Japan provides $ 1,266,738 for humanitarian demining in Northern Sri Lanka

Saturday, 14 March 2015 00:52 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Japanese Government has provided a sum of $ 1,266,738 (Rs. 164 million) in aid to two organisations for humanitarian demining in Northern Sri Lanka, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project scheme (GGP). The two projects concerned are the Project for Humanitarian Mine Action to Support Resettlement and Development in the Mannar District, implemented by the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), with a sum of $ 539,702 (approximately Rs. 70 million), and ‘The Project for Peace Building and Rehabilitation through Demining in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka’, implemented by Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony Sri Lanka (DASH) with a sum of $ 727,036 (Rs. 94 million). It is expected that these projects will contribute to expediting the efforts of the Sri Lanka Government to demine areas and make them safe for people to return to and resume their livelihood. Japan has been a major donor supporting mine clearance in Sri Lanka to accelerate the return and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and to facilitate recommencement of agriculture and other livelihood activities of returnees. Since 2003, the Japanese Government has provided a sum of $ 27 million for demining activities in the North and the East under its Grant Assistance schemes. The two grant contracts were signed between Japanese Ambassador Nobuhito Hobo, MAG Country Director Gregory Secomb and DASH Program Manager Ananda Chandrasiri on 13 March 2015 at the Ambassador’s residence in Colombo. Commenting on the provision of this grant, Secomb noted: “MAG Sri Lanka is very pleased to be able to renew our partnership with the Government of Japan for this new Grassroots Grant for Human Security Project. The demining operations that will be conducted through this project will further enable MAG to make a lasting impact on the people of Sri Lanka by improving the safety of the local community affected by the conflict and create livelihood opportunities through the release of safe land. This contribution by the Government of Japan is very important in helping the Government of Sri Lanka achieve the goal of becoming free from the impact of landmines, and MAG is committed to being a key implementing partner towards realising this goal.” DASH Program Manager Chandrasiri noted that the contamination caused by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Sri Lanka had been dramatically reduced through the generous assistance of the international community, with Japan taking the lead. However, there still remain areas in the Northern Province that require demining work in order for development of infrastructure and livelihood to proceed, an essential requirement for the success of the Government’s ongoing peace and reconciliation process. The prime factor contributing to the peace building process is the availability of livelihood opportunities to young people that offers a source of income for them, and most importantly due recognition in their society.