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Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (NCBL) Celebrates International Day of Mine Awareness & Assistance in Mine Action

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Krishna Bahadur Ghising (on wheelchair), attending the orientation program

April 3-4, 2013 Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (NCBL), the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, and the Mine Action Joint Working group hosted a series of events for the 8th International Day of Mine Awareness & Assistance in Mine Action. On April 3rd, survivors from 25 districts attended a full day Orientation which included risk education and a focus on mines action. Presenters from UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, the Nepal Army, and NCBL spoke.

In addition to the information from guest speakers, participants had opportunities to share their personal stories, their suggestions, and to network. Participants agreed to join the Nepal National Network of Mine Survivors, which expands the Network to include members from Sunsari, Siraha, Rautahat, Morang, Lalitpur, Makwanpur, Kathmandu and Nawalparasi districts. The Network is comprised of civilian members, the Nepal Army, the Nepal Armed Forced Police, the Nepal Police and UCPN Maoist survivors.

On the ocassion of “International Day for Mine Awareness”, April 4th, a Seminar was held in Kathmandu. Honorable Minister Mr. Ram Kumar Shrestha, Peace and Reconstruction Ministry, inaugurated the event as the chief guest. The seminar started with two video documentaries on “Lend Your Leg 2012”, one of which contained clips which showed Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki Moon “lending a leg” and other showing NCBL’s activities for its program. After this, the Hon. Minister gave a speech, stressing on the importance of working collaboratively and ensuring that Nepal submit its national mines action reports. Mr. Bharat Prasad Paudel, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction presented about the mine action activities conducted by the government.

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Chief Guest Hon. Minister Ram Kumar Shrestha (left front) with NCBL coordinator Mrs. Purna Shova Chitrakar (middle) and NCBL General Secretary Mrs. Kamala Shrestha (right)

Mr. Jerome Fonatan, Deputy Head of Delegation, ICRC Nepal urged the government to join the Mine Ban Treaty as soon as possible to protect civilian lives around the world. DaneeLohar, UNICEF noted that although the country is now mine-field free, IEDs still pose threat to civilians in Nepal. Krishna Bahadur Gishing, Ram Karki and Mukti Neupane (Survivors) spoke on victim assistance. Purna Shova Chitrakar, Coordinator NCBL urged the government to join the MBT and Convention on Cluster Munitions as soon as possible and expressed her gratitude to all those who madethe 2013 Lend Your Leg events a success.

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Victims attending the rally

The chair of the Seminar Mr.Dharanidhar Katiwada, Secretary, Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction recognized Nepal’s achievements in resolving the armed struggle peacefully, and the remaining challenges created by explosives. He stated that the government continues to support victims, and recently released more than 93million rupees, a fund also provided for persons with disabilities. Mr. Katiwada echoed others’ sentiments regarding the state and non-

state groups (Civil Society) working collaboratively to resolve the issues.

The events concluded with a Lend Your Leg Rally through the busy streets of Kathmandu. Honking horns and the hot sun did not deter the group from raising awareness about the affects of indiscriminate weapons, and the need for rights-based approaches to victim assistance.