UNICEF is currently undertaking mine action programmes in 10 countries world-wide and seeks to utilise the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as the framework for developing a ‘rights based approach’ to programming. Programmes supported by the agency are based on sustainable, long-term local capacity building initiatives. In dealing with the problem of landmines, UNICEF undertakes advocacy and mine awareness education, and occasionally assist its partners with victim assistance.
In early 1998, all UNICEF Regional Directors, country Representatives and National Committees were instructed to approach and lobby the responsible Ministries to support the Ottawa Convention and promote early ratification. Staff were informed that should they require additional assistance, the Government of Canada and the NGOs in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) would be rallying their supporters in this endeavour. UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy stated that “the quest for ratification is a matter of such importance that any member of senior management will be ready to intervene (even, if absolutely necessary, to travel) in order to facilitate success”.
The Organisation for African Unity (OAU) and UNICEF announced a cooperative effort, on 10 February 1998, to press for ratification at the earliest possible date and pledged to work with donor countries and other partners to ensure comprehensive and complementary programmes on demining, destruction of stockpiles and rehabilitation of victims.
The Permanent Mission of Canada, the OAU and UNICEF held a Tripartite Meeting on African Ratification of the Landmines Convention in April 1998.
In mid-June, a joint press release was issued by the Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UNICEF announcing the halfway mark to final ratification. Constant pressure was exerted with parliamentarians, popular opinion leaders and policy makers throughout the process.
In September 1998, the Ottawa Convention became the quickest ratified treaty in history.
UNICEF continues to support the activities of the Government of Canada and International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in their endeavours towards achieving universalization of the Ottawa Convention. All mine-related issues will be integrated into UNICEF’s regular programming efforts and a manual will be developed to educate both staff and the donor community on this comprehensive range of activities being undertaken by the agency.
Mine Awareness Education
UNICEF organised a third workshop to finalise the International Guidelines for Mine Awareness Education in Florence, from 13-15 December, 1998. The Guidelines have been developed in close consultation with major international and national NGOs, the ICRC and UN partners. The Guidelines, once concluded, will serve to guide the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all United Nations mine awareness programmes. Based on these Guidelines, and in collaboration with its NGO partners, UNICEF will develop training modules to undertake a ‘training of trainers’. An initial group of UN and NGO staff will participate in a Training of Trainers Workshop, following which the training module will be further refined. Over the next three years UNICEF will continue to build its own capacity and that of its local implementing partners to undertake mine awareness programmes world wide.
UNICEF has participated in all UNMAS-lead Inter-Agency Assessment Missions to mine-affected countries, and in cooperation with its NGO partners, has prepared and developed additional mine awareness programmes based on these assessments. Since 1998, missions have been undertaken to Ethiopia, Somalia, Burundi, Yemen, Azerbaijan and Jordan, Lebanon.
A major travelling exhibition on anti-personnel landmines was produced for purposes of advocacy and mine awareness education, and will be displayed both within the US and internationally.
UNICEF will work closely with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) to develop modalities of cooperation in data gathering and data dissemination for planning it mine awareness and victim assistance strategies.
UNICEF cooperated with DC Comics and the US Departments of State and Defence in developing a Superman/Wonder Woman mine awareness comic book for children in the Central American countries of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
UNICEF cooperates closely with its UN and NGO partners to support the physical and psychosocial rehabilitation of mine survivors and their reintegration within the communities. Support has been provided for the development of low-cost, locally produced prosthetics, orthotics and other assistive devices. Economic and social rehabilitation for the disabled is being undertaken through psychosocial counselling, referrals to prosthetic workshops, physiotherapy, community-based rehabilitation, vocational training, and the provision of grants or loans to start up small businesses. This programme also ensures that disabled children go to school and encourages the creation of self-help groups of disabled persons. In collaboration with the appropriate Ministries of Health, UNICEF also supports the construction of Rural Health Centres in heavily mined areas.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and UNICEF assisted the Swiss Government through the provision of technical assistance in the formulation of the Berne Manifesto on victim assistance. This initiative was developed to gain the support of like-minded countries for the provision of assistance to mine victims.
UNICEF Country Programmes
UNICEF plans to undertake a range of activities during 1999 in the following 10 countries:
UNICEF will continue to incorporate mine awareness messages into the educational system targeting school children in affected provinces and preparing training materials in collaboration with the National Institute for Mines Action (INAROEE) and the Ministry of Education. Mine awareness will be provided for the local population through national and International NGOs, radio broadcasts, media campaigns, theatre group training and field monitoring exercises. Mine incident data will be gathered from all affected provinces and training programmes for local health professionals utilising child-centred prosthetics and orthotics, and physical therapy for affected children will be introduced. Educational materials for prosthetic and orthotic training courses will be developed in cooperation with the NGO community.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
UNICEF will continue to develop mine awareness education kits for training teachers and educators and undertake monitoring and evaluation of UN and NGO activities. Training programmes through the NGO, “Spirit of Soccer” will disseminate mine awareness through coaching clinics. The use of theatre, radio and TV will augment programmes and technical support for implementation of mine awareness education.
Child-centred mine awareness programmes will continue to be undertaken in cooperation with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and activities such as survey, permanent marking, awareness and selective limited clearance will be undertaken with community participation. UNICEF will continue to support the CMAC Integrated Database and the CRC Mine Incident Database to collect comprehensive information on mine incidents and to improve the planning, monitoring and evaluation of mine action activities. Prosthetics, orthotics and other assistive devises will be provided in support of programmes in cooperation with Handicap International (HI) , Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) and the Ministry of Health.
Based on the results of a KABP Survey (knowledge, attitude, behaviour and practise) undertaken in 1998, UNICEF will develop appropriate mine awareness materials targeting the most vulnerable sections of the population in order to alter risk-taking behaviour. Mine awareness and teacher training will continue in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Police Academy, the Ministry of the Interior and national NGOs.
A survey and the development of a national database and registry of rehabilitation resources will be initiated in Guatemala. Training will be provided in prosthetics/orthotics, occupational and physical therapy, psychosocial counselling and rehabilitative equipment will be provided for mine victims. Community-based education, information and communication programmes will be developed.
Community awareness and the increase in technical capacity at field level, support for material development, production, and assistance to strengthen community awareness management and on-the-job training is planned. Monitoring and evaluation components will be further refined.
UNICEF plans to support the National Demining Commission for data gathering of mine accidents and undertake a national assessment of mine victims to ensure access to existing health and social service structures. Assistance will be provided for physical and psychosocial rehabilitation through orthopaedic workshops and trauma counselling and for training of school teachers, social and health workers on mine awareness education. Monitoring and evaluation of local and community level mine awareness programmes will be on-going.
Mine awareness materials will be developed and child broadcasters trained in coordination with the Nicaraguan Red Cross. Community-based solutions will be formulated following discussions with 600 communities.
Mine awareness training to be undertaken through local schools, women’s groups and NGOs. Reporting systems on mine accidents will be strengthened and the development of appropriate communication tools (toys, puppets, games, posters, videos, etc) by local and international counterparts will be supported. UNICEF will undertake a ‘training of trainers’ on mine risk education and provide technical assistance to UN staff, local authorities and NGOs on the design and implementation of survey instruments.