International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (4 April every year) [fr]
As mines and explosive remnants of war still make a victim every two hours in the world, the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, on 4 April, is the opportunity to reaffirm the importance France attaches to the fight against antipersonnel mines and other explosive remnants of war.
Mines, a barrier to reconstruction
Mines and explosive remnants of war and the risks attached to them constitute a true barrier to the return of vulnerable displaced populations and refugees to stabilization, and to the reconstruction of countries which went through conflicts. This is especially visible in areas where the fight against ISIS took place for several years. As of today, Syria still counts around 6 million internally displaced people while Iraq counts over 2.5 million. Nevertheless, other countries are affected by mine issues, such as Colombia, Libya, Lebanon, Palestine and other African countries (Benin, Senegal, Mauritania, and Guinea).
France’s commitment for a world free of mines in 2025
The goal of a world free of mines, set in 2014 by the Ottawa Convention (adopted in 1997, prohibiting antipersonnel mines) reinforces France’s determination, committed to the fight against antipersonnel mines for over 20 years. In addition to its diplomatic action, France acts to reduce the number of victims and supports many countries, through its expertise and assistance programs of training, in order for them to declare themselves “free of mines”. The fight against antipersonnel mines also stands within the broader framework of the fight against explosive remnants of war, notably cluster munitions. The Oslo Convention (adopted 2008 prohibiting cluster munitions) also takes part in pursuing the goal of a world free of mine by 2025.
France leads numerous awareness actions and humanitarian demining in order to allow the return of the most vulnerable displaced populations and refugees. In 2017, the action of the Mission pour la stablisation (Mission for Stabilization) of the Centre de Crise et de Soutien (Crisis and Support Center, CDCS), in partnership with NGOs and international organizations specialized in humanitarian demining allowed, for instance, the clearance of other a thousand mines and explosive remnants of war, and the return to their village of several hundred families in Iraq and Syria.
Thanks to an internationally recognized expertise, the CDCS and the Direction de la cooperation de sécurité et de defense (Direction of security and defense cooperation) also grant trainings and take part in reinforcing national or regional structures of coordination of the fight against mines. This is notably reflected in an active support brought to expertise and training centers with regional focus in Lebanon and Benin, and in the provision of cooperating trained experts (civil security, armies…).
Photo credit: defense.gouv
To go further: France Diplomatie