Mine Risk Education and Mine Awareness

As within global mine action community so in the Republic of Croatia, mine risk education and mine awareness activities are conducted primarily for the population living on suspected hazardous area (SHA), but also for the citizens living on wider territory of the Republic of Croatia. The process has been conducted continuously through different models and programmes since the establishment of CROMAC.
According to the Law on Humanitarian Demining (National Gazette, no.153/05, 63/07, 152/08), CROMAC's role is solely co-coordinative. Apart from its co-coordinative role, CROMAC directly and indirectly conducts a number of activities relating to education of population and informing about the problem of mine contaminated and suspected hazardous area (SHA). According to the Article 6 of the Ottawa Convention, the Republic of Croatia, as the Convention signatory, is obliged to ensure and implement the above-mentioned programmes and inform the UN Secretary General about it. The basic aim of all public information and different programmes is keeping the continuous level of mine awareness in the period until mined areas are cleared from mines and unexploded ordinance (UXO) and handed over to the final beneficiaries for safe use.

Numerous target groups should be clearly and continuously informed about mine danger, ways of recognizing potential danger in mine surrounded areas, ways to deal with the problem until mine danger is completely removed, required behaviour modifications when performing everyday activities, especially during the seasons when works in the fields and house yards are usually increased.

Besides this basic component relating to the risk groups and communities, there are some other important mine action components such as interaction with different subjects in the preparation of communication strategy, especially media and local administration.

CROMAC activities which directly or indirectly contribute to the overall process of informing and education are as follows:

  • Establishment of a clear and precise boundary of suspected hazardous area (SHA) in relation to the surrounding area.
  • Continuous interaction between CROMAC terrain teams and all sources of information.
  • An extremely large number of different subjects obtain information about the area, work methods, operations in progress and future plans relating to defined priority groups through the system of interviews and collecting information.
  • Standard marking of the area with different prescribed marks, primarily mine warning signs, interactive process with the local community and target groups, hunting and fishing associations, mountaineers etc.
  • The local community of counties, towns and municipalities, police administrations, public companies of the Republic of Croatia, relevant ministries, tourist communities, administrations of national parks, hunting and fishing societies, embassies of foreign countries in the Republic of Croatia and a wide circle of other beneficiaries are submitted relevant SHA maps and CDs – cartographic displays.
  • The system of planning and setting priorities provides clear timeframe for the implementation of humanitarian demining operations and directly points to necessary patience and forms of behaviour required. Public availability of plans is ensured on several levels.
  • CROMAC is the holder and organizer of different media, promotional, humanitarian and other activities aimed at raising demining funds but also achieving the effect of constant informing about mine danger.
  • Establishment of CROMAC MISportal available at http://misportal.hcr.hr provided three user groups with an opportunity to obtain an insight into the status of suspected hazardous area that is being updated on a weekly basis. Equally, it is possible to obtain the insight into the marking situation.

In the part where the emphasis is put on CROMAC's co-coordinative role, a successful co-operation has been established between CROMAC and its partners which resulted in preserving the continuity of different educative programs. Very successful co-operation has been established with a number of non-governmental organizations, international and domestic organizations. The associations and organizations involved in MRE and mine awareness processes in the previous period are as follows:

Croatian Red Cross, International Committee of Red Cross, Croatian Mine Victims Association, Association of Organizations of Croatian Civil Victims of Homeland War in co-operation with Associations of Homeland War Veterans, Mine Victims Association of Karlovac County, Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), Mine Aid Association, Recobot Trust Fund, Croatian without Mines trust fund, NONE, Daska theatre from Sisak, OSCE Mission to the Republic of Croatia, Children's amateur puppet theatre ''Pinokio'' Knin, Puppet scene MM from Osijek, BEMBO Association in co-operation with the NPA, Centre for Neohumanist Studies from Karlovac, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Association of Special Police from the Homeland War, Croatian Hunting Association and many others.

The Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Education and Sports provided considerable contribution and played an important role in different forms of promotional and educative activities in co-operation with other organizations.

