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Abstract

In many countries, improvised explosive devices (IED), including improvised landmines, now constitute more of a threat to civilians than factory-manufactured landmines and other conventional weapons. The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor 2016 reported that the total number of casualties from victim-operated IEDs, which act in a similar manner to anti-personnel mines, increased from 1,075 in 2014 to 1,331 in 2015, the highest annual total of IED casualties recorded since 1999.1 In response to this, humanitarian mine action organizations are expanding their scope of activities to include IED awareness for civilians either as a stand-alone activity or by integrating messages on IEDs into traditional mine risk education (MRE) sessions. This article explores the protection concerns related to the conduct of any educational activities on IEDs, with a particular focus on south-central Somalia. The article also discusses the challenges that exist for humanitarian organizations to successfully plan and implement IED awareness while upholding the principle of “do no harm.” Furthermore, the article argues that there is a need to recognize that educational activities related to IEDs must be approached with methodologies, messages, and materials specific to these devices, as opposed to simply copying those that are considered to be effective for MRE.

 

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