International Mine Awareness Day
4 April, 2021
Landmines are called the perfect soldiers because they can lie hidden for years after a conflict until triggered by a victim to explode. Laid in strategic areas by parties at war to protect military position and important infrastructure, or to deny access to enemy forces, they are also used to terrorise civilian populations. Innocent civilians and regular vehicles, such as cars and trucks can indiscriminately become victims of these explosive weapons. In addition to landmines, explosive remnants of war (ERW) are also left behind after a conflict. These include bombs, rockets, grenades, mortars and other types of explosive weapons which have failed to explode when fired or on impact, or that have been left behind. Landmines and ERWs have an impact on people’s lives and limbs; and the fear of their presence prevents use of productive agricultural land, the rebuilding of important infrastructure and blocks access to vital resources and economic markets. 164 countries have ratified or acceded to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, commonly known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention opened for signature in 1997. Established in 2005, International Mine Awareness Day is towards the establishment and development of national mine-action capacities in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war constitute a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of the civilian population, or an impediment to social and economic development at national and local levels.