Baghdad, 04 March 2021 – The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq welcomes an additional contribution of EUR 505,000 (approximately USD 617,000) from the Government of France renewing its commitment in supporting the Government of Iraq to protect the populations threatened by the deadly explosive ordnance left behind by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
For the third consecutive year, the Government of France, through its generous contribution to UNMAS in Iraq, will support stabilization and humanitarian efforts through the clearance of improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war that threaten the lives of communities in Ninewa province, and impede the safe return of internally displaced persons.
UNMAS promotes gender mainstreaming and equal opportunity through all its activities in Iraq including clearance. UNMAS encourages the hiring and training of women and men from the local community, and currently operates with three mixed-sex search and clearance teams.
In Sinjar and Tel Afar, the Government of France will continue supporting UNMAS in bringing women and men from the local communities at the frontline of the stabilization and recovery efforts of their city and surrounding areas to free the communities from the explosive ordnance that continue haunting populations long after ISIL had left.
On the occasion, Bruno Aubert, Ambassador of France stated, “Demining is an essential part of our stabilization efforts in Iraq to support a safe, voluntary and dignified return of displaced persons, as it is the first step for people to rebuild their homes and get back to their lives. France is strongly committed to the protection and awareness of all, especially children who are the first victims of mines in the country. We actively support the training and employment of Iraqi staff, including women, within UNMAS as demining is a shared concern”.
Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager, added: “Clearance work is slow and often dangerous as ISIL left significant numbers of deadly explosive devices behind, but this work has a direct effect on people’s lives. Families can safely return to their homes, children can step outside to play out of harm’s way, and communities can freely use farmlands. I am proud that UNMAS offers equal opportunities to women and men, enabling both men and women to become actors in rebuilding their communities through their work and engagement in mine action.”
Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Programme, Senior Programme Manager firstname.lastname@example.org