More than Mines – International Mine Awareness Day 2015

In April, DDG celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

Ten years ago, the UN General Assembly decided that 4 April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. This year’s slogan “More than Mines” reminds people of all the other kinds of explosive hazards that pose a danger to civilians living in conflict and post-conflict settings; unexploded bombs, grenades, unsecured weapons and ammunition as well as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that kill, injure and block access to healthcare, education and development.

The work of DDG as an organization draws on DDG/DRC’s operational presence in 30 conflict affected and/or mine and ERW contaminated countries globally - including some of the most acute and present settings such as Somaliland (since 1999), Afghanistan (since 1999), and more recently Libya (since 2011). DDG has long been a recognized actor in Humanitarian Mine Action, and has now 16 years of experience in conducting Mine Clearance, Survey, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), and Battle Area Clearance (BAC). In recent years, DDG’s programming has evolved to include a broader set of activities, beyond traditional mine action projects

To celebrate this years’ Mine Awareness Day, DDG staff mobilized both in HQ and on the field to organize public events to raise awareness about DDGs Mine Action work in various environments and situations.

DDG Libya

In Libya, DDG Tripoli office arranged a tent to hand out a collection of different educational posters and brochures targeting adults and children and display some equipment used in Humanitarian Mine Action for the public to better understand the nature of the important work done in the country. The event began with a parade organized by the Libyan Boy Scouts of Janzour and ended with a keynote address by the director of the Libyan Mine Action Center, Col. Mohamed Turjman. The event was organized in cooperation with the Libyan Mine Action Center and its local partner Free Field Foundation and impressively nearly 500 people were in attendance.

A other event was organized also in Sebha where DDG organized a public exhibition in the Ministry of Culture’s House of Culture. DDG provided Risk Education materials and photos of its previous work in Libya.

DDG Headquarters in Denmark

In Denmark, DDG staff went to the City Hall Square and set up a simulation of a minefield, where people could engage and try out some real demining equipment, as well as be provided with information about mine action and DDG’s work globally. The minefield prompted a lot of interest and illustrated the everyday threats posed by mines and ERW to civilians.

On a more academic note, DDG co-organized with DanChurchAid’s Mine Action Unit a panel discussion at University of Copenhagen about the armed violence, humanitarian mine action and foreign military assistance in South Sudan. DDG-DCA invited guest speakers from the Danish Institute of International Studies and Royal Danish Defence College to participate and provoke discussion. The event gathered around 50-60 interested participants to discuss recent developments and future prospects in South Sudan.