MAG is pleased to join more than 150 organisations today in calling for humanitarian disarmament to pave the way to an improved post-pandemic world.

Their open letter has been endorsed by global campaigns that have garnered two Nobel Peace Prizes and fostered the creation of four international treaties in the past 25 years, including the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, of which MAG was a founding member in 1992. 

It argues that humanitarian disarmament's proven human-centred approach should guide current and future efforts in dealing with the pandemic and advancing human security.

The letter’s signatories include local, national, regional, and international organisations from around the world. The widespread support underscores how seriously the humanitarian disarmament community views the call.

Humanitarian disarmament seeks to reduce the human suffering and environmental damage inflicted by weapons. Today, organisations and charities working in the sector are arguing that to reduce global harm, the money currently invested in unacceptable weapons would be better spent on humanitarian endeavours, including; clearing landmines and explosive ordnance, and assisting the victims of those weapons.

“Humanitarian disarmament can help pave the way to a more equitable, sustainable future for everyone,” says MAG’s Chief Executive, Darren Cormack. 

“Our work clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance shows just what can be achieved when money is invested in removing weapons – families can use their land to grow food and make a living, refugees can return home, and countless lives and limbs are saved.”

As COVID-19 exacerbates inequalities and presents new challenges for conflict survivors and other persons with disabilities, the letter also warns against entrenching marginalisation. It calls for inclusive and non-discriminatory measures to bring affected communities into decision-making. 

During the pandemic, international diplomacy has gone digital, creating the possibility for more meaningful and inclusive participation. This week, MAG has been attending the intersessional meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty – taking place in a virtual format for the first time. The letter argues for seizing these opportunities while ensuring accessibility and inclusivity. It also stresses that cooperation—including the coordination, information exchange, and resource sharing that underlie humanitarian disarmament agreements—is essential to addressing global issues.

The letter concludes with a call to prioritise human security, allocate spending on humanitarian causes, work to eliminate inequalities, ensure multilateral forums incorporate diverse voices, and bring a cooperative mindset to problems of practice and policy.