Today is the ‘International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action’. These explosive remnants of war kill and maim mostly civillians, including children; they render large areas impossible to inhabit or farm, and slow post-conflict reconstruction. The people who have been injured by mines require life-long rehabilitation and psychological support and often struggle to regain self-sustainability.
This is why mine action is high among the European Commission's humanitarian priorities. From Angola through to Libya and Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Lebanon and Pakistan, the Commission funds stockpile destruction, mine clearance, victim assistance, rehabilitation and reintegration, mine awareness and risk education. The Commission's humanitarian partners in this area include Handicap International, the Halo Trust, the Mines Advisory Group, the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action and UNICEF.
‘Today we have an occasion to speak up against the horrendous legacy of wars, and to bring attention to the needs of the people who live with this legacy. I am proud that we are at their side to protect them and help them rebuild their lives with our support for de-mining operations and related activities,’ said Commissioner Georgieva.
In the last decade, the European Union has collectively supported mine action with more than €2 billion, which is around half of the financial assistance provided globally for tackling mines.