Switzerland supports the mine action in BiH

Article, 04.04.2019

In order to increase public awareness for the cause of mine action, the Government of Switzerland supports global initiatives as well as those in Bosnia and Herzegovina to mark the International Mine Awareness Day on April 4th.

The Ambassador Andrea Rauber Saxer during the ceremony on the occasion of the International Mine Awarness Day in the BiH Parliament
The Ambassador Andrea Rauber Saxer during the ceremony on the occasion of the International Mine Awarness Day in the BiH Parliament © Kristian Skeie

The Embassy of Switzerland in Bosnia and Herzegovina supports the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina in marking the International Mine Awareness Day, jointly with the Demining Commission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Mine Action Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the UN Development Program in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The current mine situation in the country, results achieved so far and the goals of the newly adopted Mine Action Strategy 2019-2025 were presented to numerous stakeholders and guests gathered in the Parliament Building of Bosnia and Herzegovina today.

“More than 20 years after the end of the conflict, political and administrative obstacles cannot be used as an excuse for not ensuring effective mine action. It is urgent to act in line with the newly defined deadlines and the focus on priority areas. All those who relentlessly work on reducing the danger of mines in BiH are a ray of hope for the citizens in mine affected communities of this country for a peaceful and prosperous future. As you know, the more time passes, the more difficult it gets to find the mines and most likely also to receive enough assistance to remove them. In this sense, I am very glad that you have given yourselves ambitious deadlines for the completion mine action in BiH” stated the Swiss Ambassador to BiH Andrea Rauber Saxer today.

Within this event, the interactive photo exhibition “Life of Mine” prepared by the Geneva Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs was inaugurated. Photos illustrate the impact explosive remnants of war have on every day’s lives of mine victims, their families, and people in mine action in BiH, Lebanon and Colombia. It honours the courage and determination of people behind mines who make mine affected areas safe again.

“Our exhibition is interactive and mobile. After the setup is over in the Parliament, it can be taken on a road show around to country to help with mine awareness training. I sincerely hope that in a few years, when this is no longer necessary, it can travel back to Switzerland to serve as a reminder to a Swiss audience why it is important for us to promote the prohibition of land mines and peace in the world”, stated the Ambassador Rauber Saxer.

The “Life of Mine” is exhibited at the same time in Geneva and in Sarajevo, giving a human face to the mine action worldwide.
The digital version of the exhibition is available on Life of mine.

Video stories of people involved in mine actions from BiH and other contries available on the Embass's YouTube channel  SwissEmbassy@CH_Sarajevo.

Switzerland has continuously supported mine action in BiH since 2003. This assistance has allowed to release more than 12 km2 of mine suspected areas across the country. The local population is now using the cleared land for its economic activities (agriculture, cattle breeding, forest exploitation). Switzerland also supports the work of the Demining battalion of the Armed Forces of BiH through additional training and equipment. So far, Switzerland has invested close to 6.5 million CHF (about 11.5 million KM),in the mine action projects in BiH and the support continues this year as well.