all landmine victims. Nicola described how his life had been profoundly affected by landmines: He lost his right hand at age three when he found a shiny metal object in the yard of his home Bosnia. It was actually a detonator from a landmine, which exploded when he began to play with it.
Nicola addressed his plea to world leaders: “My message to you is to do whatever is in your power to stop the use of landmines, and prevent more children and adults from being injured or killed from mines. Stop the violence, stop wars, and stop people from planting the mines. Allow all children in the world to live carefree lives.”
“Nikola’s story is a testament that the deployment of landmines is by definition an egregious violation of the right of every child to enjoy a safe and happy childhood,” emphasized Ms. Bellamy.
UNICEF is calling on all countries to join the Mine Ban Treaty, which prohibits the use, stockpiling or production of landmines. A total of 143 states have so far ratified the agreement, which became law in 1999. The Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World is the first review of the treaty.