Norwegian People's Aid
Mine Action Programme - CROATIA
Norwegian Peopleâ€™s Aid is the Norwegian labour movementâ€™s humanitarian aid organization which was established over 60 years ago, the basis for all its activities is to improve conditions under which individuals live and contribute to a more humane society for all. NPA has been involved in mine action since 1992, conducting mine action operations in 16 different countries covering three continents. Cambodia was the first country where NPA started mine clearance operations and since that date the organization has set up operations in: Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Kosovo, Thailand and Western Sahara.
NPA works in adherence to the United Nations definition of mine action as being, â€œall those activities geared towards addressing the problems faced by populations as a result of landmine contamination. It is not just about mines as it is about people and their interaction with a mine-infested environment. Its aim is not purely to survey, mark and eradicate landmines â€“ but humanitarian and developmental - to recreate an environment in which people can live safely, in which economic, social and health development can occur free from the constraints imposed by landmine contamination, and in which victims' needs are addressed.
Accordingly, NPAâ€™s mine action activities included survey and task impact assessments, mine clearance involving manual, mechanical and mine detecting dogs), mine awareness and community liaison activities, advocacy and mine policy related work, research and development initiatives, landmine survivor assistance (to a limited extent) and support and capacity building to national mine action capacities.
The overall objective of any NPA mine action programme is, to facilitate, support and contribute to a sustainable improvement of the socio-economic living conditions for target populations in mine affected areas. To accomplish this we work within two major programme areas: the first focuses on the landmines already in the ground and the second on the prevention of further use of landmines. The former refers to all our work in the mine-affected countries including survey, clearance, and mine awareness activities. The latter refers to our engagement as one of the key organisations in the Ottawa Treaty Process and the international campaign to ban landmines (ICBL). Since the ratification of the treaty and the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the founding organisations and their Ambassador Ms. Jody Williams, NPA and its partners in ICBL have continued to lobby the non-signatories as well as supporting countries like Croatia, who have signed and ratified the Treaty. NPA also assist in the production of Landmine Monitor, which gives the annual overview of the mine problem worldwide. In addition to ICBL, NPA is also a member of other international mine action committees and working groups including the UNMAS Steering Committee and the GICHD Advisory Board.
According to the estimated figures presented by the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC) around 700,000 mines and UXOs still remain undetected in Croatia. Out of the 21counties in Croatia, 14 are still mine contaminated from the conflict between 1991 and 1995. CROMAC estimates that the mine suspected area covers 1,350 km2, 10% of this area is considered to be actually mine contaminated. According the Croatian Mine Victims' Association there have been 1,880 mine victims since 1991.