International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

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Abyei - 3 April 2017: On 8 December 2005, the UN General Assembly declared 4 April of each year as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

In a press release, issued 31 March 2017, the UN Secretary General, Mr António Gueterres, underlines that peace is incomplete as long the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war remains:

Peace without mine action is incomplete peace. I urge all Member States to keep this issue at the top of the international agenda when negotiating peace, when seeking to prevent harm during conflicts and when deploying emergency humanitarian responses in war zones. Mine action establishes the foundations for lasting recovery and development. No one should have to live in fear of dying even after the fighting stops.”

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), is the coordinator for mine action within the United Nations system.

UNMAS was deployed in support of UNISFA in December 2011, following a mine incident in August 2011, which killed four UNISFA peacekeepers and injured seven others. Since UNMAS deployment, no UNISFA personnel has fallen victim to either landmines or explosive remnants of war (ERW), and a substantial amount of work has been done to rid the Abyei area of the threat of ERW and landmines.

In celebration of this important day, UNISFA has organised events in Abyei, Kadugli, and Gok Machar. These events include fun runs, a football match and static exhibitions of the work UNMAS is doing in support of the UNISFA mandate.

Facts and figures

Since 2011:

·         18 mines and 3,942 explosive remnants of war destroyed.

·         2,034,250 square meters of land deemed safe from explosive hazard threats, facilitating safe voluntary returns of displaced communities and peaceful migrations.

·         UNISFA routes covering a distance of 1,060 kilometres verified and cleared from explosive hazards, enhancing UNISFA freedom of movement and the safe delivery of humanitarian aid.

·         125 weapons and 8,155 rounds of ammunition confiscated by UNISFA destroyed at the Weapons and Ammunition Management facility, in cooperation with UNPOL and national monitors from Sudan and South Sudan.

·         Additional 25,000 rounds of ammunition found and destroyed by Integrated Clearance Teams, as they survey Abyei and act on reports by locals and community members.

·         Mine risk education (MRE) has so far reached over 90,500 men, women, boys, and girls in Abyei, enhancing their knowledge of threats posed by mines and explosive remnants of war.

 

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For more information, contact:

Rosangela de Jesus das Neves, UNMAS Associate Programme Officer, rosangeladn@unops.org

Christina Banluta, UNISFA Public Information Officer, banluta@un.org