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UNITED NATIONS NATIONS UNIES

United Nations Mission for the Mission des Nations Unies pour
Referendum in l’organisation d’un référendum au
Western Sahara MINURSO Sahara occidental

MINURSO HQ, LAAYOUNE, P.O. BOX 5846, NEW YORK, NY 10163-5846, USA
TEL: (1) 212- 963-1953 or (212) 28–893828/57/59/24, 892662, FAX: (212) 28–892893, 890944

STATEMENT ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE UNITED NATIONS


MISSIONFOR THE REFERENDUM IN WESTERN SAHARA

Laâyoune, 4 April 2007

Press release

On 4 April, 2007, the United Nations celebrated


nd
the 2 International Day of Mine Awareness. The day was chosen by
the General Assembly in December 2005 to raise the international
community’s awareness on the risk of mines.

Many countries are affected by indiscriminate dissemination of


antipersonnel as well as antitank mines and Western Sahara, which
was marred by conflict between 1975 and 1991, has one of the
highest numbers of land mines per square meter in the world.

MINURSO, which has operated in Western Sahara since


September 1991, signed specific Military Agreements with Morocco
and Frente POLISARIO to cooperate in the identification, marking
and monitoring of the destruction of mines and UXOs.

Since 1991, MINURSO has identified and monitored the destruction,


in cooperation with the Moroccan and POLISARIO forces, of hundred
of mines, artillery shells and other remnants of war.
Since January 2006, MINURSO has marked 152 Mines and UXOs and
monitored the destruction of other 7238 similar devices.

In order to increase the safety and security of the populations


living in Western Sahara, MINURSO and the UN Mine Action Service
(UNMAS) provide operational support to Land Mine Action. This
British NGO carries out training programmes for demining and
supports POLISARIO relevant activities.

MINURSO also expresses appreciation for the efforts of the


Moroccan government in de-mining activities in Western Sahara.

Recently, several mine accidents in Western Sahara increased


concern in the local populations and authorities. Hundreds of
people have been wounded by mine accidents over the
years within the Territory.

With the aim of establishing a safe environment, essential for


human, economic and social development of Western Sahara, MINURSO
has enhanced its cooperation with the parties by promoting the
exchange of information on mine-clearance related activities.

During a ceremony held at MINURSO HQ in Lâayoune, SRSG


Julian Harston, announced the message of the
nd
Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon for the 2 International Day of Mine
Awareness.

On this day, MINURSO distributed, with the cooperation of the


authorities of Morocco and POLISARIO authorities, information
materials and conducted presentations to the population in
Western Sahara, so as to raise perception and awareness regarding
the danger of landmines and UXOs.