Somalia commemorates the International Mine Awareness Day

Geneva/Baidoa, 4 April 2007- Isha Baidoa Human Rights Organisation, a member organisation of the Somali Campaign to Ban Antipersonnel Landmines (SOCBAL), hosted an unprecedented event marking the United Nations’ International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action in Baidoa, the current seat of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG). SOCBAL and Geneva Call supported the organisation of the event, which took place unhindered despite the recent escalation of violence in Mogadishu.

The TFG Speaker of Parliament, Sheikh Adan Mohamed Noor “Madobe”, opened the ceremony, urging the world to fight and eradicate the mine threat. “Using this weapon is inhumane and cowardly. The TFG will fully support the eradication of landmines in Somalia,” he said. Minister Madobe also praised the positive role Geneva Call has played in persuading seventeen Somali faction leaders to sign the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment for non-state actors, committing their respective armed factions to renounce the use of antipersonnel mines and to cooperate in mine action. Both Madobe and Mohamud Sayed Adan, the current Minister at the Office of the Prime Minister of the TFG, were among the leaders that signed the Deed of Commitment in 2002. Minister Adan, also a speaker at the Baidoa meeting, reiterated his commitment to destroy stockpiles in his possession and appealed the international community to provide the necessary assistance. Other orators included Abdullahi Abdi Garuun, Minister for National Security. In all, some 80 people attended, including members of the Parliament, representatives of regional authorities, UN agencies and NGOs, military commanders, religious and community leaders.

The problem of landmines in Somalia is entrenched in a conflict and emergency situation that has existed for the past thirty years. In addition to landmines, large amounts of Explosive Remnants of War remain scattered throughout the country. Assistance is imperative as there is currently no international humanitarian mine action in the central and southern regions. Somalia is the last Sub-Saharan African state that has yet to join the Ottawa Convention.

For further information, please contact
Mohamed Noor Ali, Project Officer, Geneva Call,
+254 723 818 174, +254 722 302 834, Isha/SOCBAL +2521-871170, +2521-214532 or Geneva Call Headquarters +41 22 879 1050

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