Mines are part of the worst consequences of war: they contaminate land and waters, making the return to normal life of the civilian population sometimes impossible. Military remnants, including mines, cause the largest amount of victims in the civilian population, namely children. The consequences have a destructive impact on their lives, on the environment and on the economy. Demining is key for the reconstruction process to proceed safely.
Ahead of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, on 4 April, the European Union reaffirms its strong commitment to preserving lives and mitigating the socio-economic consequences of the use of anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war, including improvised explosive devices.
They are of particular concern today in Ukraine, which has become one of the most contaminated countries in the world in the face of Russia’s aggression. The EU recently announced an additional programme worth €25 million to assist Ukraine in their demining efforts of the liberated territories that were temporarily occupied by Russia.
The European Union has been providing assistance in various areas of mine actions worldwide, from mine clearance to victims’ assistance, capacity building and the destruction of remaining stockpiles. The EU is the world’s second largest donor, having contributed over €800 million to humanitarian mine action over the past 6 years, with €90 million in 2022 only. It supports various programmes in 20 mine-affected countries, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Burkina Faso, Somalia and Sri Lanka.
With all its Member States being parties to the Ottawa Treaty, the EU supports the implementation of the Oslo action plan in all Parties, and is strongly united in banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.
On this special day, the EU honours the courage and determination of deminers worldwide and commemorates those who have lost their lives while making mine affected areas safe again.
Human life, human dignity and human rights will always be at the core of our work to achieve a mine-free world.