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Japan to support humanitarian demining activities in northern Sri Lanka (11 Feb 2021)

News and Press Release
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The Government of Japan provided a total sum of US$ 620,379 (approx. Rs. 115 million) to Skavita Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Project (SHARP) for humanitarian demining activities in Northern Sri Lanka. The grant contract was signed on 11th February 2021 at the Ambassador’s Residence in Colombo, between His Excellency Mr. SUGIYAMA Akira, Ambassador of Japan and Lt Col (Retd) Mr. V.S.M. Jayawardhana, Programme Manager of SHARP.

The Government of Sri Lanka aims to achieve “A Mine Impact Free Sri Lanka” within a few years and become the next mine impact free country in the world. Towards this endeavor, Japan has been a major donor in mine clearance in the country since 2002.

The Government of Japan is SHARP’s primary donor and has provided necessary funding for mine clearance since its inception in 2016 when its first program was launched in Kilinochchi. Subsequently, SHARP cleared more than 1.5 km2 of mine field through funds disbursed from Japan’s Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP). Japan has provided financial assistance amounting to US$ 38.8 million to SHARP and to the other three demining NGOs currently operational in Sri Lanka.

The project is expected to contribute to the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in ensuring that mine-contaminated areas are safe, enabling resettlement of displaced people and enhancing their livelihoods directly or indirectly in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.

Commenting on the provision of this grant, Lt Col (Retd) Mr. V.S.M. Jayawardhana stated; “Today marks the granting of GGP funds to SHARP by the Embassy of Japan for the 5th consecutive year, for which we are indeed very appreciative and grateful to the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka for assisting and encouraging SHARP to initially commence demining operations in 2016, and thereafter continuously grant funding support annually for SHARP. Most significantly, SHARP receives funding only from the Japanese GGP programme.

SHARP has cleared a total of 1,574,573m2 and recovered 9,135 anti-personnel mines, 119 anti-tank mines, 3,289 UXOs and over 12,000 SAA since November 2016 to date, with over 1,500 families directly and indirectly benefitted.

SHARP will continue to carry out its operations to the best of its ability diligently, efficiently and effectively fully co-operating with the staff of the Embassy of Japan and all other agencies to completely justify the funds provided and so fulfil the desires of our sponsors.

The heartfelt gratitude and thanks of all members of SHARP is conveyed to His Excellency Ambassador SUGIYAMA Akira, all GGP staff members of the Embassy of Japan and most of all the people of Japan for their unstinted support by sponsoring SHARP right from its inception, and more so ever for the Embassy of Japan being in the forefront of demining activities in Sri Lanka and their continuous concern and assistance for the well-being of the people of our country.”