UN chief calls for global mine action

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to reporters during a news conference, in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, March 1, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called for global action on mines on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, which falls on April 4.

For the millions of people living amid the chaos of armed conflicts, especially women and children, every step can put them in danger's path. Even after the fighting stops, conflicts often leave behind a terrifying legacy: Landmines and explosive ordnance that litter communities, Guterres said in a video message that was played at the UN Mine Action Symposium.

Peace brings no assurance of safety when roads and fields are mined, and when children find and play with shiny objects that explode, Guterres said

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Peace brings no assurance of safety when roads and fields are mined, when unexploded ordnance threatens the return of displaced populations, and when children find and play with shiny objects that explode, he said.

The UN Mine Action Service gathers partners together to remove these deadly weapons, support national authorities, and ensure safe access to homes, schools, hospitals and farmers' fields. The service also supported the design of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the safe export of grain and fertilizer from Ukrainian ports, the UN chief noted.

"Yet, broader global efforts are essential to safeguard people from mines," said Guterres, urging member states to ratify and fully implement the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

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"On this International Day, let's take action to end the threat of these devices of death, support communities as they heal, and help people return and rebuild their lives in safety and security," he said. 

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