Local communities around the UK raise their voices for the forgotten victims of landmines
Communities around the UK are set to launch events this weekend to raise awareness about the forgotten victims of landmines and cluster munitions. From the 1st to 10th December, clubs, community groups and schools all around the country will be taking action as part of the Forgotten 10 Challenge, a UK-wide campaign coordinated by Handicap International UK. This year, the campaign coincides with the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty on 3rd December.
Many people believe that the international treaties banning landmines and cluster bombs have consigned these indiscriminate weapons to history. But landmines and cluster bombs are still claiming one new victim on average every two hours, the overwhelming majority of whom are civilians going about their daily lives.
“Many people believe that the international treaties banning landmines and cluster bombs have consigned these indiscriminate weapons to history,” explains Tom Shelton from Handicap International UK, “But landmines and cluster bombs are still claiming one new victim on average every two hours, the overwhelming majority of whom are civilians going about their daily lives.”
During 10 days of action, local groups and schools in the UK are organising exhibitions, public events, lessons and more to raise awareness about the on-going impact of these inhumane weapons on civilians. In Skipton-in-Craven, North Yorkshire, the local Soroptimist International club is hosting the “Dare You Walk the Path?” exhibition. Large "Pyramids of Shoes" are being be built by Soroptimist International clubs in Alfreton, Derbyshire, and in Londonderry, each shoe representing a person that has lost a life or limb to a landmine or cluster munition.
Schools around the country are holding assemblies, lessons and other activities throughout the week to learn about the impact of landmines and cluster munitions on young people. One third of the victims of these weapons are under the age of 18. Schools taking part include Bedminster Down School in Bristol, Stoke Park High School in Coventry, and Greenfield Community College in Country Durham.
The Forgotten 10 Challenge is the initiative of Handicap International UK, a charity which clears landmines and cluster munitions and helps survivors to rebuild their lives by fitting artificial limbs, providing rehabilitation, and promoting their inclusion in society. In the UK, the organisation works to raise awareness about the needs of communities worldwide that are affected by these weapons.
Tom Shelton from Handicap International says, “The terrible impact of cluster munition use is currently being seen in countries like Syria. That’s why we’re keeping up the pressure for all States to ban these weapons and raising awareness to ensure that the needs of the victims are not forgotten.””
For media enquiries, please contact:
Communication Officer, Handicap International UK
Tel: 44 (0)870 774 3737 | Direct: 44 (0)203 463 2377
Mobile: 44 (0)7508 810 520
Interviews are available with local groups and Handicap International staff.
Photos and case studies of landmine and cluster munition survivors are also available.
A full list of Forgotten 10 Challenge events can be found at: http://bit.ly/F10Events2012
The 3rd December marks 15 years since the Mine Ban Treaty was signed and four years since the Convention on Cluster Munitions was signed. Despite the significant progress these treaties have delivered, civilians in more than 80 countries and territories are still living with the threat from landmines and cluster munitions.
About Handicap International
Handicap International is an international aid organisation working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster in 60 countries worldwide. Its activities include clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance, educating communities about the risks, supporting survivors and campaigning for their rights.
Handicap International is a co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munition Coalition. www.handicap-international.org.uk
This campaign has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this campaign are the sole responsibility of Handicap International UK and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.