Japan to support Humanitarian Demining in Northern Sri Lanka with 1.27 million USD
The Government of Japan has provided a total sum of US$ 1,266,825 (approx. Rs. 219 million) to SKAVITA Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Project (SHARP) and The HALO Trust for humanitarian demining in Northern Sri Lanka. The grant contracts were signed on 18th October 2019 at the HALO Trust’s Muhumalai Control Point in Kilinochchi, between His Excellency Mr. Akira Sugiyama, Ambassador of Japan, and Lt Col (Retd) V.S.M. Sarath Jayawardhana, Programme Manager of SHARP and Ms. Belinda Vause, Programme Manager of The HALO Trust, respectively. The two projects are expected to facilitate the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka for “Mine-Impact Free Sri Lanka” by 2020, enabling the resettlement of the internally displaced people and enhancement of their livelihoods.
Japan has been a major donor in the area of mine clearance in Sri Lanka since 2003, with more than US$ 35 million assistance in total through its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP), in view of the goal of the government of Sri Lanka to be mine impact free by 2020. This contribution has helped to accelerate and facilitate the resettlement and recommencement of agriculture and other livelihood activities of the Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Commenting on the provision of this grant, Lt Col (Retd) V.S.M. Sarath Jayawardhana said “The Government of Japan is the SHARP’s prime donor who has been providing crucial funding for mine clearance since SHARP’s inception in 2016. Japan has provided funds to SHARP for the 4th consecutive year, for which we are indeed very appreciative and grateful to Japan for assisting and encouraging SHARP to keep working on demining operations. In the last three years, the partnership between SHARP and the Government of Japan has enabled the removal and destruction of over 5,000 landmines. I wish to assure our sponsors that SHARP will continue to carry out our operations to the best of our ability, efficiently and effectively to fulfil the desires of our sponsors.”
Ms. Belinda Vause stated “HALO is extremely grateful to Government of Japan for their continued support, year after year. Japan is our longest contributing donor and their support of HALO has led to the clearance of 3.6 million square meters of contaminated land and the removal of over 89,000 mines and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). The work of Japan-funded mine clearance teams has already helped over 200,000 people in HALO’s area of operations, formerly the seat of the conflict. Mine clearance is key to the reconciliation process in the north and to the resettlement of thousands of people – made possible thanks to Japan’s invaluable support. We look forward to our continued cooperation, together with the national government and the mine action community, in making Sri Lanka the next country to be mine impact free”.