A few months ago no one would have suspected that we would be commemorating the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action in isolation from one another.
In spite of this we remain united by our desire to eradicate the suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines and other explosive remnants of war.
As President of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and as a citizen of a mine affected country, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of mine action, and your work in implementation of the Convention which has undoubtedly saved countless lives and prevented much suffering.
Unfortunately, today we are witnessing a global health emergency. Our attention and efforts are being funnelled to contain the spread of a transmittable disease, especially among our most vulnerable.
This situation has also affected mine clearance and risk education, stockpile destruction, victim assistance, and some advocacy activities; ceasing in many countries without a clear indication on when they will resume. In this regard, it will be necessary for our community to show great resilience in light of our current circumstances.
We know one thing for certain.
Once we defeat this global common enemy, WE as a Convention community, must swiftly turn our attention to conquering another indiscriminate killer and common foe: anti-personnel mines which kill and maim vulnerable girls, boys, women and men every day all over the world.
Today, we rally behind all those who perform essential duties for the functioning of our societies from those delivering and preparing our food, to those maintaining order and sanitation in our cities, and the medical personnel carrying out life-saving activities.
But we also celebrate the brave women and men who in spite of these dire circumstances continue to perform life-saving activities of clearing and destroying landmines and other explosive remnants of war.
For more information contact, isu(at)apminebanconvention.org