On Wednesday, April 19, the UXO/Demining caucus celebrated Mine Awareness Day on the Hill with an exhibition and reception. The exhibition featured interactive learning displays, a VR experience, and informational exhibits from HALO and other leading demining organizations. Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH-6) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-6) welcomed Congressional staff and members of the demining community to the yearly event, which is a time for NGOs and policymakers alike to come together to celebrate the progress of demining, highlight the impact of U.S. demining programs and leadership abroad, and refocus on the path forward.
“In 60 countries these lethal devices continue to claim lives, including the lives of far too many young children simply doing what children do, and should be able to continue to do, whether that’s play outside or walk to school. […] We must continue to stand with families living in countries that have fallen out of the headlines yet continue to suffer from the presence of mines.” – Representative Bill Johnson
“The theme for the United Nations Mine Awareness Day right now is Mine Action Cannot Wait, and as bombs continue to fall across Ukraine, as mines threaten lives in Colombia, Iraq and beyond, and explosive materials and weapons continue to flow across many borders, fueling violence at the hands of criminal groups, I very much agree with this sentiment which is that mine action cannot wait.” – Representative Chrissy Houlahan
Attendees also heard moving words from Assistant Secretary for the Political Military Affairs Bureau at the Department of State, Jessica Lewis, and Sean Burke, Director of the Army’s Humanitarian Demining Research & Development program.
“I’m so thrilled for the ongoing and continued bipartisan support for the incredible work that all of you do. […] Our humanitarian mine action efforts make a real-world impact for people and countries around the world, helping them recover vast tracks of land to build a better and brighter future.” – Assistant Secretary Jessica Lewis, PM/WRA
“Our program has been providing new technology for nearly 20 years, and is directly responsible for the clearance of over 400,000 mines and UXO in 44 different countries. […] The HD R&D program will continue the development of new state-of-the-art technologies to promote stability and assist in the eradication of mines and UXO.” - Sean Burke, Director, Army’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development
Click here to learn more about the UXO/Demining Caucus and to invite your Representative to join.
See the speaking program from the event below: