UNAMA Human Rights Chief Bell at mine action event in Kabul
KABUL - UNAMA's Human Rights Chief, Danielle Bell, today made a statement to participatnts at the Kabul conference to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
Statment to the Kabul Mine Action Conference by UNAMA Human Rights Chief Danielle Bell
[as prepared for delivery]
Kabul, 3 April 2018
His Excellency, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman,
Thank you. I am honoured to be here with you today to mark International Mine Action Day. This day holds particular significance with Afghanistan’s recent ratification of Protocol V of the Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons and its Presidency in 2018 of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.
This represents a critical, concrete step toward ensuring protection of civilians against the deadly threat posed by explosive hazards, and an opportunity for Afghanistan to support the global commitment to end suffering caused by landmines.
We remain deeply concerned by the ongoing harm posed by explosive remnants of war and pressure plate improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, which continue to endanger the health, safety and lives of the civilian population. Last year, UNAMA documented close to 1700 casualties from these explosive hazards. Over half of all victims were children.
The importance of mine action cannot be underestimated. For example, a few weeks ago on in Faryab province, two boys and one girl –from the same family - were killed when an unexploded ordinance they were playing with detonated. Two days later in Kunduz province, an elderly man and eight children were injured when the children tried to sell the man a UXO thinking it was just scrap metal. One of the boys lost one of his legs and another lost his eyes.
Such casualties are wholly preventable, and through mine action, they can be stopped. Quite simply, mine action saves lives, and that is why it is crucial that we continue to support these efforts.
Lastly, we wish to recognize the significant efforts of the Afghan national security forces, as well as UNMAS and other mine action actors, who dedicate and risk their lives to locating, removing and destroying these deadly devices across the country.
The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is commemorated annually on 4 April.
 639 civilian casualties documented as a result of ERWs (81% or 518 were children); 1019 civilian casualties documented as a result of PPIEDs (38% or 344 were children). See 2018 POC report, pp. 12, 16 and 31.