EU committed to supporting mine victims and eradication of landmines in BiH

“The EU has provided significant assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina in support of landmine victims and has provided assistance to around 200 landmine victims and family members  in 25 municipalities across the country,” said Gianluca Vannini, Acting Head of Operation Sections for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation of the EU Delegation to BiH during the inauguration of the Art Colony “It’s all about abilities!” which was officially opened on Tuesday 28 August in Banja Luka.

The EU-sponsored three-day Art Colony in Banja Luka, aims to promote the rights, capacities and creative potential of survivors and persons with disabilities, and raise public awareness of specific mine and disability issues and challenges faced by survivors and persons with disabilities.

The Art Colony gathers 25 Bosnian and Herzegovinian artists, majority of whom are artists with disabilities, promoting the need for a safe environment free of the threat of landmines, accessible to mine survivors and other persons with disabilities. Additionally, the activity highlights the need to both prevent new mine incidents with human casualties and to empower those who have survived mine incidents to fulfil their rights and contribute to their communities.

“Victims’ needs are more systematically addressed, affording survivors the opportunity to live more dignified lives, and the European Union will continue to support efforts to clear mines and eliminate the risk across BiH by 2025” stated Vannini, adding that such an event is an opportunity to convey the message that disability should not be a barrier to any human activity.

The European Union is one of the largest international donors to mine action programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 1996, the EU has funded projects to the value of EUR 46 million. Its assistance covers several mine action pillars, such as victim assistance, capacity building efforts, mine clearance and mine risk education.

Mine-contaminated areas remain an impediment to economic and infrastructural development. Continued support is envisaged by BiH’s international partners to the fulfilment of the country’s commitments as a signatory to the Ottawa Convention and to the implementation of the BiH Mine Action Strategy.