(Persia Digest) – April 4th has been proclaimed World Mine Awareness Day by the UN. Iran has over 16 million unexploded landmines left over from the Iraqi invasion of Iran in five provinces over an area of four million hectares. It has been named the second mine-infested country in the world and its three provinces of Ilam, Khuzestan, and Kermanshah, in southern and western Iran, are the main regions with the highest number of deaths between 1996-2007 resulting from explosive remnants that have remained behind from the Iraq-Iran war.
Although the number of killed and maimed in Iran has dropped by a fourth as compared to the year 2000, but this is still a very large number and nothing is being done for the mines littering the Iranian soil.
Monitoring and registering the number of deaths by landmines began in Iran in 1999. During this year, there were 25 dead and maimed daily. This number dropped to an average of nine people stepping on landmines in 2013, of which 79 percent are civilians and children.
This year, Daniel Craig playing 007 in James Bond movies, has been appointed as the first UN global advocate for the elimination of mines and explosive hazards. On this occasion, he has released a voice message on the UN official website: “The briefing from the Secretary-General, and from all of the United Nations staff I have met, demonstrated the enormity of the task,” he said. “The use of improvised explosive devices in Iraq, Somalia and Mali, the widespread use of barrel bombs in Syria, and the landmine contamination in Cambodia, Colombia, and Afghanistan must all be addressed simultaneously. It is a big job. The United Nations needs political and financial support to succeed.”
He continued by saying that the increased number of killed and maimed is still a staggering eight thousand and 600 people per year over two decades. The official statistics are surely lower than the actual numbers. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is working relentlessly to prevent these rising numbers which have turned into an accepted reality. The UN trains millions of people, including students, scientists, farmers, laborers, parents, and children to stay safe from landmines. It also provides care and health facilities, and psychotherapy support, for the wounded. It has rehabilitation centers for those who have to spend the rest of their lives with a disability. Today, we acknowledge thousands of teachers and instructors who raise awareness and those worldwide who have dedicated their lives to neutralizing mines and making the world a safer place, not just for now, but for our future generations. But there will be no hope without your help, your voice, your support, and your political will. So, please let us work together to find a solution and destroy these life-taking war remnants, eradicating them by 2025 altogether. Let us eliminate this threat from the daily lives of many people forever.