- Extends another grant of Rs. 90.7 million for humanitarian demining for DASH
By Shanika Sriyananda
The Japanese Government, which has been provided $ 32 million for demining activities in the North and the East so far, yesterday commended the Government’s efforts to become the 163rd State Party to the Ottawa Convention to become mine-free by 2020.
Ambassador of Japan Kenichi Suganuma said humanitarian demining in Sri Lankan was one of the priority projects of the Japanese Government and it would continue to provide assistance to make mine-contaminated areas safe lands for internally displaced people to return to and restore their livelihoods.
“We have extended our support for another year to demine the remaining areas of Kilinochchi,” he said at a ceremony held at the embassy yesterday.
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction known as the Ottawa Convention or the ‘Mine Ban Treaty’ seeks to end the use of antipersonnel landmines worldwide.
The Japanese Government has granted Rs. 90.7 million for humanitarian demining in the North under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project to the Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH).
The grant contact was signed between Ambassador Suganuma and DASH Director/Program Manager Ananda Chandrasiri.
Suganuma said that since 2010 the Japanese Government had provided $ 5 million to DASH so far to continue demining activities. “DASH will use the grant given today to demine the contaminated areas in the Kilinochchi District,” he said, praising DASH for engaging in an accident-free demining process.
DASH Director Chandrasiri said that DASH getting a grant for humanitarian demining for another year was more significant as it had happened a week after Sri Lanka became the 163rd country under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, commonly known as the Ottawa Convention, for which Japan has been a signatory for 20 years.
“Sri Lanka’s accession to the convention has not only reiterated the Sri Lankan Government’s commitment towards achieving a long-lasting peace in our country, but also Sri Lanka’s observance of international humanitarian law norms,” he said, adding that among all friendly donor countries of Sri Lanka, Japan remains the leading supporter for mine action.
Chandrasiri said that Japanese-funded demining programs had ensured the safe return of a large number of internally displaced people as it helped to release nearly 4.8 square kilometres of mines-free land and to remove over 38,500 landmines and 36,000 other items of explosive remnants of war (ERW),” he said.
DASH, which is a local non-profit humanitarian demining organisation with over 400 de-miners, is engaged in demining activities in the Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya districts.
“The Sri Lankan program is one of the most successful mine action stories in the world,” he said. “Generous assistance provided by Japan for mine action in Sri Lanka is of paramount importance to our country and our people, and it is appreciated by every Sri Lankan alike.”