New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged governments to remember landmines and explosive remnants of war when discussing peace agreements or when sending urgent humanitarian aid to conflict zones.
Guterres made the call in a message issued on Monday, ahead of the International Day for World Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, which is marked on 4 April annually and which is centred this year on the theme of "Needs driven. People centred."
He stated: "Peace without mine action is incomplete peace, I urge all UN member states to keep this issue at the top of the international agenda when negotiating peace, when seeking to prevent harm during conflicts and when deploying emergency humanitarian responses in war zones."
He noted that, each year, landmines and other explosive hazards kill or maim thousands of people around the world, saying: "Mine action establishes the foundations for lasting recovery and development. No one should have to live in fear of dying even after the fighting stops."
"This year marks 20 years since the creation of the UN Mine Action Service, a collaboration of UN departments, agencies, programmes and funds. Known as UNMAS for short, the entity currently works in 18 countries and territories to save lives and rebuilds communities," the UN chief said.
Guterres also applauded UNMAS for "its leadership, courage and commitment to peace."
He also commended the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action, which brings together representatives from all UN mine-action entities for its "needs-driven, people centred approach."
The UN noted that, so far, UNMAS and its partners, much of the demining and mine-risk education is carried out by non-governmental organizations and commercial contractors have cleared and returned 72 per cent of known contaminated land to communities, and cleared 31 hospitals and 35 educations sites, as well as markets and water wells.
To honour this work and raise awareness about eradicating landmines and unexploded ordinance, the UN General Assembly, in 2005, established 4 April as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
To promote mine action and raise funds for its work, the UN Global Advocate, US movie actor Daniel Craig, also known as "James Bond" has lent his likeness to a campaign to give away a customized Skyfall Silver 2016 Aston Martin Vantage car.
The winner will also have an opportunity to chat with Mr. Craig in a secret location.
-0- PANA AA 3April2017