4th of April: International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action [fr]
Mines and explosive remnants of war still cause one casualty every two hours in the world today. People face threats such as improvised explosive devices, artisanal mines and explosive remnants of recent conflicts.
The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance France attaches to the fight against anti-personnel mines and other explosive remnants of war.
Photo|© Sean Mowbray
In Geneva, the broken chair facing the United Nations building symbolizes the victims of anti-personnel mines since 1997. This work by Daniel Berset recalls the commitment of the States Parties to the Ottawa Convention to mine clearance and assistance to victims of anti-personnel mines.
This is the objective set by the Ottawa Convention (adopted in 1997 and banning anti-personnel mines), completed by the Oslo Convention (adopted in 2008 and banning cluster munitions) in 2014. For more than 20 years, France has been firmly committed to the implementation and universalization of these conventions.
In addition to its diplomatic action, France is taking action to reduce the number of victims and, thanks to its expertise and its assistance and training activities, is supporting many countries so that they can declare themselves "mine-free".
Mines and explosive remnants of war, by the risk they represent, constitute a real obstacle to the return of vulnerable displaced and refugee populations to stabilization and reconstruction in countries that have experienced conflict. This is particularly noticeable in areas where the fight against Daech has been going on for several years.
Even today, Syria has nearly 6 million IDPs while Iraq has more than 2.5 million. But other countries are concerned by the problem of mines such as Colombia, Libya, Lebanon, Palestine and several African countries (Benin, Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea).
France is carrying out numerous awareness-raising and humanitarian demining activities to enable the return of the most vulnerable displaced populations and refugees. In 2017, the work of the Mission for the Stabilization of the Crisis and Support Centre (CDCS) in partnership with NGOs and international organizations with expertise in humanitarian demining resulted, for example, in the destruction of more than 1,000 mines and explosive remnants of war and the return of several hundred families to their villages in Iraq and Syria.
Thanks to its internationally recognized expertise, the CDCS and the Directorate of Security and Defence Cooperation (DCSD) also provide training and contribute to the strengthening of national or regional mine action coordination structures. This is illustrated in particular by the active support provided to the regional expertise and training centres in Lebanon and Benin and by the provision of senior development workers and experts (civil security, armies, etc.).