ITF Marks 25th Anniversary with the President of Slovenia
ITF Enhancing Human Security was established in 1998 on the Government of the Republic of Slovenia initiative to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in implementing the peace agreement and help clear land contaminated with landmines. Over the last 25 years, ITF has expanded its activities to many other countries and territories. Today, with humanitarian and human security programmes that go beyond mine action, ITF operates in 19 countries around the world, including Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Libya, Jordan, all Western Balkan countries and also in Moldova and Ukraine.
“Since 1998, ITF has grown into one of the most internationally recognised Slovenian institutions. ITF is a beacon of Slovenian foreign policy, through which we are trying to bring elements of peace and reconciliation to places where guns and explosions have drowned out silence. It also strives to restore a modicum of human security and human dignity to the victims of conflicts around the world. Since we are currently witnessing a time of great international crisis, this mission is invaluable. Thank you to the ITF for its work over the last 25 years, and above all, thank you to the donor countries who make this indispensable institution possible. Your donations, as well as your presence here today, confirm the high level of consensus among the countries you represent in Slovenia on the importance of humanitarian action as one of the central themes of foreign policy,” the President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr. Nataša Pirc Musar stressed.
President Dr. Pirc Musar called on ITF donors and partners to continue and intensify their humanitarian work: “Today, unimaginable human rights violations are taking place before our eyes. Adults and children, especially in Ukraine, are the victims of indiscriminate attacks with every weapon imaginable, entire communities and countries are in dire need, and the importance of individuals deprived of the most basic human dignity, unfortunately especially women, is steadily sliding down a slippery slope with no end in sight. I urge you as an international community founded on the universal human rights principle, to continue your noble work of helping the victims of conflict, especially children and women. Strengthen the universal framework of human rights and human dignity values, which should be integral to our foreign policy. Continue to work actively for the implementation of an international system which, without exception or excuse, guarantees all such basic rights as the right to peace, the right to protection from the horrors of war and from the explosive remnants of war, the right to basic human dignity, the right to human security”.
On the event of the 25th anniversary of the organization, ITF Director, Amb. Tomaž Lovrenčič began by thanking his colleagues and collaborators from all 19 countries where ITF is currently implementing its humanitarian programmes. He paid special tribute to the ITF's most vital donors in recent years, namely Slovenia, the United States of America, the European Commission, Germany, Austria, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the Czech Republic, Serbia, the Central European Initiative, and in the previous years, Turkey, Spain, Hungary, OPEC, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Canada, Norway and others, including several private donors.
“Over the past 25 years, we have cleared over 191 million square metres of mine-contaminated areas, assisted in physically rehabilitating 1,600 people, and provided emergency psychosocial support to 32,000 individuals through our humanitarian programmes. We have removed nearly 350,000 mines and other unexploded ordnance, saving at least an equal number of lives or limbs. None of this would have been possible without our donors and partners, to whom we extend our gratitude, especially on behalf of the individuals and communities we support”. Lovrenčič emphasized that “when faced with war, with conflict, with injustice, with suffering, we cannot look the other way. In the case of human suffering, we cannot be neutral. We have to act”! He added that “some crises go beyond our capacity to understand and process. But every long journey starts with the first step and help after every catastrophe starts with the first handshake and the first embrace”. He kindly asked the donors of ITF to maintain their “humanitarian ideals as a strong basis for their foreign policy, to remain committed to those who have been robbed of their happiness, security and freedom, and to join forces, as a coalition of humanity, to help those in greatest need”.
The reception hosted by the President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr. Nataša Pirc Musar was attended by ambassadors of countries that support the ITF. On this occasion, President Dr. Pirc Musar opened an exhibition of photographs showing the work of ITF in different countries.