UN International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 4, 2016

Not long ago, nearly 10,000 men, women, and children died or were injured by landmines and unexploded ordnance every year. Today, as we observe UN International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, we can take pride in the fact that U.S. support for conventional weapons destruction programs and our commitment to robust international partnerships are making a difference.

Due in part to these efforts, we have seen a nearly 60 percent decrease in landmine injuries. But the right number of these incidents is zero.

That’s why, thanks to strong bipartisan support in Congress, the United States has provided more than $2.5 billion in assistance in more than 90 countries for conventional weapons destruction programs since 1993. These funds provide the expertise and equipment to safely clear landmines and other unexploded ordnance, support programs which assist landmine accident survivors, and destroy excess weapons and ammunition preventing them from falling into the wrong hands. We remain committed to doing more to reduce the impact of landmines, as reflected by our increased funding this year for Laos, and our leadership in the Global Demining Initiative for Colombia.

Innocent people – including children – remain at risk from landmines in more than 60 countries around the world. It is way past time for the international community to decrease that risk, to help ensure they can walk in safety. On this day of awareness, we call on other nations to join us in these efforts around the world.