Prince Mired lauds SL’s effort’s to be mine free | Daily News

Prince Mired lauds SL’s effort’s to be mine free

Ambassador A. L. A. Azeez-Prince Mired Bin Ra’ad Bin Zeid Al-Hussein
Ambassador A. L. A. Azeez-Prince Mired Bin Ra’ad Bin Zeid Al-Hussein

Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General promoting universalisation of the Ottawa Convention Prince Mired Bin Ra’ad Bin Zeid Al-Hussein said he was impressed by Sri Lanka’s seriousness to ensure it is mine free by 2020.

He was speaking at a panel discussion chaired by Sri Lanka Permanent Representative Ambassador A. L. A. Azeez, in Geneva on November 30. Ambassadors, delegates, civil society and other volunteers participated in the ‘Mine Free Sri Lanka 2020’ event, co-organised by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva and the Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines.

The event took place on the sidelines of the 17th Meeting of States Parties (17 MSP) to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.

Commending the commitment of Sri Lanka and all its implementing partners, Prince Mired lauded Sri Lanka’s progress, which he witnessed on a recent visit to the country, as “a unique example.”

Making opening remarks as the Chair of the Panel, Ambassador Azeez said, “The tremendous amount of work that was done on the ground, paving the way for the release of land and the resettlement of affected persons, makes the case of Sri Lanka distinct from other situations elsewhere.”

Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Northern Development Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy, making a keynote presentation, explained the strategic approach intended to make Sri Lanka mine free by 2020 and provided an outline of the remaining challenges, including risks and impacts, associated with contamination and resource constraints.

He also briefed participants on the resettlement work conducted following demining, as well as achievements made. He paid tribute to key implementing partners including the Sri Lanka Army and many other national and international organisations, as well as donors, for their support for Sri Lanka’s efforts towards advancing development and building sustainable peace.

A video documentary produced by the Government Information Department on ‘Quest for a mine-free land’ was screened. The main activities under the Mine Action Programme including mine risk education, victim assistance, and how the returnees were rebuilding their lives remained the central focus of the documentary.

The panel included HALO representative C. Wallen, expert from MAG L. Jones, the mine action implementation partners engaged in demining in Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Land Mines coordinator Vidya Abhayagunawardena.

Speaking on the gender dimension of mine action programme in Sri Lanka, Deputy Permanent Representative Samantha Jayasuriya said women involved in demining made difficult and risky efforts “taking it beyond mere employment with the hope to see a better future for future generations.” She invited continued support to empower the women affected by the conflict.

Earlier in the day, Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy presented Sri Lanka’s first transparency report under Article 7 of the Convention to senior officer of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, Peter Kolarov.

The report provides a comprehensive account on contaminated areas, destruction of mines, stockpiles, and efforts in mine risk education and victim assistance prepared through a stakeholder consultation, coordinated by National Mine Action Centre, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Northern Development Ministry, Defence Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry.


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