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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — In a message commemorating the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, marked annually on April 4, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on all nations that have not yet acceded to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention to do so without delay.
Having opened for signature in 1997, over 160 states are now parties to the treaty, formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.
"We sometimes make progress on clearing mines only to see it rolled back," Guterres said, stressing that "we cannot be content simply with advocacy and campaigning to create awareness of the dangers posed by landmines."
Last year, the United Nations mine action community stepped-up to the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector continued to deliver results, fulfilling obligations, surveying, clearing, training, and eradicating the threat of landmines and explosive ordnance.
The United Nations system advanced its work to mitigate the threat of improvised explosive devices and strengthened and built new partnerships.
In 2021 the COVID-19 challenges will require perseverance. Work will continue, landmines and explosive ordnance will be cleared, exit strategies and capacity development of national partners will carry on. The mine action community will continue to adapt.
The United Nations will ensure to carry forward progress towards a world free from the threat of landmines and unexploded ordnance.
On Dec. 8, 2005, the General Assembly declared that April 4 of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
It called for continued efforts by states, with the assistance of the United Nations and relevant organizations, to foster 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 the national and local levels.
For over 20 years, the work of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has been driven by the needs of affected people and tailored to the threat of explosive hazards faced by civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarians.
UNMAS works to save lives, to facilitate deployment of UN missions and the delivery of humanitarian assistance, to protect civilians, to support the voluntary return of the internally displaced and refugees, to enable humanitarian and recovery activities and to advocate for international humanitarian and human rights law.
The United Nations advocates for the universalization of existing legal frameworks and encourages member states to expand those regimes and develop new international instruments to protect civilians from the scourges of landmines and explosive remnants of war.
It undertakes this work in collaboration with interested states, civil society, mine action and international organizations.
In April 2015, the UN Secretary-General designated the renowned actor Daniel Craig as the first UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards.
As the Global Advocate, Craig supports the UN secretary-general by engaging in public advocacy to promote the vision of the United Nations to achieve a world free of the threat of mines and explosive hazards and to assist in mobilizing resources for the UN Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action. — Agencies
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