1028 GMT April 10, 2021
In a message on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, marked annually on April 4, Guterres said that more than 160 states are party to the Convention, urging those that have not yet acceded to the convention to do so without delay, according to the UN official website.
“Today, on the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, we reflect on how far we have come in raising awareness of the dangers posed by landmines, and recommit to our target of a mine-free world”, the message read.
Guterres said the landmines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices disproportionally affect the vulnerable, the forcibly displaced, the dispossessed, and children, noting that they impede peaceful solutions, hinder humanitarian responses and are an obstacle to sustainable, inclusive development.
“Unfortunately, we sometimes make progress on clearing mines only to see it rolled back. But we cannot be content simply with advocacy and campaigning to create awareness of the dangers posed by landmines”.
He underlined that the United Nations Charter “calls us to complete the work: to survey, clear and destroy these deadly devices.”
“Let’s make this the last decade when we need to devote ourselves to this task”, he said in his message.
Children are at a higher risk of severe injury and death, as they often mistake the deadly explosives for toys.
James Bond actor Daniel Craig, who is the UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards, also highlighted the dangers.
“One landmine can wreck a community: kill a father, a mother, and all too often a child”, the Hollywood star said.
Craig also said that in addition to new explosive contamination due to ongoing conflicts, there is old contamination in places where fighting stopped decades ago.
For instance, landmines and explosive contamination still pollute wide swaths of Vietnam, where the war officially ended more than 45 years ago, while in Syria the decade-long conflict not only killed thousands and displaced millions, but also resulted in thousands of tons of new contamination.