NEW YORK, April 4 (UPI) -- In 2005, the United Nations declared that on April 4 each year, member states would observe International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
For 2014, the UN chose to highlight the role of women in mine action.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expounded on the 2014 theme in a statement recognizing International Mine Awareness Day. In his message, the secretary-general reflected that women are at greater risk of being affected by landmines and that women have an empowering role to play in mine action.
"Women worldwide are vital to our drive to clear landmines and protect against their indiscriminate effects, teaching people how to live safely in contaminated areas, assisting victims, clearing landmines and disposing of explosive ordnance.
"Women and girls are disproportionately affected by landmines. They have different needs when it comes to education about risks. And they may face greater challenges when a family member is killed or injured. That is why the United Nations endeavours to listen to the views of women in our mine action work, incorporate their ideas and empower them to contribute even more to our global campaign.
"Women can drive progress towards the central goals of mine action, which aims to increase security, rebuild communities, reclaim land and end the looming fear caused by explosive remnants of war. Women can also amplify the benefits of this work as children return to school, economic activity revives and lives and livelihoods are saved through mine action work."
In an effort to educate the public about the effects of landmines and the work to remove them, the UN Mine Action Service exhibited a virtual mine field at the New Museum in New York on Friday.
Actor Daniel Craig teamed up with UNMAS to promote mine awareness by narrating a short documentary video profiling a Malian explosives expert named Douglas Maketiwa.