Addis Ababa, 4 April: Landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) in almost 70 countries, claimed some 6,000 victims last year. Many thousands of other people continue to live in fear of triggering one of these devices while on the way to school, to market or to graze their livestock. The economic and social costs of this threat are substantial. Farmers in many regions avoid going to their fields and families struggle to subsist on reduced income and food for the kitchen.
The United Nations has dedicated the 4th of April
each year to efforts to raise global awareness of the human losses and social constraints posed by landmines in most regions of the world. Nations who have not joined the relevant international instruments on landmines, ERW and the rights of survivors, are urged to do so, and this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
has made a special appeal for assistance to landmine and ERW victims.
Eritrea and Ethiopia rank second and third respectively behind Angola, as the worst landmine-affected countries in Africa. Both countries have taken the important first step to eradicating the threat by ratifying the Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Treaty. They are among 155 nations who are “States Parties” to the Treaty. Both also work closely with UNMEE's Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC) in the Temporary Security Zone and Adjacent Areas where unexploded ordnance (UXO) dating from World War II, the Eritrean liberation war (1961-1991) and the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea (1998-2000) continue to maim and kill innocent men, women and children.