FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Long after conflicts subside, residual landmines and unexploded munitions endanger innocent civilians and keep societies across the globe from making critical strides in development. International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is an important opportunity to underscore the critical need to continue protecting and assisting those living in mine-affected countries.
Every year, as many as 5,000 people die worldwide as a result of landmines or other perilous munitions. Many more are severely maimed. Landmines also continue to destabilize societies by hampering development—economically, socially and politically. The presence of landmines keeps farmers from pursuing agricultural livelihoods, impedes the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and prevents citizens from moving freely and safely throughout their own country.
Working together, however, the global community has begun to make progress. Over the past decade, deaths and injuries from landmines have declined threefold. Through its Humanitarian Mine Action Program, the United States leads the world in contributions to this critical cause. Since 1993, the U.S. government has donated more than $1.5 billion to fund life-saving programs in almost 50 countries, from the Sudan to Colombia to Sri Lanka, and many more.
Consistent with the United Nations’ key pillars of mine action, the United States has sent teams abroad to assist local organizations in clearing minefields, providing rehabilitation services to landmine survivors and their families, and delivering mine awareness education for high risk populations. We continue to build important partnerships with UN agencies and local organizations to enhance local capacity to protect citizens and enable recovery and sustainable development.
On this occasion, we applaud the multitude of global mine awareness activities taking place today in support of this indispensable cause.
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