Afghanistan to be cleared of mines within three years based on Ottawa Convention

By: Lailuma Noori

4th April coinciding with 16th of Hamal is International Mine Awareness Day. Mine is considered as one of unwanted phenomena destroying the life of human annually. It is a combat tool produced in arms-producing companies. On 8 December 2005, the General Assembly declared that 4 April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. 21 year back, a treaty was signed by 164 countries including Afghanistan to counter the phenomenon. Unfortunately, the people of Afghanistan have been victims of continued, imposed and unfair wars. Now, all sides to the ongoing conflicts in particular insurgents are asked to stop planting mines and explosive devices as innocent civilians are the main victims of mines. For the past two years, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other roadside bombs have mostly inflicted casualties and killing of innocent civilians in villages and remote areas of the country although there has been no exact figure of those killed and wounded due to explosion of IEDs in the country, but it has been confirmed that the death toll caused by mine explosions have increased in recent years.Taliban fighters and all other armed insurgent groups are widely using from mines and improvised explosive devices as the Taliban group is making use of IEDs along roads and highways. On the other hand, magnetic mines are also used in Afghanistan. Insurgents by paying cash money to children or drug-addicts convince and use them to stick the mine on military vehicles in Afghanistan cities in particular Kabul city to target military personnel.  Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has repeatedly asked all sides to the conflict to seriously observe international laws and human rights conventions to protect innocent civilian casualties. The commission has also asked the country’s defense and security organs for execution of justice on perpetrators of mine explosions and attacks on civilians. As war is ongoing in Afghanistan and armed opponent groups of Afghanistan government are widely using various types of mines and IEDs against foreign and ANDSF forces in the country, the government is stressing on clearing mines from all areas of the country. Based on Ottawa Convention, Afghanistan needs to clear all areas from mines by 2023, but mine-clearing organizations have considered lack of budget and continued war as the biggest problem to reach the goal .It is worth mentioning that in 2018 UNMAS convened, coordinated and led the drafting of the United Nations Mine Action Strategy 2019-2023. Two of the most significant aspects of the Strategy are that it represents an accountability framework for the United Nations system and introduces a Theory of Change for the United Nations engagement in mine action.

 

 

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