via British High Commission, Sri Lanka
The British High Commissioner made this remarks on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness. The United Nations observes the International Day for Mine Awareness every year.
This year theme was “A landmine-free world within reach”.
The British High Commission (BHC) in Colombo invited The Halo Trust (a leading UK-based demining agency working in Sri Lanka) to make a presentation on demining activities in Sri Lanka and demining work internationally to mark this significant day. The talk was held on Friday, 8 April and attended by the staff from the BHC and several other foreign missions.
In his interesting and educational presentation, the Country Manager of The HALO Trust, Adam Jasinski, said there are approximately 4,000 demining personnel currently working in Sri Lanka – probably the second largest number globally.
The UK has allocated £13.5 million for humanitarian assistance in Sri Lanka thorough its development agency DFID, since September 2008. Of these funds, over £ 1 million has been spent on demining activities. In February 2011, visiting UK Minister Alistair Burt announced further £3 million funding towards demining in Sri Lanka.
Commenting on the importance of this day, British High Commissioner H E John Rankin said, “In its humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka, the UK government has given full attention to demining activities from the outset. Sri Lanka has achieved commendable results in its demining activities. We welcome the fact that displaced Sri Lankans will be able to return to their homes and rebuild their lives and communities.“
About International Day for Mine Awareness
On 8 December 2005, the General Assembly declared that 4 April of each year shall be officially proclaimed and observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. It called for continued efforts by States, with the assistance of the United Nations and relevant organizations, to foster the establishment and development of national mine-action capacities in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war constitute a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of the civilian population, or an impediment to social and economic development at the national and local levels.