International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action
Today mark’s International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action and is a reminder to the global community that landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war continue to maim and kill thousands of people around the world.
These explosive remnants of war are an enduring legacy of conflict, and contaminate more than 70 countries, and kill and injure more than 4,000 people each year, including children. They contaminate farmer’s fields, forests, roads, pathways depriving people of agricultural land and essential services.
Under the Mine Action Strategy for the Australian Aid Program 2010-2014, Australia has met its $100 million commitment to mine action two years ahead of schedule. We have helped improved the quality of life for victims, reduced the number of deaths and injuries from these devices, and enhanced the capabilities of countries to manage their mine action programs.
In 2011, Australia’s assistance to Laos contributed to the release of nearly 3,000 hectares of land, which benefitted nearly half-a-million people.
Australia’s long-term contributions to mine action in Cambodia have helped reduce the national casualties from 4,300 in 1996 to 185 in 2012.
Last year, we helped Jordan, Guinea Bissau and Uganda to become mine free, and we are helping Mozambique, one of the worlds most contaminated countries, become mine free by 2014.
Australia’s support to demining in Sri Lanka has made a major contribution to the rapid clearing of over 550 square kilometres in the north and north east over the last three years, allowing the safe resettlement of displaced populations.
In Libya, Australia supported emergency mine clearance following the 2011 conflict, contributing to the clearance of over 125,000 pieces of ordnance, and education of over 46,000 people on the risks of unexploded ordnance.
And in Afghanistan Australia has helped train 1,600 teachers to deliver mine risk education, as well as provided mine risk education to 348,000 at-risk Afghans.
Mine action is not just about demining, it is about reducing the risk from landmines and explosive remnants of war.
Mine Action helps people live safely, address the needs of victims, and assists with socio-economic development.