Since 2005, 4 April has been the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
In 2022 the United Nations Mine Action Service marks the Day under the theme “Safe Ground, Safe Steps, Safe Home.” The focus of the observance is on the impressive achievements of the global mine action community, starting with the work of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) – founded in 1992 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 - as well as on the achievements of UN Member States in the period since the Mine Ban Convention came into force in 1999, and on highlighting the work that remains to be completed.
“Safe Ground” is the name of the global campaign “turning minefields into playing fields,” which was launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2019, and the concept of clearing the Earth of landmines and other explosive hazards to make it safe for development.
“Safe Steps” brings attention to the trepidation that too many people experience when they move about, not knowing if they will detonate an explosive that could maim or kill them at any moment. “Safe Steps” also describes the procedures that deminers use when approaching contaminated areas and includes application of new technology to safely removing explosive hazards.
“Safe Home” is about restoring the personal security of individuals and communities in post-conflict settings. There is no place like home, and it is difficult to feel at home without security and community.
Events at UNHQ
A number of events took place to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
On Thursday 7 April 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. (EST) UNMAS and The HALO Trust held an event on Afghanistan and Iraq
Opportunities and challenges: humanitarian mine action in Afghanistan and Iraq. This event examined contrasting UN responses. In Iraq, we took stock of increased localization efforts through the partnership model and examine progress made on gender mainstreaming. Looking at the Afghanistan context, we explored the criticality of mine action rapid response, survey and risk education to faciliate the delivery of humanitarian aid. The UNMAS Chiefs of Programmes from Afghanistan and Iraq delivered remarks. The event is organized in partnership with The HALO Trust and the Health and Social Care Organization in Iraq (IHSCO).
4 April 2022
Noon Briefing of Spokesperson of the Secretary-General
4 April from 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. (EST)
The leadership of UNMAS and other guests attended the Noon Briefing of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General.
The briefing was broadcast on UN Web TV. See it through this link: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k19/k19gbwobnl
Mine Action Symposium
4 April from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (EST)
UNMAS held the first ever Mine Action Symposium, taking place in person in the ECOSOC chamber in the UN Secretariat. Speakers included the Special Envoy for the universalization of the Mine Ban Convention HRH Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein from Jordan; ICBL Ambassador Tun Channareth; ICBL Ambassador Margaret Arach Orech; storyteller and photographer Mr. Giles Duley, who is also an IED-survivor and the protagonist of the Vice series “One Armed Chef”; Global Mine Action Advocate Mr. Daniel Craig; MAG Ambassador Ms. Rosamund Pike; Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion Mr. Jeff Meer and many more. More details can be found here.
Watch the recording on UN Web TV here.
UNMAS exhibit “Safe Ground, Safe Steps, Safe Home”
4 April from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (EST)
Following the Symposium, UNMAS opened a dynamic exhibit “Safe Ground, Safe Steps, Safe Home”. The installation told the 30-year mine action success story and showed how the needs of people living with conflict-related disabilities are being met.
Events Around the World
- Sports activities (volleyball & football) at JBVMM team sites in Tiswhin and Abu Qussa.
- UNISFA Photo Competition (two themes: "Safe Ground, Safe Steps, Safe Home" and "UNMAS through your eyes in Abyei."
- Equipment display exhibition at the UNISFA camp.
- A face-to-face event at the UNOCA campus. The event included following activities: Commemoration of demining victims since 1998, Speeches by senior-level guest speakers (TBC), Speech by Mr. Muqbel, the demining incident survivor; Exhibition of EORE materials and demining processes, etc.
- Colombia Campaign to Ban Landmines / Public awareness events: “Pathway for the visibility and dignity of survivors of anti-personnel mines in Colombia
- Office of the High Commissioner for Peace (OACP) / Central event of the Government of Colombia: "Delivery of new municipalities free of anti-personnel mines"
- Victims Unit (UARIV) & OACP / Public awareness events on EORE given by the local coordinators of UNMAS and OACP, and facilitators of EORE organizations in 13 municipalities prioritized by the Victims Unit of the Government of Colombia.
UNMAS Ethiopia, in partnership with the African Union and the International Committee of the Red Cross, celebrated International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. UNMAS raised awareness among African Union member States with an exhibition showing the extent of the explosive ordnance problem on the continent
Democratic Republic of the Congo
UNMAS DRC organized an event in Goma with the participation of mine action actors (national NGOs, DCA and UNHCR through the Protection Cluster), consisted of an official event with speeches from UNMAS PM, the governor of Goma, the NGO representative of the mine action AoR in eastern DRC and a testimony from a victim; a show with a singer and a a theatrical troupe and a moto parad spreading risk education messages in Goma town; and a depollution demonstration to the public.
Mine Action Area of Responsibility with the Office of UNMAS in Geneva organized an online 3D exhibit. Visit here.
UNMAS Mali brought together stakeholders across the mine action humanitarian community and local youth groups to play football under the 2022 theme of "Safe Ground, Safe Steps, Safe Home."
UNMAS Lebanon supported the Lebanese National Mine Action Centre to conduct risk education activities regarding landmines and other explosive remnants of war through awareness sessions on the risks of hazardous items for local communities. Also, UNMAS Lebanon coordinated with UNIFIL military components, MAG and other national NGOs to organize a mine detection robot show, a puppet show and other kind of activities.
UNMAS Somalia held a series of physical and digital activities during the Mine Action week.
On 4 April, UNMAS Somalia organized a whole day of activities inside the UN camp in Mogadishu. These activities included a football tournament and a Tug of War competition, where a team from UNMAS competed against AMISOM teammates. In addition to these two sports activities, AMISOM made an IED Awareness Demonstration (types of IED switches in Somalia).
Jointly with the mission, UNMAS Somalia organized two radio broadcasts in the form of interviews which aired during the Mine Action Week and in May. The themes of the radio shows will be the protection of children from explosive ordnance, the importance of UN concerted efforts to reduce the impact of explosives on children, and the critical role of local NGOs to ensure localized response tailored to the needs of communities.
On 4 April, UNMAS South Sudan planned on holding five events around the country (Bentiu, Bor, Malakal, Wau and Juba). The largest event took place in Juba where the National Mine Action Authority presented and helped to facilitate the event. Due to COVID mitigation measures, we limited the number of participants and ensuring all safety precautions are in place.
We celebrated the children's participation on 4 April and will display their drawings (created during explosive ordnance risk education sessions ) under the theme "Safe Steps, Safe Ground, Safe Home" alongside a photo exhibition. A band sang songs about Mine Action Day and gave further risk education messaging.
UNMAS Syria displayed at their office in Damascus mine action theme paintings by 15 young Syrian artists last year (on the occasion of Mine Action Day), followed by a gathering of mine action partners and key stakeholders. Guests had the opportunity to see the paintings, and to chat with technical teams, consult risk education materials and look at demining equipment.
An SMS campaign with awareness messages was sent to all mobile networks subscribers in Syria over the whole month of April.
International Mine Awareness Day on the Hill: Exhibition & Reception
Tuesday, April 5th 4:30-6:30pm | Speaking program from 5:30-6:00 | Foyer, Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
The event presented an opportunity for policymakers, members of the demining community, and the general public to come together to celebrate the progress of demining efforts worldwide, recognize those Members of Congress that have been especially impactful in creating a safer world, highlight the need for continued US leadership in the mine action space, and reflect on work that remains.