Bang Media

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Miss Landmine

Miss Landmine
The United Nations has declared 4 April International Day against Landmines. The UN wants to raise awareness of the dangers of landmines and hopes that this will eventually lead to an international ban.

To literally give the problem a face, the Angolan government is organising the world's first Miss Landmine competition.

According to a 2005 report by the International Action against Landmines, 84 countries are affected by landmines and unexploded bombs. After a conflict has ended, millions of potentially fatal explosives are left behind in villages and towns, on fertile agricultural land and along roads. Often the victims are children. Without realising it they pick up munitions they have found to play with or to take home. Each year 15,000 to 20,000 people are killed and maimed by mines.

Initiatives

The Miss Landmine election in Angola is one of the world-wide initiatives to draw attention to the consequences of landmines. Ten candidates, all from Angola, are dressed up, made up and manicured. They pose smiling for the cameras.
But take a second look and you'll see that they are handicapped. They either miss an arm or a leg or they are wearing a false limb. Injuries to arms and legs are the most common among landmine victims. The beauty pageant's first prize is therefore a made-to-measure prosthesis from a specialised Norwegian company.

The ten Angolan women represent a fraction of the total number of victims in the African country. In the past year alone, more than 180 people died as a result of a mine or bomb exploding. During the civil war, at least 80,000 people were left handicapped.

Landmine treaty
The United Nations have set up programmes all over the world to remove landmines. Ultimately, the organisation wants all countries to sign the anti-landmine treaty of 1997. The so-called Ottawa Convention bans the use, manufacture and storage of landmines. In the meantime, 154 countries have signed the document. The largest producers, the United States and China, have up to now refused their cooperation.

The Angolan Miss Landmine competition is supported by the European Union. An exhibition of photographs will go on tour in several European countries at the end of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...