A Simple Gesture Reminds Us That the Problem Continues

Spring is coming slowly to Ottawa this year, but there are signs that it will come. For me there is a new sign each year that spring has arrived and that is the  On April 4th in at least 73 countries people rolled up their pant leg (or sleeve) as part of the global Lend Your Leg initiative.

Thousands of people participated in this unique event as part of the International Day for Mine Action.  Lend Your Leg 2012 was officially a partnership of the International Campaign Ban Landmines and the United Nations, with support from the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and supportive governments.

Rolling up your pant leg was a simple reminder that in many places around the world landmines are still present, killing and maiming civilians. We have the tools needed to solve this problem, but we need continued political will and sustained funding to finish the job of clearing land and supporting survivors. Canada and Canadians have long been leaders on the landmine issue, but the work is not done yet.

Despite the amazing success to date of the landmines movement and of the Ottawa Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines there are still dozens of countries where landmines present a lethal barrier to development. For over 500,000 landmine survivors and their families the need for ongoing support remains an ongoing challenge and will do so for many years to come.

Perhaps though this success has had the unintended effect of making it seem the work is over. Stories about the landmine crisis rarely make it into Canadian media and indeed due to the amazing success mentioned above it may seem there really isn’t a crisis anymore.