April 4th marks the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, raising awareness about the damaging consequences of explosive remnants of war.
“There are countless survivors of landmine accidents who deal everyday with the reality of terrible injuries. We have made progress but we must continue the effort to ensure that no one else is affected by these terrible weapons,” said Green Leader and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May.
Canada played a major role in the successful introduction of the Ottawa Treaty, an international treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines. The treaty has saved countless human lives and prevented terrible injuries long after conflicts have ended. The treaty now includes 159 nations.
“The Ottawa treaty has resulted in fewer casualties from anti-personnel mines. Canada must now push for a similar treaty to ban other types of ordnance that have the potential to remain unexploded and cause civilian injuries,” said May.
The day of awareness also brings attention to the plight of survivors, who have often lost limbs and lack proper healthcare or rehabilitation.
“Lacking support, the survivors of landmines often have to deal with extreme poverty. It is up to the global community to ensure these consequences of war do not become a lasting legacy. This means enabling survivors to carry on with a full and secure life,” said May.