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On Mine Awareness Day, reflections on progress and challenges for a mine free world

Today, on International Mine Awareness Action Day, let us celebrate the progress made and reflect on the challenges that lie ahead, along the road towards a world where every step taken is free from the threat of mines and other explosive ordnance.

Posted on 04 Apr 2024

The impact of Explosive Ordnance reaches far beyond the immediate violent conflict, posing a significant and indiscriminate threat to civilian populations long after the end of hostilities. Aside from causing death, injury and displacement, explosive ordnance restrict access to agricultural land and resettlement, as well as hinder post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts.

The multifaceted challenge of mines and Explosive Ordnance therefore demands a multi-sectoral integrated approach, to support the recovery of affected communities. DRC’s Mine Action has an approach based on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus.

Investing in land release, victim assistance, and Explosive Ordnance Risk Education not only saves lives and alleviates human suffering but also contributes to long-term development by enabling the return of displaced populations and revitalizing economies. By reducing the risk of Explosive Ordnance-related accidents and promoting safety and human security, Mine Action efforts contribute to the broader goal of sustaining peace.

In 2023, DRC's Disarmament teams:

  • released 16 973 959 m2 of land, which is equivalent to approximately 2 377 football pitches
  • hosted 45 970 educational sessions on the risks posed by Explosive Ordnance (EO) and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), to a total of 770 986 people, of whom 43% were women and girls
  • removed or destroyed 7 669 dangerous items, including Anti-personnel and Anti-vehicle mines, Submunitions, Unexploded and Abandoned ordnance and IEDs
  • assisted EO survivors and indirect victims in Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Yemen, and Ukraine through HDP specific initiatives as well as joint efforts with DRC Protection and Economic Recovery teams.

In addition to joining forces with other DRC core sectors, DRC teams aim to further strengthen our impact through localization.

Close cooperation with national mine action authorities and national HMA operators not only enhances the effectiveness and sustainability of humanitarian mine action programmes but also fosters ownership, resilience and empowerment of communities affected by mines and other EO.

DRC recommendations

Ahead of the fifth review conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and at a time marked by the eruption of new violent conflicts, new appalling use of landmines and cluster munitions and the persistent threat of further escalations.

  1. DRC condemns any use at any time by any actors and call on Denmark and all states parties to firmly condemn any use of these indiscriminate weapons.
  2. DRC calls on the international community to guarantee adequate technical and financial support to country affected by EO, according to their humanitarian needs.
  3. DRC calls on the mine action sector to give the space to women, youth and local voices to ensure an inclusive mine action response.
  4. DRC stresses that, as much as EO contamination has a long-term impact, mine action can reverse this and pave the way for development and peace.
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