Afghanistan

Afghanistan: UNMACA, Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Education have signed a MoU for victim assistance and mine risk education activities

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Kabul: June 11th, 2007. On June 9th, the United Nations Mine Action Center (UNMACA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Ministry of Education (MoEd).

To ensure that Afghanistan fulfils its obligation of the Ottawa Convention (1), UNMACA is working with the Government towards national ownership and implementation of victim assistance and mine risk education programme activities.

The agreement with Ministry of Public Health was signed in support to the integration of disabilities issues into public health services. A Disability Unit has been established within the Ministry for the implementation and incorporation of health and physical rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities including landmine survivors.

In accordance to the second agreement, UNMACA will support the Ministry of Education to develop and implement an awareness raising strategy for the reduction of the risk of landmines within schools and communities. Technical assistance will be provided to MoEd for the implementation of mine risk education and victim assistance through prevention, advocacy and awareness raising activities that will provide risk education information to communities and in particular among children, encouraging safe behaviours and promoting inclusive education for children with disabilities.

Victim/Disability Assistance and Mine Risk Education programming in Afghanistan have embraced methodologies for prevention, advocacy and awareness raising activities that will ensure risk reduction within communities, inclusive programme opportunities and equal rights for all people with disabilities. With specific goals of:

- Prevention: lessen preventable disabilities through education, public health and safety mechanism and mass communications in particular Mine Risk Education.

- Awareness Raising: raise awareness with regards to disability and the challenges faced by people with disability including the barriers to inclusion and participation in all sectors of Afghan society.

- Advocacy: advocate for rights based and inclusive programme development and implementation through national policy development, legislation, and technical assistance.

UNMACA will support the Ministries and the Disability Unit through technical assistance to implement prevention, awareness and advocacy initiatives throughout the country.

The United Nations Mine Action Center for Afghanistan (UNMACA) has been coordinating the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA) activities' such as survey, mine clearance, battlefield clearance, mine awareness, and supporting mine victims throughout the country since 1989. The programme has cleared more than one billion square meters area, destroyed more than 323,000 anti personnel, 18,500 antitank mines and more than seven million pieces of unexploded ordnance. Afghanistan became a State Party to the Ottawa Convention in March 2003 and committed to clearing all minefields in the country by 2013.

Note to the press release

(1) Afghanistan became the 126th member of the Ottawa Convention or Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction in March 2003. Becoming a State Party, Afghanistan has committed to:

- Clearing all known minefields in Afghanistan by 2013;

- Destroying all known stockpiled anti-personnel mines in Afghanistan by 2007;

- Providing mine risk education to the Afghan people; and

- Assisting those who have been injured by mines and UXO.

Media Contact:

Ahmad Jan Nawzadi
Public Information Officer
Mobile: 0700 227417
Email: nawzadi@unmaca.org