A New Photo Information Exhibition “Mines Are Hurting Children” Opened in Moscow
A two-week photo exhibition “Mines are Hurting Children” opened today at the State Museum of Contemporary History of Russia (21, Tverskaya Street). It has been prepared by UNICEF and supported by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO).
The exhibition is devoted to children who have been killed or injured by mines and other unexploded ordnance in Chechnya over the last 10 years. It presents photographs and information on the efforts of the humanitarian community to minimize the impact of mines on civilian population. The exhibition will be free of charge and open to the public from 7 till 18 December 2005.
At the opening ceremony of the exhibition UNICEF Representative to Russia and Belarus Mr. Carel de Rooy said: “UNICEF with ECHO and other donor support, and with the Government of Chechnya, has contributed to an 82% decrease in the yearly number of children killed or wounded by mines and UXO in Chechnya: from 41 in 2003 to 7 in 2005. Despite this important result, the danger of mines and UXO continues to linger over the daily lives of children in the republic. Only the complete clearance of mines from the territory can address this unacceptable situation and free Chechnya's children of this threat. Our hope is that the Government of the Russian Federation will promptly take action and fulfill this goal”.
Deputy Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Mr. Paul Vandoren stressed that “the European Commission has a clear objective in the area of anti-personnel landmines. It is defined in the European Roadmap towards 'Zero Victim Target'. The European Commission is committed to strengthening international assistance and supporting various programmes of partners worldwide.”
Although the situation in Chechnya has stabilized in the last few years, many civilians still continue to suffer extreme mental and physical trauma, and even death, from the wounds cause by landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). During recent years, UNICEF has registered over 3,000 people in the Republic as mine/UXO victims. Of these, over 600 children have been injured and 132 killed.
The only way to solve the problem is to undertake the complete clearance of all mines/unexploded devices in the Republic. UNICEF and the European Commission share a commitment to actively advocate for the global ban of anti-personnel mines and the ratification of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.
The advocacy efforts of UNICEF and its partners include raising awareness among both the child and adult population about the dangers of mines and UXO, so that they can keep themselves safe from these weapons. Mine risk education programme has brought tangible results, in that the annual number of new mine/unexploded devices incidents in Chechnya has been steadily decreasing since 2003. A comprehensive programme to assist mine survivors is in place, and conditions are being created for the social reintegration of mine-affected children through the provision of physical rehabilitation, psychosocial assistance and vocational training opportunities.
Providing information through mass media and organizing events such as this photo exhibition are part of these advocacy efforts.
Click HERE to read the Russian version.