Tehran (ICRC) – Experts from national and international mine action community gathered in Tehran for a three-day event focusing on ways to prevent weapon contamination and elaborating on the successes in the field.
The event was intended to be a platform to create an opportunity to achieve the following objectives for the participants:
– Better understanding of ways to prevent weapon contamination and associated issues in other affected countries.
– Discussing main achievements, challenges and requirements in the field of humanitarian mine action.
– Exchanging experiences and lessons learned in the field of mine action operations between countries dealing with this issue and with related international organizations.
The participants of this event included high-level officials and managers from countries such as Croatia, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Afghanistan, Armenia, Viet Nam, China, Oman, Pakistan, Syria, Cambodia and Iraq, as well as ASEAN Mine Action Centre and a number of Iranian organizations. These included the Iranian Mine Action Center, Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) and State Welfare Organization together with some international organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (Tehran delegation and headquarters), the director of the United Nations Mine Action Services, the UNICEF resident representative and the UN Information Centre resident representative in Iran.
Over the last three decades, Iran has endured the impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) and made every effort and committed resources to mitigate the threats they pose. The ICRC started contributing to mine-action activities in Iran in 2004 by supporting the volunteers of IRCS in raising awareness about the risk of mines and ERW among communities living along the Iran-Iraq border.
Since then, the ICRC has cooperated with a wide range of Iranian institutions engaged in mine action, aiming to reduce the risks through awareness activities and the provision of physical rehabilitation services to the victims.
The landmine-related risk education project with the National Society has also been expanded to include Afghan refugees who are returning to their country. The mine-risk education activities run jointly by the IRCS and the ICRC reached more than 350,000 people in 2018.
Under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ICRC and the Iranian Mine Action Center (IRMAC) also formalized a memorandum of understanding on "Cooperation in Implementing the Programme of Mine and Explosive Remnants of War Action in Iran". Sharing mine action knowledge and experience, cooperation in the mine risk education programme, and support to the IRMAC humanitarian demining activities have been the main areas of cooperation between the ICRC and the IRMAC over the last two years.