FEEDBACK – “Mine action is humanitarian action” | May 23, 2016

In a speech given on the occasion of International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, the Foundation, at the request of UNMAS, insisted upon the critical importance of perceiving mine action as an integral part of humanitarian action.     Every April 4th, the international community sheds light on mine action on […]

In a speech given on the occasion of International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, the Foundation, at the request of UNMAS, insisted upon the critical importance of perceiving mine action as an integral part of humanitarian action.


 

Mine action is humanitarian action - Photo: UNMAS / Christian Lamontagne
Mine action is humanitarian action – Photo: UNMAS / Christian Lamontagne

 

Every April 4th, the international community sheds light on mine action on the occasion of International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. This year, UNMAS, the UN agency responsible for ensuring an effective, proactive and coordinated United Nations response to landmines and explosive remnants of war, organized, among other things, a gathering in Geneva to discuss the future of mine action ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit.

Sole NGO invited to take the floor, the Foundation’s Operational Director Nathalie Herlemont-Zoritchak spoke on behalf of Handicap International to insist on the necessity to perceive mine action as an integral part of humanitarian action. Seen at first, that is to say right after World War Two, as a post-conflict activity related to mine clearance, it soon became more than just a peacekeeping issue.

Mine action is indeed humanitarian action :

– it is about the protection of civilians;

– it is about guaranteeing the access of civilians to humanitarian assistance, and the access of relief operations to civilians;

– it is also about reaching out to all those affected by landmines and cluster munitions, whether they are or not direct victims themselves. At Handicap International, this is done through an integrated approach to victim assistance, meaning that survivors, as well as the families of those killed or injured and affected community members, are associated with and benefit from our action.

Handicap International thus makes sure that mine action is fully connected with protection and assistance, which are at the core elements of humanitarian action. Mine action is surely not just about pure technical expertise; it is also, and maybe foremost, about putting people at the heart of our preoccupations, through a comprehensive approach to mine action, which combines different but complementary activities, often at the very same time.

Otherwise, how could anyone go back to Kobane (Syria) without clearance of the place? How could anyone live in the war-torn villages and cities of Yemen or Sudan without risk education ? Or how could the wounded and their families live a decent life without any victim assistance?

 

 

For further information:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://blog.hi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Mine-action-is-Humanitarian-action-speaking-points-UNMAS-event-NHL-April-4-2016.pdf”]

 

UNMAS’ website

Elke Hottentot, “Victim assistance in the context of mines and explosive remnants of war”, Handicap International, Policy Paper, Technical Resources Division, July 2014, 78p.

Elke Hottentot, “Victim assistance in the context of mines and explosive remnants of war”, Handicap International, Policy brief N°11, July 2014, 4p.


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