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Landmines and COVID-19 emergency: the danger has doubled.

Gaza school children attending interactive theater production featuring ERW Risk Education Gaza school children attending interactive theater production featuring ERW Risk Education UNMAS Palestine

4 April 2020

On the International Day for Mine Awareness, the commitment must grow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some countries besides controlling the hazards caused by landmines, now have to deal with the COVID-19 new pandemic danger.

A country that has to manage the risk of anti-personnel mines finds it very hard to handle the COVID-19 emergency. War does not end with peace and its consequences, such as mines, persist in the ground for decades, stopping and paralyzing the society and its development in terms of education, politics or health.

Fourth of April of each year is celebrated as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. In 1997 Mine Ban Convention was signed and many countries nowadays are anti-personnel mines free. However, this is not happening everywhere and it is impossible to move a single step in an area with landmines. According to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, this dangerous situation hits above all “women traveling to markets, farmers herding cattle, humanitarian workers trying to reach those most in need”. Nevertheless, this year the International Day for Mine Awareness has not received the proper interest it deserves due to the CODIV-19 emergency. For example, events destined to involve the mine action community will take place virtually. 

Despite that, the Secretary-General says that this does not mean that the effort to protect people from mines has been put aside adding that “when the world emerges from today’s crisis, they will continue to need our support”.  In a message with the chief of United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) Agnès Marcaillou, the UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards, Daniel Craig, said that  “Now, more than ever, compassion and international assistance are needed”.

 

 

To learn more, please read:

https://www.un.org/en/observances/mine-awareness-day

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1061102

 

Author: Giulia Francescon; Editor: Shrabya Ghimire

 

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