In the past couple of years CROMAC has been conducting educative programmes in close co-operation with Anti-explosion Departments of county police administrations as part of the project ''Less weapons, less tragedies'' supported by the UNDP.

Basic forms of mine risk education (MRE) were conducted and still are conducted through the following activities:

  • Presentations and lectures in schools, public companies, by holding the panels;
  • TV/radio spots, jingles;
  • Theatre plays, cartoon, films like ''Bembo and friends against mines'' and ''Bembo on a dangerous road'', different performances;
  • In the period of 8 years, Daska theatre from Sisak played their play entitled ''No-no, mines'' for 200 times. The plays were seen by ca. 50.000 children and a number of adults;
  • The Norwegian People's Aid and Bembo Association covered over 6 000 children by their joint project in 2005 and 2006 – a theatre play for children in 32 schools located on the area of mine contaminated counties;
  • Educational notebooks and special booklets, informative leaflets;
  • A picture book ''The Danger on Carrot's Peak'' published;
  • A picture book ''Watch out-mines!'' published by the Centre for Neohumanist Studies. The publication was supported by the State Department through ITF (30.000 copies distributed in ca. 100 schools on the areas with SHA);
  • Media-covered projects, fairs, expositions with info-desks and promotional material;
  • Marking of April 4 - the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action'' and events related to ''April – month of struggle against mines'';
  • ''With Ladle against Mines'';
  • Traditional ''Night of Thousand Dinners'', later known as ''Dinner for Safe Step'' organized by the American Chamber of Commerce and Embassies of the USA and Canada;
  • Action ''Less Weapons, Less Tragedies'' organized by the Ministry of Interior and supported by the UNDP;
  • Different initiatives of show business people, concerts, art expositions, sports events where people speak of the mine problem in the Republic of Croatia;
  • Targeted press conferences.

Since the beginning of the implementation of mine risk education, over one million people (children and adults) took part in one of the above-mentioned activities through different programmes. Media coverage of the mine problem in the Republic of Croatia and informing the public about it has increased the above stated number several times.

Mine risk education activities conducted in the past few years including 2012:

