The Slovenia Times

ITF marks silver jubilee as global humanitarian powerhouse

Zagreb, Croatia
Photo: Hina/STA

ITF Enhancing Human Security, a Slovenian-run organisation involved in demining and mine victims assistance, is marking its 25th anniversary, having evolved from a small regional organisation into a global humanitarian powerhouse that is active in 19 countries.

Established by the Slovenian government in March 1998, ITF initially aimed to help Bosnia-Herzegovina in its post-war recovery.

From the get-go the organisation's mission has been to strengthen security and facilitate the reconstruction and development of countries hit by armed conflicts.

With the help of donor countries and organisations, ITF addresses both the immediate and long-term consequences caused by landmines, explosive remnants of war or other hazards that remain after the end of an armed conflict.

Speaking at an event marking the anniversary at the Presidential Palace on 4 April, ITF director Tomaž Lavrenčič recalled that initially, the organisation was not supposed to remain active for so long.

"The need for humanitarian action, humanitarian demining and assistance to women and children has grown disproportionately over the 25 years of the organisation's existence," he said.

Because of this need, ITF has evolved into a global humanitarian powerhouse that is now active worldwide, including in countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Iraq and Ukraine.

So far, ITF has helped "deactivate and destroy 347,000 landmines, clear 191 million square metres of land and destroy 7.6 million pieces of ammunition".

The organisation has provided prostheses for nearly 1,600 people and helped 32,000 people through its psychosocial support programmes.

Thanking all the donor countries, Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar called on them to keep up and strengthen their humanitarian efforts.

She urged campaigns for an international system that would ensure everyone is guaranteed the basic rights, such as the rights to peace, security and protection from the horrors of war.

Unimaginable human rights violations are taking place as adults and children, particularly those in Ukraine, are victims of attacks with all kinds of weapons, and communities and countries are struggling, the president told the anniversary event.

The victims of explosives cannot live a full life since they are deprived of the basic necessities. "And so it is of great importance to help with generous donations in efforts to remove and destroy explosive remnants of war, provide medical care and retraining for victims of conflict and to restore human dignity," she said.

South Korea's Ambassador Ham Sang Wook, who took over as chair of the ITF advisory committee on the occasion, underlined that his country had been contributing to the organisation's development nearly from the very beginning.

Since South Korea itself witnessed the devastating effects of war, the country is aware that speeding up post-conflict reconstruction can be achieved only through international cooperation, he said.

He announced that South Korea had doubled its annual contribution to ITF to €390,000. In total, it has so far donated more than €2.2 million.


More from Politics