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19:19:52, Thursday, 27 Nov 2014
 

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International Mine Awareness Day

On 8 April 2010, MINURSO (UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) celebrated the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action with a specific programme organized by the MACC (Mine Action Coordination Centre) to commemorate landmine and UXO victims across the world and salute mine action workers braving dangerous conditions and risking their lives in their strive for a mine free world.

On 8 April 2010, MINURSO (UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) celebrated the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action with a specific programme organized by the MACC (Mine Action Coordination Centre) to commemorate landmine and UXO victims across the world and salute mine action workers braving dangerous conditions and risking their lives in their strive for a mine free world.

 

The programme included the reproduction of a safe lane; with mine signs inside the main entrance to the Mission HQ in Laayoune. MACC team delivered a presentation addressing key mine action messages and hosted the screening of "Surviving Cluster Bombs”, a movie directed by Kike Arnal showing the effects of cluster bombs on civilians. Finally, the day ended with a mine action quiz game, while mine action e-messages were sent out to the nine Team Sites of the Mission.

 

MINURSO, established in 1991, among other duties, monitors the ceasefire between Morocco and POLISARIO. In order to improve the effectiveness of UN action in this field, in 2008 UNMAS (UN Mine Action Service) established a MACC through its implementing agency UNOPS.  

 

As a result of the war from 1975 till 1991, Western Sahara’s Territory (estimated at roughly 226,000 km2) remains contaminated with an unknown quantity of mines and ERW (Explosive Remnants of War). And a recent, provisional Dangerous Area Survey lead international mine action specialists to declare Western Sahara as “one of the most heavily mined territories in the world.”

 

A Dangerous Area Survey completed by Action on Armed Violence (a UN contracted NGO) has mapped 214 dangerous areas, including 158 cluster munitions strike areas, 37 minefields and one ammunition dump. Using these results Action on Armed Violence cleared 2.9 million sq meters of land contaminated with cluster munitions. During these activities, 6 Anti-Personnel mines, 30 Anti-Vehicle mines, 1246 Cluster Munitions and 582 ERW were found and destroyed. These clearance activities allowed for a total of 51 locations that were, as certified cleared land, handed back to communities on 1 March 2010.

 

The Royal Moroccan Army (RMA) is working independently to carry out the demolition of unexploded ordnance in the area under its control destroying 42 Anti-Personnel mines, 3288 Anti-Tank mines, 782 unexploded ordnances and 10347 other Explosive Ordnances in 2009.

 

The MACC, in support of MINURSO, plans to clear 60 more cluster munitions strike areas in 2010 as well as to mobilize adequate resources to launch a Mine Risk Education project with the aim of drastically reducing the number of accidents occurring as well as obtaining substantiated data on landmine victims. With such information, the Mine Action Coordination Centre intends to launch a victim assistance project during 2010.

 

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