04 November 2011

With three weeks to go until the 11MSP, ICBL interviewed Amir Mujanovic (Muja), the Executive Director of Landmine Survivors Initiatives and ICBL Campaigner. Here Muja shares his experience of working in a country affected by landmines and his work with survivors who have inspired him. In the run up to the 11MSP, which is being held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, between 28 November and 2 December 2011, the ICBL will be highlighting the amazing work of some of our campaigners from around the world. Read their stories in their own words and how they are working hard to Push For Progress towards a mine free world.

1) When and how did you become involved with the ICBL?

I represent Landmine Survivors Initiatives, formerly known as a Bosnia and Herzegovina branch office of Landmine Survivors Network, the nongovernmental organization that was a part of the ICBL from the very beginning of the campaign. Landmine Survivors Network was committed to integrate Victim Assistance into Mine Ban Treaty and that was a key motive of our involvement with the ICBL at the time. There are many colleagues from Landmine Survivors Initiatives who have been involved with ICBL for a long time, while I became involved 3 years ago when I became Executive Director of the organization.

2) Why did you become involved?

Personal experience, inspired by others in the campaign, political or humanitarian interest, or something else entirely? Since Landmine Survivors Initiatives runs a national Victim Assistance program, I thought that the ICBL is a useful forum to meet and exchange experience with other colleagues in order to make our programme and approach more relevant and sustainable. Coming from an organization that was established by survivors for survivors, I have been privileged to work with and meet many remarkable survivors who have been seen as role model in rebuilding war torn communities in my country. They have been a true inspiration for me and the best illustration of the power of the human spirit to overcome the challenges they faced. I felt compelled to share their experiences and stories in order to promote and advance survivors rights and ICBL is definitely the best global forum for it.

3) As an ICBL national campaigner how would you like to see states – either your country or others – Push for Progress at the 11MSP?

Mine action is in a crucial and challenging phase in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On paper there is ambitious national Mine Action Strategy with the goal of Bosnia and Herzegovina free of mines by 2019. However in reality there is no enough national ownership and strategic leadership. This results in lack of effective resource mobilization and no sufficient funds. Without these essential elements we won’t achieve mine-free Bosnia and Herzegovina any time soon. In addition survivors in my country are still in a very difficult situation, often faced with social and economic exclusion, with limited access to services. We would like to see our decision makers putting mine action much higher on their agenda and taking more concrete steps to put the ambitious plans into action. We will continue working together with the authorities and the ICBL to push for more progress, until Bosnia and Herzegovina is mine-free.

4) What message do you have for anyone out there who isn’t aware of the lethal threat landmines still pose for thousands of civilians every day?

Mines still pose a serious threat to people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, though we have been struggling with the challenge for the past sixteen years. There were six mine incidents, with 4 dead, just over last 90 days. However, the situation in some other countries is much worse and it is evident that more has to be done to get rid of mines and address the needs of thousands of landmine survivors. States Parties including my country Bosnia and Herzegovina should step up efforts to turn the Cartagena Action Plan into action. This generation has a unique opportunity to provide a key contribution in achieving our ultimate goal – a mine free world. Let us grab the chance and make it! This would be the crucial momentum towards more the ambitious goal of barrier and victim free world.