For this International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, France wants to reaffirm the importance it attaches to the fight against anti-personnel mines and other explosive remnants of war.
Thousands of people around the world continue to be killed or maimed every year by mines and other explosive remnants of war. More than 40 countries and territories are affected by these weapons. In addition to the terrible suffering they inflict upon their victims, these weapons are a major obstacle to socio-economic development as they block the use of land, maintaining a climate of fear long after the end of conflict.
This is why France continues to work for the promotion of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention), aiming to enhance its effectiveness and preserve its integrity. France unreservedly condemns the use of these weapons under any circumstances and calls upon the countries that have not yet done so to accede to the Convention.
France carries out many training and cooperation actions and provides specialized personnel to partner countries including Cambodia, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon and Iraq. It receives foreign trainees to share its expertise and works in liaison with international organizations.
As part of its humanitarian and stabilization work, the Crisis and Support Centre (CDCS) of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development supports the return of displaced populations and refugees through emergency mine clearance operations and training entrusted to specialized NGOs (e.g. Handicap International and Hamap in 2016) and businesses meeting international standards. Through its specialized training, the CDCS also contributes to capacity building for national and regional bodies responsible for coordinating the fight against mines.
Through its commitment, France demonstrates its determination to contribute not only to reducing the number of the victims of these weapons, but also to the progress of disarmament, achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and consolidation of international humanitarian law.