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Tokyo event for a world free of landmines

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The HALO Trust and its partner, Association for Aid and Relief, Japan, joined forces with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to celebrate the contribution Japan has made to clear the world of landmines at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo on June 11, 2019.

A photo exhibition and reception celebrated the multi-year, multi-million dollar contribution Japan has made to mine clearance throughout the world.

Japan has been a longstanding supporter of humanitarian mine clearance, funding HALO and other mine-action agencies in Sri Lanka, Angola, Afghanistan, Mozambique and Kosovo.

In 2015, Mozambique became the first heavily mined country become mine-free, in accordance with its obligations to the Ottawa Landmine Ban Treaty. HALO had led the effort to clear mines there for 22 years and was generously supported by Japan during its operations. Member states parties to the Ottawa Treaty, including Japan, have committed to clear all countries of landmines by 2025.

Additional support from Japan could help other countries such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Afghanistan become mine-impact free.

HALO's CEO, James Cowan and Yukie Osa, President of AAR said: "This year is an important time for Japan. As a chair of the G20 summit and the TICAD 7, as well as the 2020 Para Olympics, Japan has a great opportunity to rekindle its commitment for a mine free world. Japan can demonstrate leadership and join a host of countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and others who have stepped up their support for landmine clearance."

Landmines don’t obey peace accords or ceasefire agreements. They can lie in the ground for decades after the fighting has stopped, killing or maiming those trying to re-establish their lives and livelihoods.Tragically, global deaths and injuries from landmines are increasing not decreasing; meaning now is the time we need to act strongly to end the threat of landmines across the world.

Over 60 million people across the world still live with the daily fear of landmines. Landmine legacy stops the recovery of lives after war and is a barrier to communities recovering and rebuilding of countries. In 2014 in Mozambique, the member states parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention agreed to clear all countries of landmines by 2025 – a plan that is known as the ‘Maputo 15+ declaration’. Japan was one of the countries that agreed to this declaration. This is an ambitious goal, but with support from nations such as Japan, with both political support and with funding this goal can be achieved.

HALO Trust and AAR Japan are dedicated to ensuring the goal of a Landmine free world can be achieved by 2025. A commitment from Japan to fund clearance and support countries such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Afghanistan and many more could help them meet their treaty obligations and become landmine free.