Marking the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, the United Nations today reaffirmed its commitment to supporting efforts to rid Somalia of the threat from explosive ordnance.
“Whether measured in the number of casualties or the scope of economic impediment, the toll being paid by ordinary Somalis because of the dangers posed by explosive ordnance is too high a price to pay. The United Nations in Somalia remains committed to working with Somali authorities and local and international partners to protect civilians and foster peace, security and development in Somalia,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Representative for Somalia, Anita Kiki Gbeho.
“On this International Day, we especially recognise the courage and dedication of the mine action operators and their commitment to creating a safe and secure environment for all Somalis,” she added.
In 2022, more than 1,200 Somali civilians were killed or injured due to explosive ordnance, including explosive remnants of war, landmines and improvised explosive devices.
More generally, explosive ordnance contamination hinders economic recovery and development by making contaminated areas off-limits and preventing access to local livelihoods and essential services, as well as inhibiting people’s freedom of movement. It also hampers the delivery of humanitarian assistance, which is vital in some areas of Somalia due to the ongoing drought.
The United Nations works hand-in-hand with the Federal Government of Somalia and its Federal Member State counterparts to mitigate the impact of explosive ordnance. At the same time, it works to enhance the capacity of Somali security institutions to lead and coordinate the mine action response. The support includes the provision of explosive ordnance risk reduction, survey and clearance activities, and advocacy and capacity development initiatives to promote adherence to international legal instruments.