‘Lanka to become mine-free nation in 2020’ | Daily News


National Policies Ministry states:

‘Lanka to become mine-free nation in 2020’

*Global partners impressed by our de-mining programme

The National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs Ministry yesterday said that Sri Lanka is short of clearing a stretch of about 18.5 square kilometres of landmines from its territory to become a country free of landmines.

Ministry Secretary V.Sivagnanasothy yesterday said the country faces no problem of uncleared mines except for that suspected area of 18.5 square kilometres.

“It originally had about an area of over 1,302 square kilometres identified as contaminated with landmines mainly in the disrtrict of Northern and Eastern Provinces,” Sivagnanasothy said. “We can become a mine-free nation in 2020,” he said.

“However,” he said. “the country will require immediate donor assistance to clear the balance contaminated areas.”

The total fund requirement for this is estimated to be at 30 million US dollars, according to Sivagnanasothy.

He said most countries are willing to support Sri Lanka’s demining programme because it has shown a tremedous progress compared to other countries.

“Norway has already committed 6.8 million US dollars for the programme,” he said.

Gnanasothy said the world has recognized Sri Lanka’s Mine Risk Education Program as a success story.

He said the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) and Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) closely collaborate with the Ministry to facilitate fund mobilization.

He said the country has been able to successfully reduce the injuries and deaths significantly through the Mine Risk Education Programme for which Unicef and other development partners closely collaborated.

A ministry press communique stated that the Mine Risk Education Programme covered the school children,teachers, community and also the vulnerable groups specially the metal scrap collectors and firewood collectors. Also the safe play areas were identified for children and thereby reduced the number of deaths and victims significantly as compared to other countries.

This message was considered a success story by many partner countries which participated in the Geneva Forum. “Victim Assistance is an area where globally not much attention has been given in the past and an area which has been under-funded,” it stated.

The progress made by Sri Lanka on Mine Action Programme had been commended at a review meeting by ambassador Hans Brattskar, Permanent Representative of Norway to the UNO in Geneva; Asa Massleberg, Advisor,Strategic Management, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian De-mining; ambassador Stefano Toscano, Director of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian De-mining and other partner countries.


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