On 3 April 2006 the United Nations in Ukraine along with the Ukrainian Mine Action Coordination Centre, the Mine Survivors Union hosted a press-conference devoted to the First International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action to be commemorated on 4 April 2006. Among the speakers were the UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Mr. Francis M. O’DONNELL, Adviser of Ombudsman of Ukraine Mr. Valeriy ABLAZOV, Chairman of Mine Survivors Union Mr. Kostyantyn ANTOSCHUK, and Deputy Director of Ukrainian Mine Action Coordination Center Mr. Vitaliy SHVED. b_96_72_16777215_00_images_content_news_666.jpg On 3 April 2006 the United Nations in Ukraine along with the Ukrainian Mine Action Coordination Centre, the Mine Survivors Union hosted a press-conference devoted to the First International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action to be commemorated on 4 April 2006. Among the speakers were the UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Mr. Francis M. O’DONNELL, Adviser of Ombudsman of Ukraine Mr. Valeriy ABLAZOV, Chairman of Mine Survivors Union Mr. Kostyantyn ANTOSCHUK, and Deputy Director of Ukrainian Mine Action Coordination Center Mr. Vitaliy SHVED.
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On 3 April 2006 the United Nations in Ukraine along with the Ukrainian Mine Action Coordination Centre, the Mine Survivors Union hosted a press-conference devoted to the First International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action to be commemorated on 4 April 2006. Among the speakers were the UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Mr. Francis M. O’DONNELL, Adviser of Ombudsman of Ukraine Mr. Valeriy ABLAZOV, Chairman of Mine Survivors Union Mr. Kostyantyn ANTOSCHUK, and Deputy Director of Ukrainian Mine Action Coordination Center Mr. Vitaliy SHVED.

Opening the press-conference Mr. O’Donnell underlined the importance of the declaration of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action by the UN General Assembly in December 2005. Mr. O’Donnell also explained the role UN plays in solving the problem by providing assistance to the states and emphasized that coping with the complex of mining related problems is first of all a duty incumbent upon the states themselves. “Addressing the problem effectively is not a matter of few days. It should be addressed on regular basis for years”, he said.. Responding to the journalists’ questions, Mr. O’Donnell reaffirmed once again that Ukraine took an active position in supporting the international community efforts in tackling the landmines and had demonstrated a strong political commitment to act on global scale.

Mr. Ablazov welcomed the UN resolution and stated that the 4th of April should be a date for NGOs, general public and state authorities to report every year on the work done in addressing the landmines and the explosive remnants of war problems in Ukraine. According to Mr. Shved there is a crucial need to adopt the National Program on the mining activities in Ukraine to achieve necessary results. The Chairman of Mine Survivors Union Mr. Antoshchuk informed on the activities of the newly created Union and emphasized that first of all this organization is aimed at identifying and dealing with the most urgent problems of the mine affected people in Ukraine. He also stressed out the vital necessity to form a database of the mine survivors in the state, which would help to effectively assist these people.

According to the Landmine Monitor Report 2005, 84 countries are affected to some extent by landmines and unexploded ordnance, which together kill or maim between 15,000 and 20,000 adults and children annually, down from an estimated 26,000 in the late 1990s. Fourteen United Nations agencies, programmes, departments and funds are together helping find and destroy these devices and providing other mine-action services in 30 countries and three territories.

Ukraine has actively supported a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines, and has been an active participant in the Mine Ban Treaty process from the very beginning. Ukraine signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 24 February 1999. On 18 May 2005 the Parliament of Ukraine ratified the UN Landmine Ban Convention. In Ukraine landmines and explosive remnants of World War II still pose a great threat to safety, health and lives of population. Besides, many ammunition depots are overloaded and are situated too close to inhabited localities.

Report on the situation in Ukraine could be found at the web-site of Landmine Monitor http://www.icbl.org/lm/country/ukraine.

More information and global statistics could be found at E-mine Information Network http://www.mineaction.org/

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For more information, please contact:

UN Communications Officer Ms. Veronika Vashchenko at (044) 254 0035, veronika.vashchenko@un.org.ua