PeaceTrees VietNam: Real World Minecraft | UNA Greater Seattle Chapter

United Nations Association Greater Seattle Chapter

PeaceTrees VietNam: Real World Minecraft

January 10th, 2016 by unaseattle

Submitted by: Eugene Martin, UNA Seattle President

At the annual commemoration of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, held at Seattle’s Town Hall on December 10, 2015, the UNA Greater Seattle Chapter presented the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for the advancement of human rights to PeaceTrees Vietnam. The award was accepted by PeaceTrees Executive Director Claire Yunker.

PeaceTrees Vietnam is a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that works in central Vietnam’s Quang Tri province to clear land areas of unexploded devices and restore the land to active use as farmland, for kindergartens, playgrounds and community centers. The organization also supports farmers in launching agricultural projects such as black pepper harvesting to provide income.

Since its founding in 1995, PeaceTrees Vietnam has focused primarily on assisting people who are endangered by “the explosive remnants of war” by conducting demining as well as public education projects on the risks of the remaining mines. This removal of unexploded devices provides a safer environment and the opportunity to restore the land to productive use. Demining in areas adjacent to schools and homes further advances the safety and security of persons who live, work, study and play nearby.

Now entering its twenty-first year, PeaceTrees Vietnam continues its programs which have removed and carefully disposed of more than 90,000 explosive devices. The organization has also built one hundred family homes, twelve libraries, ten kindergartens (including the Good Heart Kindergarten which was completed in 2015 in the village of Xi Nuc) and two community centers during its first two decades. “We’re replacing ordnance with hope in 2015” is PeaceTrees’ invitation for others to join in  the organization’s life-saving and restorative work.

PeaceTrees Vietnam’s work fulfills many of the articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among them Article 3, which provides for the right of security for the individual.  Article 23, providing for just and favorable work conditions, focuses on the right to be physically secure in one’s place of employment.   The right to basic education, in Article 26, is a further human right which PeaceTrees Vietnam has assured through its opening of schools for young children on land that was once dangerous to walk upon.

The Eleanor Roosevelt Award is presented each year by UNA Greater Seattle Chapter to an individual or organization in the Puget Sound region that works toward the advancement and preservation of human rights. The annual ceremony commemorating international Human Rights Day is sponsored by the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.

For more information on PeaceTrees Vietnam and the organization’s upcoming plans, go to www.peacetreesvietnam.org


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