Demining assistance, Japan's high priority - Embassy official

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 16 March 2004, 18:18 GMT]
"The government of Japan is closely observing the emergency humanitarian needs of the people in the northeast in Sri Lanka and is supporting the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in demining operations," said Mr.H.Onishi, First Secretary Japan Embassy in Colombo, Tuesday, while addressing at the inauguration ceremony of The Japan Center for Conflict Programme (JCCP) in Vavuniya.

Japan Demining
(Click for a larger image)
“So far, Japan has contributed a total sum of 2,527,986 US Dollars for mine clearance activities in Sri Lanka” he said.

“Even though two years have passed since the cease-fire agreement, we recognize that there are still approximately 400, 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the north and east of Sri Lanka. The biggest obstacle to the IDPs’ safe return to their places of origin and livelihood is the threat from landmines. It has been estimated that approximately1.5 m. mines and unexploded ordinances (UXOs) still remain in the northeast,” he said.

“Humanitarian and de-mining activities have been mainly implemented in the northeast parts of Sri Lanka since the mutual cease-fire agreement between the Sri Lanka Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in February 2002. The GOSL has given high priority to de-mining work and has established the National Steering Committee for Mine Action (NSCMA) to accelerate mine clearance acitivities in the northeast with a target to free Sri Lanka of mines by the end of 2006,” he said.

“To maintain world peace and ensure global prosperity, Japan has been intensively supporting various acitivities to facilitate the peace process and to eliminate causes of conflicts. The Japanese government places considerable importance on peace building and prevention of conflicts in its Official Development Assistance (ODA) policy. The ODA is utilized for implementing humanitarian and rehabilitation programme such as assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs), restoration of basic infrastructure as well as in the field of social and economic development. The support towards the de-mining activities is one of the key elements of our assistance,” he added.

Japan Demining
Mr.S.M.Hakeem the Programme Manager of the UN Mine Action Office, Vavuniya is addressing the crowd.
Japan Demining
Mr.Eiki Sasai the Representative of JCCP in Sri Lanka is addressing the gathering

Japan Demining
Mr.K.Ganesh, GA Vavuniya is addressing the crowd.
Japan Demining
Mr.H.Onishi, first Secretary to the Japanese Embassy in Colombo is addressing the gathering.

Japan Demining
Mr.H.Onishi, first Secretary to the Japanese Embassy in Colombo is seen awarding the certificate to the newly trained de-miners of the JCCP.

Mr.K.Ganesh, Government Agent Vavuniya, Mr.S.M.Hakeem, District Co-ordinator of UN Mine Action Office Vavuniya and representatives of other mine action groups,Sarvothra (Indian Team), FSD (Swiss Team), and Danish Demining Group also attended the function.

Elki Sasai, Representative JCCP Office in Sri Lanka delivered the welcome speech.

34 JCCP trained deminers were awarded with certificates on completion of their one month training. Officials said that they will start demining in Ganeshapuram from 17 March.


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