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 mobilise resources to help the countries affected.
Photo: Members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit of the Philippine Battalion, UN Disengagement Observer Force in Syria, uncover an anti-tank mine (c) UN Photo