TAJIKISTAN CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR MINE AWARENESS AND ASSISTANCE IN MINE ACTION
This year, commemoration of Mine Action Day will be facilitated by the newly-established Tajikistan National Mine Action Centre (TNMAC). The TNMAC received its official status in January 2014 by decree of the President of the Republic Tajikistan. Within the framework of support for the Tajikistan Mine Action Programme, UNDP is assisting TNMAC in promoting and organizing this significant event devoted to the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on 12 April in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The celebration of this event will be supported by the Government of Tajikistan, UNDP, implementing partners, NGOs and international organizations involved in humanitarian mine action activities in Tajikistan. Hence, this event will raise awareness among Tajikistan’s population that every effort is required to effectively address the remaining problems related to landmines and the explosive remnants of war (ERW) in the country.
Since 2003, UNDP within the TMAC project has supported mine action related activities as well as built national capacity in Tajikistan. During the last 10 years UNDP/TMAC has played a crucial role in management, coordination and planning, as well as monitoring and evaluation of all components (Land Release, Stockpile Destruction, Mine Risk Education, Victim Assistance and Advocacy) of the Mine Action Programme in Tajikistan.
The UNDP/TMAC will ensure a smooth transition and ownership process of the management and coordination of all the above-mentioned mineactionrelated activities to TNMAC during the transitional period. Like other members of the global mine action community, Tajikistan is making outstanding efforts to reduce the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war which will have a positive impact on the development process and on the quality of human life during and beyond the transition period.
The members of the Commission for the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, representatives of ministries, the diplomatic corps, international and local organizations and journalists will participate in the event. In addition to the event in Dushanbe, public activities will be organized in landmine/ERW affected communities. Activities will include: demonstrations by manual demining brigades and specially trained demining dogs; an exhibition of equipment and techniques used in operational activities by the National Guard, the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA); distribution of educational material; theater performance; volunteer initiatives in the field of mine risk education and an exhibition of the achievements of landmine victims in bee-keeping, handicrafts and art.
Due to its international importance, this event has been held annually in Tajikistan since 2006, emphasizing the need and importance of the Mine Action Programme in the country. Tajikistan is applying all available efforts to fulfilling its international obligations under the Ottawa Convention.
Tajikistan has the largest landmine/ERW problems in Central Asia, with more than 8.9 km2of contaminated land remaining (which includes 152 hazard areas along the Tajik-Afghan border and the Central Region). In addition, more than 110 minefield records in areas which are difficult to accessare subject to survey. Based on the available data, 847 people were involved in landmine/ERW accidentsduring the past 15 years. Тhe victims and their family members receive various support from the UN, NGOsand international organizations.
Based on observations, the existence of landmines in the mountains and irrigated fields affects not only men, but women and children, too, as they also are involved in cultivating the land, collecting firewood and grazing their animals in remote communities on a seasonal basis. Great efforts have been made to raise the awareness of landmine/ERW risks among the local population. Mine Risk Education activities have been conducted in community centers, schools and cultural centers located in landmine/ERW affected communities. In addition, a solid Mine Risk Education-network, based on hundreds of volunteers and dozens of teachers has been established to raise awareness among children and adults in 330 villages. Risk education, along with demining and stricter border control, has led to an enormous reduction in the number of accidents - from 88 casualties in 2000 to only one in 2013. In 2014, another initiative was launched by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) to bolster local capacity sustainability. With a view to promoting gender balance in demining activities, NPA has recruited the first Tajik female de-mining team.