Today, we commemorate 20 years of the entry into force of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Convention), the international community’s comprehensive response to the humanitarian problems caused by anti-personnel mines. The Convention was adopted in Oslo on 18 September 1997 and opened for signature in Ottawa on 3 and 4 December 1997 at a ceremony that featured the participation of dozens of world leaders. The Convention entered into force on 1 March 1999.
In the meantime, 164 states have accepted or acceded to the Convention, including the vast majority of States that are or have been affected by anti-personnel mines. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) became a State Party on 1 March 1999.
Thanks to internal mobilization and increased international support BiH completed destruction of stockpiled antipersonnel mines and made a great progress regarding clearance of mined areas and provision of assistance to mine victims over past twenty years.
But due to the magnitude of contamination mines and explosive remnants of war continue to threat the safety and lives of 545.000 people. While presently at least 8.000 victims benefit from state assistance, every year the list gets longer. This tragedy should stop now!
BiH strives to align with and respond to the global call of the State Parties to the Convention symbolically titled as “Finish the job!” to fulfill remaining Convention’s obligations as soon as possible, but not later than 2025. This refers to the obligation to provide rehabilitation and re-integration support to mine victims and to clear and release all remaining contamination. In order to support this ambitious achievement, Council of Ministers has adopted national Mine Action Strategy 2018-2025 in January 2019, anticipating a mine-free BiH by 2025.
World Vision and its local partner Organization of amputees “UDAS” contribute to this goal through the project "Integrated socio-economic support to landmine victims in BiH”. The project is funded by the European Union and aims to provide economic and social support for 200 landmine victims and their families in 11 mine-affected municipalities in BiH.
Let us use the momentum of the 20 years of action towards a mine-free world to renew the commitment and join efforts towards a 2025 mine-free BiH.