  • Holding the regular co-ordination meetings with state administration bodies and associations implementing different educational programmes;
  • The communication established with relevant ministries, National Protection and Rescue Directorate, Croatian Fire Fighting Community, Croatian Tourist Community, Anti-explosive Departments of different Police Administrations, Croatian Hunting Association, employees of the National Parks and Parks of Nature was continued.
  • The implementation of education and informing in the framework of regional county co-ordination bodies.
  • Participation of CROMAC in joint panels entitled '' Children in Mine Surroundings'' organized by the Union of Association of Civil Victims of Homeland War of Croatia and supported by the Croatian Red Cross, CROMAC and Anti-Explosive Department of the Ministry of Interior. Several dozen panels were organized in the Osijek-Baranja, Vukovar-Srijem, Sisak-Moslavina, Šibenik-Knin, Zadar and Lika-Senj County. The panels were organized in the elementary schools and covered several hundred of children per each panel during which promotional materials were distributed.
  • Daska theatre from Sisak performed over 270 plays entitled ''No, no MINES!'' in almost every school in the mine-affected counties, often as part of other events such as opening of children's playgrounds organized by the Croatian Red Cross;
  • Association of the Croatian Homland War Victims of Virovitica-Podravina County held hundreds of lectures on the county area for several thousands of children.
  • The programme of marking the 4 April ''The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action'' in co-operation with other organizations – central event was held in Zagreb, Slavonski Brod, Tenja, Osijek, Sisak, Glina and Otočac. Many other events were held in Sisak, Osijek, Karlovac, Vinkovci, Zadar, Drniš and Šibenik by publishing graphic adds, spots and cartoons on the Croatian Television, radio programs, jingles at local radio stations, promotions, picture books.
  • Participation of CROMAC representatives in educational TV program, especially the ones from CROMAC regional offices in Osijek, Zadar and Karlovac.
  • Involvement in humanitarian actions: Square of Peace and SPES-for Croatia without Mines. The actions resulted in not only financial success but also achieved very good information and educational results.
  • Publishing an informative and promotional leaflets and booklets – distribution at local level for the area of Lika-Senj and Zadar-County.
  • Education of media representatives about mine action system during our continuous contacts.
  • The continuation of joint project of the Norwegian People's Aid – ''Mine Action Program in Croatia'' and ''BEMBO'' association. The play ''Bembo and friends against mines'' was seen by couple of thousands of children and adults in Zadar and Zagreb. The cartoons about mine danger with characters from the play were distributed to the children.
  • The plays of an amateur children's puppet theatre ''Pinokio'' from Knin entitled ''Watch out – a mine!'' and ''A dangerous game'' were seen by several thousands of children of kindergarten and elementary school age in the Croatian Army Hall and Knin fortress. On the occasion of marking the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, 6 plays were held for the children of Otočac, Kistanje, Vrlika and Drniš. They were donated picture books ''Watch out-mines!''. The picture book ''A dangerous game'' was also published and distributed to the children together with the corresponding DVD.
  • The participation of CROMAC representatives at the Hunting and Fishing Fair in Varaždin where the Croatian Hunting Association promoted a universal message about mine danger that has occasionally been broadcasted on the Croatian Television; the presence of CROMAC representatives at the Health Fair in Vinkovci, at the Hunting and Fishing Fair in Osijek with info-desks consisting of educational messages and mine situation display.
  • CROMAC was involved in the action entitled ''Less weapons, less tragedies'' together with the Ministry of Interior and UNDP that resulted in the fact that different mines are no longer thrown off to mined or demined areas. Anti-explosion departments were involved in lectures and workshops.
  • The Croatian Red Cross had been conducting its regular mine risk education program through the lectures, either individually or with other associations. It is an estimate that tens of thousands of children attended the lectures. CRC has been conducting the above-mentioned activities on a regular basis for years now in the counties facing the mine problem through 49 town and county associations and 65 trained instructors. Children's playgrounds in Županja, Valpovo, Vinkovci, Strošinci, Nova Grdaiška, Dragalić and Gračac have been built thanks to the CRC support.
  • National Geographic Junior published the picture schedule containing the warnings about mine danger created by CROMAC. It was seen by over 100.000 children all over Croatia receiving and reading the National Geographic Junior.
  • It can be seen from the analysis of the overall results that large number of children and adults took part in some form of mine risk education over the past few years.

Different mine risk education activities and quality marking of suspected hazardous area (SHA) affect the reduction of a number of mine victims what is confirmed by the fact that 3 mine incidents happened in 2012. This has been the smallest number since 1991 until today. 1 civilian was involved in mine incident and 2 deminers during the conduct of demining operations (One civilian and one deminer were killed by landmines.)

Appeal to all the citizens:

  • DO NOT ENTER MINE SUSPECTED AREAS
  • ADHERE TO MINE WARNING SIGNS
  • DO NOT REMOVE MINE WARNING SIGNS – BE RESPONSIBLE TOWARDS OTHER PEOPLE
  • DO NOT TOUCH UNKNOWN OBJECTS AND EXPLOSIVE REMNANTS OF WAR
  • MARK THE LOCATION OF MINE AND UXO DETECTION AND INFORM THE POLICE; CALL 192
  • INFORM THE URGENT ASSISTANCE SYSTEM AT 112
  • AVOID RISKY BEHAVIOUR – CALL FOR HELP
  • LEAVE DEMINING TO EXPERTS!

