Georgia

Georgia: Improved UN-HALO Trust cooperation saves lives

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The United Nations' cooperation with the HALO Trust can be found in many parts of the world. The Southern Caucasus is no exception. The HALO Trust conducted an extensive landmine survey in the area between 1999 and 2000, and between 1998 and 2007 HALO ran a fully integrated mine clearance programme. However, it could not be completed as planned due to the August events of 2008, and some areas remained uncleared. To address this situation, the United Nations mission is closely cooperating and interacting with the HALO Trust, which is particularly vital in the post-conflict environment.

The United Nations mission has been conducting patrols in its area of responsibility for 15 years. The mine threat still remains; civilian population, law enforcements agencies, livestock and all sorts of equipment are at risk due to remnant products of the conflict. An incident that occurred on 27 January 2009 demonstrates the importance of cooperation between the United Nations mission and the HALO Trust in removing the dangers that uncleared mines pose to the local communities. On that day, United Nations Military Observers reported that an anti-tank mine had been found near Nabakevi village. Shortly after, a group of demining professionals from the HALO Trust arrived and neutralized the danger, thereby avoiding any potential casualties. Due to the recent increase in the number of mine related incidents, the UN Military and Police components have intensified their contacts with the HALO Trust.

Additionally, at the initiative of the Chief Military Observer, mine awareness and training courses for the United Nations Military Observers and Police Advisors have been organized. Since January 2009, regular mine awareness training takes place. The training is divided into two parts. The first part is theoretical and covers general introduction to mine classification, mine maps in the area, mechanism of cooperation in case of mine detection and provision of medical first aid in case of an accidental explosion. The second part provides and improves the practical skills necessary for using mine detectors. In the first two months of 2009, approximately 60 UN Military Observers and Police officers have completed such training.

Contact

United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia
Public Information Office
Tel.: +(995 32) 926 700
Email:unomig-pio@un.org