Friday, April 08, 2011

Sri Lanka: More Australian aids for mine clearance operations

Source: Ministry of Defence - Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

The government of Australia has recently released an additional Rs. 480 million (A$ 4.25 million) for demining operations in Sri Lanka.

The funding was granted in conjunction with the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, observed on April 4.

The objective of the release of this additional funding is, to accelerate mine surveys, clearance and mine risk education in the Northern and Eastern Provinces by local and international demining agencies. In addition, it will also support mine action coordination activities led by the Sri Lanka National Mine Action Centre.

The former Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith MP announced Australia's commitment to help the Government to achieve its goal of a mine free nation by 2020, during a visit to Sri Lanka, in November 2009.

Australia so far had granted approximately Rs 1.4 billion (A$ 14 million) over the last two years, including for the procurement of much needed equipment for mine clearance activities; thus, enabled more than 70 square kilometres of land to be cleared and released for resettlement.

Australia's contribution recognizes the critical need to help displaced people to return home safely and to re-establish their livelihoods in their places of origin. Australia's support to mine action remains a key component of its overall support for reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in the North. Dignified return and recovery of communities in the North will be crucial for long-term peace and stability in Sri Lanka.