Afghanistan: Provincial governor of Pakita donates land to 26 injured deminers

Kabul, 28 May 2007 - H.E. Mr. Rahmatullah Rahmat, the Governor of the province of Paktia, has donated land to 26 deminers who were the victims of mine accidents. Governor Rahmat, who signed the official documents on 16 May, said that he greatly appreciated the deminers' work throughout Afghanistan.

"Demining is the most difficult and the most important work in the country," he said. "It paves the way for development, reconstruction, and investment, and it contributes to stability and peace. The work of deminers should be respected, and Afghan authorities have to look after their deminers, especially those who have lost their limbs while working".

The 26 deminers were all wounded in Paktia province during mine clearance activities. They have since returned to their homes, but most are unemployed and face challenging living conditions. The deminers and their families will be able to use the land to build new homes and generate needed income through farming or raising livestock.

"Most of the deminers have been part of mine action for almost two decades and have devoted and risked their lives to clear Afghanistan," said Mohammad Sediq, the Chief of Operations of the United Nations Mine Action Center for Afghanistan (UNMACA), which oversees mine action on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan. "Hard work and dedication must have its rewards. I'm extremely happy about the Governor's initiative to honour our deminers who were injured during their work."

The Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA), an umbrella organization comprised of implementing partners that are coordinated by UNMACA, has cleared more than one billion square meters throughout Afghanistan since 1989 - destroying more than 323,000 antipersonnel mines, more than 18,500 anti-tank mines and almost seven million pieces of unexploded ordnance. Afghanistan became a State Party to the Ottawa Convention in March 2003 and committed to clearing all minefields in the country by 2013.

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