In accordance with its coordinative role and legal commitment, the Croatian Mine Action Centre will conduct mine risk education in 2013 through different programmes. In accordance with the funds available, the Daska theatre from Sisak shall perform mine risk education through their play ''No, no … mines'' all over mine contaminated counties of the Republic of Croatia and closely cooperate with CROMAC. County administrative departments sent their requests to CROMAC to define MRE-related priority schools. In Karlovac County priority schools shall be: elementary schools of Generalski Stol, Barilović, Josipdol, Plaški, Lasinja, Rakovica and Cetingrad. On the territory of Split-Dalmatia County, the theatre plays will be held in the elementary schools in Vrlika, Hrvace, Muć and three elementary schools on the territory of the Town of Sinj. In Zadar County, there will be 14 priority schools: Benkovac, Pridraga, Posedarje, Novigrad, Obrovac, Pakoštane, Jasenice, Stankovci, Polača, Poličnik, Bibinje, Sukošan, Škabrnja, Zemunik. In Požega-Slavonia County, priority schools shall be: Brestovac, Velika, Pakrac, Poljana, Lipik. In Vukovar-Srijem County: elementary schools of Nuštar, Stari Jankovci, Tordinci, Markušica, Strošinci, Lipovac, Račinovci, Mirkovci, Jarmina, Otok, Gunja and Privlaka. These are schools in the most mine-contaminated towns and municipalities of Vukovar-Srijem County. Administrative Department for Education, Culture, Sport and Technical Culture of Osijek-Baranja County proposed the following elementary schools: Osijek, Bilje, Darda, Jagodnjak, Šećerana, Lug, Vladislavci, Antunovac, Ernestinovo, Laslovo, Tenja, Valpovo and Petrijevci. Administrative Department for Social Services of Virovitica-Podravina County proposed the following elementary schools: Slatina, Čačinci, Nova Bukovica, Mikleuš and Vočin.

Mine risk education (MRE) activities in 2012:

In 2012, Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC) conducted the campaign during April aimed at raising public awareness of the mine problem. Until today, 1965 people have been involved in mine incidents in the Republic of Croatia out of which 508 were killed and 1113 suffered major bodily injuries. Most endangered groups were citizens living in the vicinity of mine-contaminated areas. Sometimes, these people ignore the precautionary measures due to existential problems and risk their own and other people's lives by entering suspected hazardous areas. With the beginning of spring, people start with agricultural activities and often forget that their fields, forests or meadows are contaminated by landmines. For these reasons, the most endangered population is included into different forms of mine risk education via electronic media, daily news and newspaper reports. They are also informed about responsible behaviour when passing by mine-contaminated areas. The most endangered groups are farmers, hunters, fishermen and children. Therefore, repeating warnings about mine danger is never enough.

For seven years now, the central event is marking April 4 – International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. In 2012, the event was held in Zagreb, on the Petar Preradović Square. The organizer was the Croatian Mine Action Centre. Among numerous participants, an important contribution was given by the Croatian Lottery. The Croatian Lottery created a lottery ticket ''Square of Happiness'' with the purpose of raising demining funds. Students and teachers of Matija Gubec elementary school contributed to marking April 4 by making posters, brochures and T-shirts which drew lots of attention of people who visited the exhibition stall looking for information about mine action in the Republic of Croatia. By symbolic raising of their trouser leg, the citizens extended support to the global ''Lend Your Leg'' campaign focused on raising global awareness of the mine problem and providing support to people who suffered permanent physical or psychological damage.

Events which marked April 2012 are as follows:

