18 years ago today, countries around the world came together to sign the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personal Mines and on their Destruction – commonly referred to as the “Ottawa Convention” or “Mine Ban Treaty.” This historic treaty aims to eliminate the use anti-personal landmines around the world as well as their production, stockpiling and acquisition. On that December day in 1997, 122 countries signed that they would adhere to the treaty’s terms and Roots of Peace stood right beside them to cheer them on.

As an organization whose mission it is to remove these weapons of war and lay the foundation for lasting peace, December 3rd is always a very special day for us. It reminds us of the global community’s commitment to ensuring that these seeds of terror will not maim another farmer or child again and that one day we may see a mine free world.

We’ve come a long way since 1997 — the number of new landmines laid is down and the number of mines coming out of the ground has increased — but the journey is far from over. Over 70 million landmines still contaminate the earth and they will remain there until the world removes them.

And so today, Roots of Peace along with nations around the world, are reaffirming our commitment to seeing a mine free world. We look forward to a day when the goals of the Ottawa Convention become a reality and the lives of innocent farmers and children are not at risk because of a landmine beneath their feet.