Tripoli, April 3: A week after a 13-year old boy was killed in Zliten by unexploded ordnance, the Ministry of Education has . . .[restrict]joined the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and a coalition of international and national mine action NGOs to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action tomorrow, April 4.
Each year, it is estimated that more than 26,000 people are killed by landmines and unexploded ordnance worldwide, 90 percent of them civilians. There are currently more than 70 million landmines strewn across 69 countries, including in Libya.
Tomorrow, during a day of film-screenings, public outreach and other awareness-raising initiatives, Education Minister Sulaiman Al-Saheli will meet with the UN’s Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in Libya and the Libyan Mine Action Centre to discuss ways of resolving the landmine problem in Libya.
Since the end of last year’s revolution, dozens of Libyan civilians have been killed by unexploded landmines planted by Qaddafi’s forces and by unexploded munitions they left behind. Last month, the Libya Herald reported how Kaido Keerdo, an Estonian de-mining technician, was killed in the coastal town of Dafniyah whilst working to clear what is believed to have been a Type 84 anti-tank mine.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has also raised concerns that explosive remnants of war are inhibiting the return of people to their homes and slowing post-conflict reconstruction in Libya.
“States need to step up their efforts to destroy stockpiled mines and cluster munitions and to increase the pace of clearance,” said Yves-Daccord, director-general of the ICRC, in a statement released today.
With 2012 also marking the 15th anniversary of the Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Convention, Mr Daccord added that the suffering caused by landmines and other unexploded munitions could be greatly reduced if all states joined and fully implemented this and other treaties seeking to address the problems caused by these weapons.
There are currently 159 states that are party to the mine-ban convention, including at least 35 states that still have mine-clearance obligations. At present, Libya is not a member of the treaty.
Events on Wednesday
- March for Mine Awareness, 2:00pm-5:00pm, meeting at Al Gazella Square: A march to Martyr’s Square and Omer Mukhtar Street with banners and messages of mine awareness.
- Press Conference, 5:00pm-5:30pm, Tripoli Planetarium: The Minister of Education with the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in Libya.
- Short Film Screening, 5:30pm-7:30pm, Tripoli Planetarium: A series of short film screenings on mine action work in Libya will be screened. Also a photography exhibition.
- “The Safe Paths” Play Performance, 8:30pm-9:30pm , Boy Scouts Headquarters: A theatrical production on mine awareness.
- Closing Ceremony, 9:30pm-10:00pm, Boy Scouts Headquarters: Speeches from from government, UN and NGO representatives s. Awards for nationwide children’s mine awareness children’s drawing competition.