UN International Day for Mine Awareness (April 4, 2013)
On this International Day for Mine Awareness, France would like to reaffirm the importance it attaches to the fight against landmines and other explosive remnants of war.
Thousands of people all over the world are still being mutilated or killed every year by landmines or explosive remnants of war. More than 40 countries or territories are polluted by these weapons. In addition to the terrible suffering that they inflict on the victims, these weapons constitute a major obstacle to socio-economic development since they prevent land reclamation by maintaining a climate of fear long after the conflict may have ended.
That’s why France is continuing to work on promoting the Ottawa Convention on the banning of anti-personnel landmines, on strengthening its effectiveness and maintaining its integrity. It unequivocally condemns the use of these weapons under all circumstances and urges the states that have not yet done so to accede to the Convention.
France is engaged in numerous training and cooperation initiatives and makes specialized staff available to its partner countries, such as Cambodia, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Lebanon. It receives interns from abroad in order to share its expertise. It subsidizes several NGOs that are involved in the fight against landmines (in this respect it supported Handicap International and HAMAP in 2012). It works in collaboration with the international organizations.
Through this commitment, France shows its determination to contribute not just to reducing the number of victims of these weapons, but also to ensuring progress on disarmament, to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to consolidating international humanitarian law.