Judicial Reform and the Empowerment of Victims
Zagreb, 28-29 Nov. 2012
International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, 4th April
The overwhelming majority of landmine and explosive remnants victims are civilians, who trigger these devices years or even decades after a conflict ends. In some countries, such as Afghanistan, the majority of victims are under the age of 18.
In his statement on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasises: "This Day is a reminder that millions of people in nearly 80 countries still live in fear of landmines and explosive remnants of war. These devices continue to claim 15,000 new victims each year. But this Day is also an occasion to take stock of the progress in our common efforts to combat the scourge of landmines and explosive remnants of war. Thanks to the concerted efforts of all -- Member States, the United Nations, non-Governmental organizations and the mine-affected countries themselves -- we have seen real gains in our mine action efforts."
As the co-signatory of the Ottawa Convention, Croatia committed itself to become a mine-free country by 2009. Croatia is amongst the small number of states that is leading the way in taking responsibility for its own clearance, with the Croatian tax-payer taking on an impressive proportion of the burden in clearing and making safe contaminated land. However, despite real progress over the last decade, Croatia is due to miss its 2009 target to be mine-free, and independent estimates have been made that, at the current rate of clearance, Croatia will not be mine free until 2049. With this in mind, UNDP and prominent members of international community are advocating for increased donor support to Croatia toward a mine-free country, where landmine victims can lead productive and fulfilling lives. Only with joint efforts can we relegate mines and their impact on the public to history.
Mine action programmes and the anti-personnel mine-ban treaty or „Ottawa convention" initiated by the United nations 10 years ago, signed by 153 countries till today, contributed to a reduction in the annual number of casualties from an estimated 26,000 10 years ago to between 15,000 and 20,000 today.
Photo: Slavonski Brod, April 4 - Sitting volleyball match organized by the Croatian Mine Action Center on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. The match was held between the volleyball club Marsonia whose members are mostly mine and civil victims, and the team consisting of volleyball player, oarsman, member of national assembly, former mayor of Slavonski Brod, and others.