The Government of Japan has provided a total sum of US$ 625,698 (approx. Rs. 124 million) to the HALO Trust for humanitarian demining activities in Northern Sri Lanka. The grant contract was signed on 28th October 2021 at the Ambassador’s Residence in Colombo, between His Excellency SUGIYAMA Akira, Ambassador of Japan and Ms. Belinda Vause, Head of Region of the HALO Trust.
The HALO Trust, one of the world’s largest and oldest humanitarian demining NGOs, has cleared more than 36.8km2 of contaminated land in the country since 2002. More than 25% of it was accomplished through the assistance from Japan. It is expected that this FY’s project would contribute to facilitating the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to make mine contaminated areas safe lands for internally displaced people and enhancing directly or indirectly 12,500 people’s livelihoods in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Jaffna Districts.
Japan has been a major donor in the area of mine clearance in Sri Lanka since 2002, assisting all the four demining NGOs currently operating in Sri Lanka. More than US$ 40.1 million in assistance was rendered towards this cause through its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
Commenting on the provision of this grant, Ms. Belinda Vause stated;
“The HALO Trust is delighted with the continued trust and generous support from the Government of Japan. Eighteen years of humanitarian assistance to clear landmines in Sri Lanka has resulted in more than 9.31 square kilometers of land previously contaminated by explosive remnants of war made safe. In the process, close to 98,000 mines and other explosive items have been destroyed that can now no longer cause harm, injury or death. Removing the threat posed by landmines and other explosives allows for safe resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and unlocks opportunities for socio-economic development and productive use and cultivation of land. This life-changing impact of HALO’s Japan-funded mine clearance teams has already benefitted 210,000 people in Sri Lanka. In addition to this, continued funding by Japan provides a stable income and livelihood for hundreds of local women and men. The continued support from the Government of Japan to The HALO Trust and three other mine action operators is bringing the Government of Sri Lanka one step closer to reaching a ‘mine free state’ every day."