Mark C. Toner
April 4, 2017
Today is the United Nations’ International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, which provides an opportunity for the world to reflect on both the progress made and the challenges remaining in clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance which still endanger civilians in more than 60 states and other areas. The United States is working closely with partners worldwide to address this serious humanitarian challenge which puts innocent people, including many children, at risk.
Strong bipartisan support in Congress and by the American people has enabled the United States to invest more than $2.8 billion in assistance in more than 95 countries for conventional weapons destruction programs since 1993. These programs produce tangible, measurable, positive results by providing the expertise and equipment to safely clear landmines and unexploded ordnance, and to provide landmine survivors with rehabilitation and reintegration support. As land is cleared, displaced persons and refugees are able to return home and rebuild their communities and lives.
At the March 22 Ministerial of the Global Coalition working to defeat ISIS, Secretary Tillerson underlined the essential role that demining plays in stabilization in Iraq and Syria, as civilians seek to return home to areas liberated from ISIS. This is only one example of how U.S. support for conventional weapons destruction programs is making a difference.
On this day of mine awareness, we urge other nations to join us in a robust international partnership with the shared goal of reducing the impact of landmines around the world.