Baku, Azerbaijan: In memories of the signing of the War Memorial in San Francisco, California by the United Nations, Heidi Kuhn, CEO and the founder of Roots of Peace, and Umud Mirzayev, the President of the IEPF, sent a joint letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, reports Ednews Baku.
The appeal aims to add the landmine problem issue to Article 18 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The appeal emphasizes the problem of landmines and their dire consequences. The letter also reflects the visits of Heidi Kuhn and Umud Mirzayev to Karabakh, an area that is intensely contaminated with mines.
From March 30 till April 1 this year, the UNDP and the Azerbaijan Mine Action Agency (ANAMA) held an international conference in Baku entitled “Humanitarian Mine Action and SDGs”. This initiative was discussed and highly supported both by the organizers and the participants.
It is noteworthy that Roots of Peace and the IEPF are partner organizations, and a memorandum of understanding on collaboration was signed between the two organizations in March this year.
The text of the letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General is attached:
Your Excellency Secretary-General Antonio Guterras,
Roots of Peace and the International Eurasia Press Fund are issuing a joint statement calling forth. The 18th Sustainable Development Goal for a ‘Landmine-Free World’ on the occasion 77th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, California on June 26, 1945.
Today, there are more than 60 million landmines in 60 countries lurking in the ground worldwide awaiting their victims. Each year, over 22,000 civilians become victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war. Each day, an average of 70 people around the world fall victim to landmines, and one in every three persons affected by landmines is an innocent child.
For several decades, as organizations working under the mine action program, we have been carrying out both mine action and humanitarian assistance in war-torn regions. As organizations specializing in this field, we understand that the mine problem is a painful human tragedy, and seek a landmine-free world.
Today, Azerbaijan is one of the most contaminated country in the world. Now, Ukraine is added to the list of countries with this tragic problem. Hundreds of new mines are buried daily, and people face this invisible danger. We have seen a great disaster with our own eyes by visiting the mine-contaminated areas of Azerbaijan together in tribute to International Women’s Day, March 8, 2022. In the aftermath of the Second Karabakh War, more than 200 people visiting these areas have been victims of mine incidents.
UN General Assembly Resolution 60/97. adopted in 2005, annually marks April 4th as International Mine Awareness Day. In this regard, on April 1, 2022, the Azerbaijan Republic Mine Action Agency (ANAMA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) jointly organized a conference in Baku on “Humanitarian Mine Action and SDGs”. At the conference, we launched a joint initiative to add the mine problem to the UN Sustainable Development Goals as the 18th goal. This proposal was seriously supported by the organizers and conference participants. Today, as two partner organizations, we are determined to make this initiative a reality and are taking steps for peace. In order to expand our activities in this direction, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two organizations.
We know how difficult it is to make changes and additions to the Sustainable Development Goals. However, we deeply believe that world leaders will decide to renegotiate this document by adding the 18th goal- emphasizing the importance of combating the threat of landmines for future generations to thrive.