International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action - Press Release
04 April 2022
On 8 December 2005, the General Assembly declared that 4 of April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
This year, on April 4th, the United Nations in Syria would like to stress the need for enhancing protection of people who are facing the dangers of explosive ordnance contamination every day, in both rural and urban areas throughout the country.
Landmines and explosive ordnance are indiscriminate deadly enemies that kill or maim regardless of profession, age and sex whether soldier or civilian, girls, boys, women or men.
According to the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview, 10.2 million people, roughly 1 in 2 Syrians are estimated to be living in areas contaminated with explosive ordnance in 2022. Half of them (around 4.6 million) are children. 1 in 3 communities is reportedly contaminated with some form of explosive ordnance. The UN Mine Action Service estimates that since 2013, an average of four people per day have been killed or injured by explosive ordnance, placing Syria amongst the top countries reporting direct victims of explosive ordnance incidents worldwide. Only in the past weeks, we have been sadly reminded of the deadly impact of contamination, with at least four accidents being reported in March resulting in six child casualties.
Not only does contamination result in death and injury of civilians, especially IDPs, but as explosive ordnance contamination is most frequently reported in agricultural land and on roads, it is also the top access constraint for the delivery of humanitarian aid and assistance to those most in need, and exacerbates food insecurity and hampers early recovery.
As stated by the United Nations Secretary General in his remarks for this 2022 International Mine Action Day: “Mine action is an investment in humanity. It is a prerequisite for humanitarian relief efforts and the foundation of lasting peace and sustainable development.”
Without a comprehensive and inclusive humanitarian mine action response in Syria, explosive ordnance will continue to injure and kill civilians, to hinder safe access and to threaten the safety of humanitarian workers. It will continue to prevent the use of schools, hospitals, and land necessary to sustain the livelihoods of the Syrian people who, after 11 years, are in a deepening crisis compounded by socio- and economic emergencies.
Today, in Syria, an awareness campaign is being launched on social media and through SMS to inform people about these risks. Help us spread the word and join the campaign #IMAD2022 #MineAwarenessDay #SafeGround.