Impromptu Remarks by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Lakhdar Brahimi, at the Opening Conference of Afghan Mine Action and Awareness Month

Excellences, ladies and gentlemen,

I am a great admirer of the work is being done in Afghanistan in the field of demining. I am an admirer of this work and indeed very proud that the United Nations is involved in it for two reasons. The first reason is that this is a war that we are fighting and we are very proud of participating in this kind of war. Although we at the United Nations hate all wars, but this war we love because it is a war to protect innocent people as Professor Rabbani said a while ago. It is a war against what I think are known quite graphically as these silent killers which have been laid by people who have not respect for life. So I hope especially those representatives of the donors who are here will be generous and respond to the call of Professor Rabbani to help this programmer rid Afghanistan of these silent killers. I’m very pleased to tell Professor Rabbani that the number of victims, thanks to this work, has gone down from an average of 300to now perhaps 120 a month. But it’s still much too much, too many victims and we have got to work much faster, much better to further reduce the number of innocent victims that are killed by these silent killers or maimed for life until we really reach a situation until nobody is victim of these silent killers.

I would especially like to thank the ACBL on behalf of the UN for its support for implementing the Mine Ban Convention and organizing initiatives such as Afghan Mine Awareness Month that will raise awareness around the country about the need to ban landmines and to support mine action programmers. I will be watching your continued efforts with interest and I thank you for your ongoing commitment to mine action in Afghanistan.