Baghdad, 10 December 2017 - The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the Directorate of Mine Action (DMA), and the Embassy of Canada to Iraq, celebrated the signing of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention twenty years ago, through a special photo exhibit of photographs from Mosul and beyond showcasing the clearance work undertaken by mine action operators.
The photos reflect the human stories behind the destruction and now recovery of Mosul. One storyline follows a mechanic and a technician at a water treatment plant and how mine action operators cleared the facility of explosive hazards which allowed for the rehabilitation of the facility, which provides water to over 500,000 people and employs 75. Another illustrates life on campus at Mosul University, which recently reopened after being cleared of explosive hazards by mine action operators, with photographers showing students attending classes and socializing despite the destruction.
Photos for the exhibit, which was held on 3 December, were provided by the Directorate of Mine Action, Baghdad Organization, Handicap International, iMMAP, Mines Advisory Group, Norwegian Peoples Aid and Optima Group to highlight their work across Iraq carrying out risk education, victim assistance, demining, and other clearance activities. The photos also highlighted the need for the significant resources required to continue this critical work.
Twenty years ago, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, commonly known as the “Ottawa Treaty” or “Mine Ban Treaty”, opened for signature. Before the Treaty, anti-personnel landmines had been used by armed forces across the world, causing tens of thousands of civilian casualties a year and threatening the lives, limbs and livelihood of people who could not safely access land, buildings and natural resources.
The Republic of Iraq acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 15 August 2007, becoming a State Party on 1 February 2008. Iraq ranks among the world’s most heavily landmine-affected countries. Contamination left from past has been intensified by new explosive contamination, specifically improvised explosive devices. The Directorate of Mine Action and UNMAS, together with local security sector services, NGOs, and commercial partners, are supporting people to return home safely and through clearance of explosive hazards, enabling the rehabilitation of critical services such as hospitals, water treatment plants and schools in areas recently retaken from ISIL.
Mr Andrew Turner, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Canada to Iraq, and special guest to this event given Canada’s instrumental role in the Treaty, stated: “For Canada, mine action is essential to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals, as it underpins peace and stabilization efforts, and the delivery of humanitarian assistance – two of the main pillars of Canada’s engagement in Iraq."
Contact Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Programme, Senior Programme Manager firstname.lastname@example.org