Thursday, April 5, 2007

Mine Menace

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines won the Noble Peace Prize in 1997. There are 80 countries which are affected to some degree by landmines and unexploded ordnance according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. 153 countries have signed the International campaign to Ban Landmines. And at least 40 countries have not signed the treaty to ban landmines.

There are 15,000 people either killed or disabled yearly due to mines. The number people got killed or disabled in early 1990s were 25,000. More than 160 million mines are stockpiled all over the world according to the recent reports. United Nations Mine Action Day was observed for the first time on April 4th 2006.

“This day is a reminder that millions of people in nearly 80 countries still live in fear of landmines and explosive remnants of war,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, at a United Nations event marking the awareness day. “They take unacceptable toll on lives and limbs. They wreak havoc on people’s livelihoods. They block access to land, road and basic services”, he said.

In Nepal, another nation littered with the menace, special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Nepal Ian Martin said, greater awareness in the community is essential - “to prevent further loss of life and injury due to the remnants of war”.

This year’s United Nations Mine Action Day was observed on April 4th in Sri Lanka with various awareness activities.

Unexploded ordnance (UXOs) removal is occurring in several parts of Sri Lanka.

Vakarai and villages nearby in the littoral East is one such place. Visit through there shows the prevailing dangers and hidden hazards from the menace of mines.

In commemorating the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, the area reinforces the attention and focus needed towards the eradication of mines: