International Day for Mine Awareness Day is observed on April 4 in each year. It aims to raise awareness about landmines and progress toward their eradication.
International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action
Every year, 4th April is celebrated as the International Day for Mine Awareness to spread out awareness about the dangers and threats caused by landmines to the health, safety, and lives of the population. This day encourages all governments for developing mine-clearing programs. On this occasion, we bring a few facts about this day --
UN Secretary-General António Guterres says that “The achievements of the mine action community show-that, in working together, we can reach milestones once seen as impossible – a timely message for our efforts today to suppress transmission of the pandemic.”
The United Nations advocates for the universalization of existing legal frameworks and encourages the Member States to expand those regimes and develop new international instruments to protect civilians from the scourges of landmines and explosive remnants of war. It undertakes this work in collaboration with interested states, civil society, mine action, and international organizations.
Since the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, commonly known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention opened for signature in 1997, 164 countries have ratified or acceded to it.
In addition to anti-personnel mines, challenges remain with respect to all other explosive remnants of war. On 12 November 2006, the Secretary-General welcomed the entry into force of Protocol V on explosive remnants of war from the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and reiterated his call for its universalization and implementation. In December 2008, the Secretary-General welcomed the opening for signature of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was joined by 108 states.
Guided by its inter-agency policy, the United Nations Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action (IACG-MA), consisting of 12 departments, agencies, funds and programs, and with observer entities, such as the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research and World Bank continue to ensure system-wide coherence in all mine action pillars and activities.
In 2018 UNMAS convened, coordinated and led the drafting of the United Nations Mine Action Strategy 2019-2023. Two of the most significant aspects of the Strategy are that it represents an accountability framework for the United Nations system and introduces a Theory of Change for the United Nations engagement in mine action.
Is it a Public Holiday?
The answer is No, The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is a global observance. So, It could not be treated as a public holiday.
NATO marked the International Day for Mine Awareness on Tuesday (4 April 2017), observed annually to highlight the deadly threat that mines pose to civilians’ lives and nations’ development. NATO has a strong track record in humanitarian demining, working with partners ranging from Ukraine to Afghanistan, and from Georgia to Egypt. To date, the Alliance has helped destroy more than 5 million anti-personnel landmines, as well as 642,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance.
United Nations Association – UK, expressed that ” Creating a world free from deadly weapons is an important objective for the United Nations. Together with government and civil society groups, it created the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and provides for their destruction.
Signed by over 160 countries, the Treaty has brought about a dramatic reduction in the use of landmines. But there is still a long way to go. Mines are still present in over 60 countries, threatening the lives of millions of people and preventing the land they contaminate from being used, for agriculture and housing, for example.
For this reason, the UN declared that 4 April should be observed each year as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. The Day serves to raise awareness of the ongoing threat posed by mines, call on those states that have not yet signed the Treaty to do so, and mobilize resources to help the countries affected.
Messages from Scholars
Message from Daniel Craig, UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards, video message on the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (4 April 2019). Established in 1997, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) leads, coordinates and implements activities to mitigate the threat posed by mines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices.
In Lao PDR, UNDP shared awareness video on their youtube official channel --
The 4th of April marks a very important occasion; International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. The United Nations General Assembly declared this day of observation on the 8th of December 2008 to foster the establishment and development of national mine-action capacities in countries where Mines and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) constitute a serious threat to the local population.