Bosnia and Herzegovina is still one of the most mine polluted country in the region of South east Europe. Total suspect area is 1.442 km2, what is 2,90 % of total surface of BiH. Total number of mine contaminated locations is 10.866, and there are still around 213.000 mines and ERW. Landmines are still major threat in the country so there is a need for a continuous mine awareness activities, to avoid future mines and ERW victims. The structure of RCS BIH , with ICRC support, carries out main activities following guidelines agreed jointly at BiH level, in cooperation with BH MAC, as mine action leading institution in the country.
RCS BIH is accredited by BH MAC for the implementation of mine risk education program and is recognized as a key organization in providing support to mine victims.
Strategy for anti-mine action for the period 2009-2019. was adopted in 2008. RCS BiH actively participated in the development of Anti mine strategy and Sub strategies for mine risk education and support to mine victims.
Mine risk education presents one of the components of anti mine actions and its goal is to raise mine awareness through education, media, presentations and conversations with affected population , to reduce number of victims and to point out to a long term danger from mines.
RCS BIH structure is involved into Mine risk education plans in mine affected communities in BiH. Mine risk education involves public informing, training and leasing with local community, what includes meetings with local authorities , presentation of mine risk education plans, education of local population, training of teachers, cooperation with local media for the purpose of regular informing and education of population, production and distribution of promotional materials etc.,...
Working methodology in affected communities involves also prohibition of entering mine contaminated areas, what implies a system of measures aiming at preventing entering into mined areas. Mine risk education program in affected communities includes permanent marking and info-banners on surrounding roads and in local communities- what is innovation : the other innovation in anti mine action approach is introducing risk reduction. Within risk reduction segment, children playgrounds are built to allow children playing in safe area.
“Think mines” competitions for primary schools children are very important component and activity of the program Mine risk education. Through interactive work and in competitive spirit, students learn how to live safely in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Every year around 3.200 students participate at competitions from municipal, cantonal to Brčko district, entity and state level.
Every year, entity Red Cross organizations mark the International day for mine awareness and Mine awareness week. During Mine awareness week, RC organizes Think mines competitions, round tables, visits to mine victims, and publishes fine arts and literary contest on this topic for primary schools students.
Presentation of mine problem in BiH is done during the Kids Festival which is held every year in Sarajevo. On that occasion, RC staff (instructors, and mine program coordinators) and volunteers simulate mine field and injuries and are at disposal to Festival participant for any questions they might have. Beside group work, they talk about mine problem with children and their parents. Red Cross distribute children friendly promotional and educational materials from its stand.
Red Cross, with support from its instructors realizes collection of mine victims data. Mine victims data base in BiH served as basis for present national data base to BH MAC together with data basis from other organizations. Data base revision was carried with financial support from Swiss organization for development and according to revised data there were 7978 mine victims since the beginning of the war and until the end of 2010 , immediately after war 1674 mine victims.
According to data from data base, since the beginning of war opt to now, majority of mine victims were men aged 19-39 who consciously enter mined areas – that is 64,42% of all victims so they are the most affected group. Under aged Children are 8,06% of all victims.
It is evident, that beside intensive Mine risk education activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for various reasons, more than 7% of victims consciously enter mine contaminated areas. Unemployment and fight for sheer existence and survival for a family, are major reasons why people enter prohibited and risky zones. This implies that the program has to continue and at larger scale implement in the field.