INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR LANDMINE AWARENESS
Every year on April 4th, International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action seeks to raise awareness about landmines and the dangers they pose. It’s also a day to discuss the importance of eradicating landmines.
Every year many lives are lost due to hidden underground dangers. These hidden dangers are called landmines. Though these landmines were buried decades ago, they continue to cause death and destruction. According to statistics from UNICEF, landmines kill or injure up to 20,000 people a year. One out of five landmine victims are children.
Thankfully, many countries recognize the danger of landmines. They have worked hard to eradicate them. Clearing landmines, however, takes a long time. One of the reasons eradicating landmines has taken so long is the expense. In just one year, the cost of clearing landmines reached over $680 million. Another reason it takes so long to clear landmines is the sheer number of them. Throughout the world, 58 countries still have landmines. In Vietnam alone, there are 3 million landmines hidden underground.
HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalDayForMineAwareness
On this day, countries around the world disseminate information on the importance of landmine eradication. Many organizations and human rights groups gather statistics on the destruction that landmines cause. Those who have been injured by landmines are encouraged to share their story. Some countries host marathons and marches to bring attention to the survivors of landmine accidents. There are also many events at the United Nations Headquarters. These events include special speakers, ceremonies, live interviews, and panel discussions.
To help spread awareness for this day, use #InternationalDayForMineAwareness on social media.
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR MINE AWARENESS AND ASSISTANCE IN MINE ACTION HISTORY
On September 18, 1997, during the Oslo Conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada and Foreign Minister of Norway called for a total ban of anti-personnel landmines. To date, the Convention has been signed by 164 State parties. Also in 1997, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) was formed to help eliminate the threat posed by mines. On December 8, 2005 the United Nations General Assembly declared that April 4th would be observed as International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. The first official observance was held on April 4th, 2006.