Andy Smith
MIne-action specialist

Lack of safety data...

Andy Smith, 2017

Safety in HMA is concerned with the safety of the people in the areas we work and with the safety of the people we employ to do the work. Everything reasonable must be done to ensure that risks are "tolerable" which, in a humanitarian context, means minimised.

When I met him last, the GICHD Operations manager told me that it is still not possible for GICHD to do anything to answer my concerns over data gathering. Apparently, there is no money in gathering essential data about accidents and missed explosive hazards left on land that should never have been declared "clear" or "released", so there is nothing he can do.

So I wrote to the ICBL and presented a paper to them for consideration - and eventually got a polite reply saying in effect that my concerns were not their responsibility either...

This year I had the opportunity to speak at the CTRO symposium in Croatia which, amongst other things, was celebrating 20 years of the ICBL under the heading "Twenty years of the Ottawa Convention - achievements and challenges". Knowing at least one "challenge", I gave a presentation and submitted a paper questioning whether the requirements to share data that are enshrined in the Mine Ban Treaty were being met. My presentation was well received - and I was thanked by several who appreciated my being honest about the emperor's lack of humanitarian clothes. Two possible new homes for the database are being explored - and meantime I keep adding data (so please send any reports you have to me at avs(at) Missed-hazard or accident data are now being gathered. As always, no identifiers are ever published (and in 18 years the data has never been abused).

Click here to read the slideshow presentation.

Click here to read the paper that is in the Symposium Book of Papers (longer and with fewer pictures than the slideshow) as a PDF file.