Afghanistan: A second provincial governor donates land to injured deminers

Kabul, 31 May 2007 - H.E. Mr. Mohammad Housain Anwary, the Governor of the province of Herat, has donated land to 87 deminers who were the victims of mine accidents. Governor Anwary, who signed the official documents yesterday, said that he wanted to honor the important work of the deminers in Afghanistan.

"Demining is really a continuation of Jihad," he said. "Jihad doesn't only mean fighting and having weapons. It means supporting human beings, stability and development."

The 87 deminers were all wounded in the Herat region 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.

"These deminers are really worthy of appreciation. Demining is the best support to the country," 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. "It is our duty to look after them, especially ones who have become the victims of mines. We thank Governor Anwary, and we hope this action will be followed by other government authorities as a positive example throughout the country."

Just two weeks ago, H.E. Mr. Rahmatullah Rahmat, the Governor of the province of Paktia, donated land to 26 deminers who were the victims of mine accidents in Paktia.

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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