"The United Nations is strongly committed to mine awareness and mine action throughout the world. On this International Day, we reaffirm our commitment to a world free from the threat of mines and other remnants of war."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the International Day for Mine Awareness
and Assistance in Mine Action, 4 April 2013
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.I have been remiss in not keeping the issue of land mines in my diary stream. Used to be I'd even post a daily HeroRat comment every morning.
It called for continued efforts by States, with the assistance of the United Nations and relevant organizations, to foster the establishment and development of national mine-action capacities in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war constitute a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of the civilian population, or an impediment to social and economic development at the national and local levels.
I wrote about these little guys way back in 2010, Quit Dissing Rats. They're Heroes
HeroRATs are saving lives, sniffing out dangers such as landmines and disease. We are true heroes, working hand-in-hand with humans to create safer communities and a better world. A fully-trained HeroRAT can identify landmines quickly and efficiently, or can sniff out deadly pulmonary tuberculosis faster than traditional laboratory microscopy. Not only that, we work for peanuts!They are awesome! Every month I spend a whole 5 Euros on my adopted HeroRat Mojo.
In short, HeroRATs provide a simple, innovative solution to some of the complex global problems facing humankind today. By working together, we can save even more lives and limbs.
HeroRATs is a public campaign to raise awareness about APOPO's work. APOPO's mission is to train and disseminate sniffer rats to save human lives by detecting landmines and disease.
He's off on a field trip to Angola clearing mines now.
Here's a 7 minute video of the history of HeroRats.
What they are Giant pouched rats.
The giant pouched rats (genus Cricetomys) of sub-Saharan Africa are large muroid rodents. Their head and body length ranges from 25–45 cm (9–18 in) with scaly tails ranging from 36–46 cm (14–18 in). They weigh between 1-1.5 kg.
As well as HeroRats there are a few other organizations which are working to rid the world of there abominations. They are UNMAS,
The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) collaborates with 13 other UN departments, agencies, programmes and funds to ensure an effective, proactive and coordinated response to the problems of landmines and explosive remnants of war, including cluster munitions.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is a global network in some 100 countries that works for a world free of antipersonnel landmines, where landmine survivors can lead fulfilling lives. The Campaign was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its efforts to bring about the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Since then, we have been advocating for the words of the treaty to become a reality, demonstrating on a daily basis that civil society has the power to change the world.Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO LAO)
The Lao Government established the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO Lao) with the support of UNDP, UNICEF, and other stakeholders through Prime Minister’s Decree Number 49, dated 13 February 1996.The US has not signed the Land Mine Treaty or the Cluster Bomb Ban Treaty. Its past time we should.
UXO Lao is a Nationally Executed (NEX) Project of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and UNDP. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare is the implementing partner while UNDP provides program oversight and program assurance.
UXO Lao maintains its National Office in Vientiane. It operates in nine of the most UXO impacted provinces in the country (Huaphanh, Luangprabang, Xiengkhuang, Khammuane, Savannakhet, Saravane, Champasack, Sekong, and Attapeu.) In every province, the provincial office works closely with their respective Provincial Labour and Social Welfare Departments and coordinates with other departments such as health, education, agriculture, and forestry for work planning purposes.