MAG began operating in Iraq in 1992 and is the longest-serving mine action operator in the northern region of Iraq.
Last weekend, MAG marked the 25th anniversary of its Iraq programme with a special event in Erbil. In the past 25 years, MAG has removed and destroyed more than 167,000 mines, more than 2,000,000 UXO and more than 11,000 improvised landmines and booby traps.
This work has made more than 104km2 of land safe for use.
MAG began operating in Iraq in the wake of the Anfal emergency caused by Saddam Hussein’s campaign against the Kurds.
Immediately after the Iraq War in 2003, there was a mass movement of people into the heavily mined “Green Line” area where MAG responded with vital humanitarian mine action, helping to save lives.
Now, a new landmine emergency faces Iraq in the wake of the conflict against Da’esh, to which MAG is once again responding.
MAG has grown into one of the leading actors in humanitarian mine action. The organisation has a significant presence in Iraq, as well as in current and former conflict zones around the globe.
Although MAG has achieved much success during decades of hard work, there is still much to be done.
In Iraq, unexploded bombs lie hidden in rubble, houses are booby-trapped and landmines litter roads and farmland; meaning that people who have already survived the horrors of war then have to live in fear from these hidden dangers.
By removing and destroying dangerous items and conducting risk education, MAG is reducing the threat of death and injury. At a time when they are most vulnerable, MAG provides people with the opportunity to live free from fear and gives them hope for a better future.
MAG trains and employs people from the regions it operates in alongside international staff. These teams work tirelessly in difficult situations to allow people to return home, farm their land and live in safety. Children can play free from the fear of a hidden killer and communities can rebuild their lives.
None of this is possible without the dedication of MAG’s staff and the generosity of our donors over the years. In particular, we recognise the bravery, commitment and sacrifice of our staff, national and international, who have worked tirelessly through often difficult and even dangerous times. We are also grateful for the ongoing support of the Government Authorities including in the long term cooperation with the Iraqi Kurdish Mine Action Agency (IKMAA).
MAG’s life-saving work will continue to rely on the support of donors and national authorities. While the task that lies ahead is enormous, it is not insurmountable and MAG is committed to helping those left vulnerable long after the conflict has ended.
International Communications ManagerSean Sutton