The Government of Japan has provided a total sum of $ 636,363 (approx. Rs. 115 million) to the HALO Trust for humanitarian demining activities in northern Sri Lanka.
The grant contract was signed on 29 October between Japanese Ambassador Sugi-yama Akira and HALO Trust Program Manager Belinda Vause. Due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation, the contract was signed remotely.
The project will contribute to the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in ensuring that mine-contaminated areas are safe, enabling the resettlement of the displaced people and enhancing directly or indirectly more than 5,000 people’s livelihoods in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Jaffna Districts.
Japan has been a major donor in the area of mine clearance in Sri Lanka since 2002, and the only country which assists all the four demining NGOs currently operating in Sri Lanka. More than $ 37.5 million in assistance was rendered towards this cause through its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
HALO started its operation in Sri Lanka in 2002, and has released over 35km2 of contaminated land in the country. More than 20% of it was accomplished through the assistance from Japan.
The Government aims to achieve a mine impact free Sri Lanka within a few years and become the next mine impact free country in the world. Through the project the Government of Japan assists this endeavour and ensures the country to be safe for all.
Commenting on the provision of this grant, Vause stated: “The HALO Trust is incredibly grateful to the Government of Japan for this continued support. Across the world, Japan has an honourable history of providing humanitarian assistance to clear landmines in post conflict countries and few places is that more evident than in Sri Lanka.
“Japan is currently funding four demining operators in Sri Lanka and over the last 17 years, Japanese support to the HALO Trust alone has led to the clearance of 9.12 square kilometres of contaminated land and the removal of over 94,000 mines and other explosive remnants of war. This has been achieved through the employment of hundreds of men and women in the post-conflict areas, providing a noble income.
“Once the land is cleared from these deadly legacies of war, it is safe to live upon or to farm again, enabling economic growth. To date the work of HALO’s Japan-funded mine clearance teams has helped over 200,000 people. In this endeavour Japan is supporting the Government of Sri Lanka to reach their goal – to clear Sri Lanka of landmines.”
Source : Daily FT