On International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action UN commits to renewed efforts in Sudan

As the world marks the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on Wednesday 4 April, UN agencies in Sudan have recommitted themselves to supporting the process of mine clearance, mine risk education and assistance to those affected by landmines.


Sudan landmine problem is a legacy of years of civil war. While landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and explosive remnants of war (ERW) continue to kill and maim people in Sudan every year, they also continue to hamper delivery of humanitarian aid, the safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), implementation of humanitarian and development projects, and ultimately hinder the smooth implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The UN estimates that 21 of the Sudan's 26 states have been affected by landmines and/or ERW, but the true extent and impact of Sudan's landmine problem remains unknown. The UN Mine Action Office in Sudan (UNMAO) has records for over 1,100 dangerous areas throughout the country that still need to be cleared. The majority of these areas are located in the south, central and eastern parts of the country. UNMAO has noted that more roads need to be surveyed and cleared in order to allow refugees and IDPs to go back to their own communities, as well as to allow key recovery and development projects being implemented. The ongoing conflict in Darfur poses an additional ERW threat.

Speaking on behalf of a UN agencies involved in mine action in Sudan ' which include the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), UNICEF and UNDP ' UNMAO Director Jim Pansegrouw said today "It is imperative that we all renew our commitment to mine clearance, increasing public awareness and education about the dangers of landmines and ERW and ensuring that those affected by landmines are provided with appropriate assistance. These efforts are vital to help the people of Sudan to receive the full dividends of peace."

Accomplishments in mine action in Sudan to date include the clearance of 11 million m2 of land, 12,000 km of roads assessed and re-opened through assessment, 1,800 km of road cleared of mines and re-opened, and the safe destruction of 2,921 anti-personnel mines and 1,309 anti-tank mines. Under the overall coordination of UNICEF, over 1 million Sudanese people have received mine risk, raising their awareness and knowledge of landmines and how to reduce the risk of injury. These varied activities have been undertaken in partnership with national mine action agencies including the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA), the South Sudan De-mining Commission (SSDC) and several national and international organizations.

Globally, 14 UN agencies, programmes, departments and funds provide mine action services in dozens of countries. Mine action includes finding and destroying landmines and explosive remnants of war, assisting victims, teaching people how to remain safe in a mine-affected environment, advocating for universal participation in international treaties like the Ottawa Convention, and destroying stockpiled landmines. Landmines and explosive remnants of war continue to kill or injure as many as 15,000 people a year in the world. The overwhelming majority are civilians who trigger these devices years or even decades after a conflict ends, many of these victims are children below 18.

To commemorate the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action in Sudan, the UN, NMAA and SSDC will organize events in Khartoum, Juba and Kadugli. In Khartoum, at 9:00 a.m. a March by mine action activists and supporters will take place starting from 'Peace Gardens" (Hadayeq Al-Salam) and ending at the 'Police Club' on Exhibitions Road in Bori. Celebration will start at 10:00 a.m. at the Police Club which will include speeches, exhibitions, and music.
For further information, please contact:

Christina Greene, UN Mine Action Office, Khartoum, Sudan, christinag@sudanmap.org, +249 (0) 912155583
In New York, contact: Richard Kollodge, UN Mine Action Service, kollodge@un.org, +1 212 963 5677

Von: 03.04.2007 www.reliefweb.int

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