Clearing of landmines crucial to peace and developmentListen /
The clearing of landmines and other explosive devises in areas affected by conflict is a crucial precursor to the deployment of international peace keepers and humanitarian workers, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
The organization says in regions where active conflict is in progress such as Afghanistan; volunteers including women were risking their lives to clear and educate the public on the dangers of landmines.
In 2012,at least 4,300 people were victims of landmines and other explosive remnants of war, according to estimates by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
UNMAS Director Agnes Marcaillou says more international effort is needed to help clear landmines to enable people in conflict zones live and work without fear.
“The peacekeeping operations, the special political missions, the humanitarian assistance, cannot be deployed if the land is contaminated and we do not know the nature and scope of the contamination. The communities affected in Mali, each time you have a shelling, you have unexploded bombs, motor shells on the ground and this is contamination. Usually these areas are populated and if not they will be because refugees and displaced people are walking the roads. And if this is not addressed there is no stabilization there is no security there is no human rights there is no humanitarian assistance. Therefore down the line you will not have development"
Although the number of landmines still buries in the ground remains unknown, the United Nations estimates that 59 countries are affected by to some extent by landmines and explosive remnants of war.
Patrick Maigua United Nations Radio Geneva.