  • visit of the Croatian Ice Hockey Club Medveščak's players to the Croatian Mine Action Centre and ''22 April'' elementary school in Sisak, high school in Petrinja and suspected hazardous area (SHA) in the Mošćenica community;
  • mine risk education (MRE) for elementary school students in:
  • Rajić near the Town of Novska (organizer: scout unit ''Green patrol'' from Rajić),
  • Tenja (organizer: Association of Civil Victims from Homeland War of Croatia – Osijek-Baranja County),
  • Beli Manastir (organizer: Demining Committee, Lions Club Association, District 126 Croatia with the support of representatives of the Croatian Red Cross and Ministry of Interior)
  • theatre plays ''No, no…mines!'' by Daska theatre were held in the elementary schools in Rajić and Jasenovac,
  • participation in the action ''Less Arms-Less Tragedies'' in Glina
  • international symposium ''Humanitarian Demining 2012'' held in Šibenik, Croatia, 24-26 April,
  • 4th session of the extended Governor's Cabinet in the international association of Lions Clubs District 126 Croatia was held in Šibenik. It was agreed to increase the efforts focused on raising demining funds and involvement of other lions clubs from around the world into the same humanitarian action.
  • during April, members of the Croatian Red Cross and Homeland War Special Police Association held mine risk education (MRE) for farmers according to the project of the ''Croatia without Mines'' – Trust Fund for Humanitarian Demining of Croatia. MRE activities were held in ten mine-affected counties,
  • marking of April 4 in Vukovar was organized by the Red Cross Town Association Vukovar and members of Homeland War Special Police Association in order to remind the population of the mine danger,
  • Red Cross Town Association from Vinkovci organized an educative panel in the Stjepan Antolović elementary school in Privlaka. The panel was attended by representatives of Anti-explosion Department of the Vukovar-Srijem Police Administration. There was also a film screening organized. The main roles in the film entitled ''Nights and Breaks of Dawn'' were played by the children from Tordinci, Marinci and Vinkovci.
  • Town Association of Red Cross from Darda and association ''Our children'' from Darda held a workshop for the children of Darda elementary school. The workshop consisted of a play, dancing and singing.
  • Participation of CROMAC representatives in the mine danger-related programs of the Croatian radio and TV stations,
  • Television broadcasting of educative TV spots on the ''NET'' television,
  • Donor dinner in Kastav,
  • Completion of the action ''April-Month of Protection Against Mines'' in Smiljan near Gospić, Memorial Centre ''Nikola Tesla''. The event was attended by the president of the Republic of Croatia professor Ivo Josipović, Ph.D.

Planned activities in 2013

Mine risk education (MRE) will be conducted through different programmes such as:

  • Organization of regular co-ordination meetings with associations and institutions participating in the conduct of mine risk education (MRE) and mine victim assistance (MVA) activities, when necessary, twice or three times a year for each group of associations and institutions, in line with the legal regulations,
  • Participation in the joint panels ''Children in Mine Environment'' and similar lectures intended for endangered population, primarily the children. The panels intended for farmers and hunters will be organized in co-operation with the ''Croatia without Mines'' Trust Fund and, if needed, for the population living in the vicinity of suspected hazardous area (SHA),
  • Continuation of participation in the actions ''Less Arms-Less Tragedies'' organized by the Ministry of Interior,
  • Marking of April 4 – International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action in the Town of Drniš in co-operation with other subjects involved in the implementation of MRE activities,
  • Implementation of the action ''April – Month of Protection against Mines'', publication of picture adds, TV spots and educative cartoons in the programmes of national, regional and local radio and TV stations and other media,
  • Participation in the educative programmes about mine action and different humanitarian actions,
  • Encouragement of engagement of mine victims in mine action system,
  • Raising the awareness of the authorities of mine-contaminated counties about the need to allocate funds from the county budget for MRE and MVA activities in their county,
  • Make people aware of the danger threatening from suspected hazardous areas (SHA).

The theatre group ''Montažstroj'' has been implementing the project ''Dance for Mine-Free Croatia''. The idea is to visit 12 mine-contaminated Croatian counties and raise public awareness of the mine problem. CROMAC employees will be participating in the project as lecturers.
As part of the events organized for the purpose of raising public awareness of the mine problem, the population is also informed about danger threatening from unexploded ordinance (UXO). In 2013, it is planned to continue with the implementation of the programme about mine danger designed by the Croatian Red Cross. The projects of construction of playgrounds for children in mine-affected areas will be continued in accordance with funds available.
The promotional activities such as printing flyers and other educative materials, production of promotional caps etc. will also be continued.
Daska theatre from Sisak will continue playing their extremely popular educative theatre play ''No, no…MINES!'' in accordance with funds available.
In co-operation with BHMAC, there will be a project entitled ''Treasure Map'' implemented by which the children living in the border zone between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic of Croatia will be informed about mine danger through the picture book made by Jasen Brajlović.
In 2013, media and CROMAC (at www.hcr.hr) will report about the implementation of MRE activities in the Republic of Croatia on a regular basis.

NEWS

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MINE SITUATION

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416,40 km2

The Office for Mine Action
Cluster for humanitarian demining