On International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action today, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya remembers the 19 people, including 14 children, killed by explosive remnants of war in Libya in 2022.
This year’s theme, “Mine action cannot wait,” is particularly befitting in the Libyan context.
Despite strong efforts from mine action partners over the past decade, more than 15 million square metres are still contaminated with explosive ordnances across Libya. The indiscriminate use of weapons in civilian areas during the recent conflicts means even urban areas are littered with explosive remnants of war. These remnants of conflict obstruct safe access to education, healthcare and development, and continue to injure or kill long after the fighting has ceased, posing a daily threat to life and livelihoods.
“Mine action efforts are an essential component of Libya’s journey to peace and stability coupled with reforms in the security sector to control explosive ordnance contamination and the proliferation of weapons,” said Special Representative of the Secretary-General Abdoulaye Bathily. “The threat posed to Libyan citizens undermines stability and the right to a life without fear,” he added.
The UNSMIL Mine Action Programme (UNMAS Libya) together with the Libyan Mine Action Centre, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other mine action partners are working to remove these life-threatening items from schools, houses, farmlands and hospitals and to safeguard Libyans by increasing awareness of the explosive ordnance threat.
In 2022, partners in Libya removed 27,400 explosive ordnances in Tripoli, Misrata, Benghazi and Sirte but there is more to do. We need to scale-up efforts to enable Libya towards a safer future without explosive hazards.
The Libyan Mine Action Centre plans to officially commemorate the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2023 on 2 May 2023, post Ramadan and Eid observations.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).