Posts tagged demining
Posts tagged demining
The University of Coimbra in Portugal has received a mechanical leg up from Kitchener Ontario-based Clearpath Robotics.
The Canadian robotics company has donated a mobile robotic base to the University to aid in their research on automated landmine removal.
The donation was made through Clearpath’s grant program “Partnerbot,” part of Clearpath’s ongoing commitment to supporting university research teams. The team at Coimbra hopes to program the robot to analyze and navigate terrain, and to detect and disable buried mines. For its part, the donated base ‘bot is equipped with navigation sensors, ground penetrating radar and metal detecting arm.
The Government of Japan has provided a total sum of US$1,248,046 (approximately Rs. 160 million) in grant aid for humanitarian demining in Northern Sri Lanka under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
The ‘Project for Humanitarian Mine Action for Livelihood Recovery in Northern Sri Lanka’, implemented by Mines Advisory Group (MAG) has been provided a sum of US$ 591,447 (approximately Rs. 77 million) while the ‘Project for Peace Building through Demining in Northern Sri Lanka’ implemented by Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony Sri Lanka (DASH) has been provided a sum of US$656,599 (approximately Rs. 86 million) both of which would contribute to expedite the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to make mine contaminated areas safe lands for people to return and resume their livelihood.
Japan has been a major donor supporting mine clearance in Sri Lanka to accelerate the return and resettlement of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) and to facilitate recommencement of agriculture and other livelihood activities of returnees. Since 2003, the Government of Japan has provided a sum of US$27 million for demining activities in the North and the East under its Grant Assistance schemes.
JMU alumni Katie Stolp (‘13) and Geary Cox (‘06, ‘08M) at the United Nations in New York. The pair represented the U.S. Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) at multilateral talks on securing weapons in northern Africa. Stolp is serving as the Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow for Humanitarian Demining at PM/WRA; Cox is Program Manager for conventional weapons-destruction programs in Near East Asia.
Documentary: “Picking Up the Pieces”
Clearing the thousands of mines left in the war-torn villages of Sri-Lanka is a dangerous and demanding job for those that have been assigned with the responsibility of doing it.
The all-female de-mining team of Sri Lanka’s northern Mannar district struggles in the blazing heat to navigate the hazardous task at hand and systematically clear the villages of all the traces of war that remain in a place long after the conflict itself has passed.
Following the women we witness the excitement and fear each time a mine is found and get to see how many of the women take the job to support their families, due to the cruel brunt of war leaving them as the sole breadwinners.
They clear the villages of landmines not simply because it is their job, but because they are are all personally involved, each with their own losses and tales of hardship and are keen to finish the job so that people can move back home from refugee camps and begin to live in peace again.
Some time back, I reported on the role that mine action can play in peacebuilding processes with specific reference to Senegal and the conflict in the Casamance (Landmines in Africa). I also covered the May 2013 kidnapping of a dozen deminers in Senegal (Landmines in Africa) and their subsequent release two and a half months later, noting there was “No word about the future of demining in the region” (Landmines in Africa). Now, because of a number of recent events, is a very good time to discuss the future of demining in Senegal.
At the outset, it is important to state that demining is typically an activity that occurs after the cessation of hostilities. Some mine action, especially mine risk education, will occur in the midst of active conflict, but for most of Africa, landmine clearance is taking place in areas where a peace treaty or at least a ceasefire is in place. Afghanistan does provide an example of a country, very much in conflict, where landmine clearance is ongoing and tremendous strides have been made to reduce the threat of landmines to the population. However, the Mine Ban Treaty, to which Senegal is a party, does not allow for delays in implementation due to conflict; parties to the Treaty are expected to meet their obligations as quickly as possible. Another important point that should be mentioned here is, relative to other African countries, the amount of land contaminated by landmines in Senegal is very small, a few square kilometers at most.
Background: The conflict, the peace process and the landmine problem
The conflict in Senegal is a low-intensity, separatist conflict. The Casamance region, the southern portion of the country, bordering on Guinea-Bissau and separated from capitol, Dakar, and the majority of the country by The Gambia, was once a Portuguese colony that the French acquired prior to Senegal’s independence. That separate history is the basis for the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance’s (MFDC) claim for independence from the rest of Senegal. Historically, the Casamance has been the breadbasket of Senegal and more recently continues to receive significant tourism from Europe at the Club Med at Cap Skirring just north of the Guinea-Bissau border. The conflict started in 1982 after agitations by members of Casamance’s religious community, labor unrest in the wake of structural adjustment reforms imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and, according to some sources, questionable refereeing decisions in a football match between teams from Ziguinchor, the provincial capitol of Casamance, and Dakar. Members of the MFDC also point to a rumored promise from Senegal’s first president, Leopold Senghor, to grant independence to Casamance twenty years after Senegal achieved its own independence (Africa Portal; Wikipedia).
Mine clearance in Husan
An international humanitarian organization Roots of Peace has started a project of demining the fields of Bethlehem. They began with Husan village and removed landmines from a field where five children have died.
There are still around 1,5 million landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) within and surrounding Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank - mostly very poorly marked or fenced. Majority of the victims are children. (Roots of Peace)
Six million square meters of land can again be used for farming, infrastructure and housing in Lebanon now that DanChurchAid’s landmine clearance teams have removed the dangerous remnants of war.
Lebanon has been devastated by conflicts and war for much of recent history, and it is still beset by the remains that are left behind when the battles cease.
DanChurchAid has helped the Lebanese authorities to clear up and to make the land safe since 2007.
The year before, a conflict broke out once more with Israel which resulted in large parts of southern Lebanon being bombed with cluster bombs. The result was thousands of unexploded cluster bombs in back gardens, on fields and roads. Other parts of the country have problems with land mines from the civil war that devastated Lebanon from 1975 to 1990.
Time: 12/13/2013 - 10:00
Briefing: Explosions of Violence
Landmines & the Context of Conflict in Latin America
10am, Fri, Dec 13
Congressional Meeting Room South
Capitol Visitors Center
Latin America struggles with chronic violence and insecurity. In 2012, 1 in 3 citizens reported being impacted by violent crime and 50% perceived a deterioration in security. While insecurity has many manifestations, the presence of landmines in one third of Latin American countries contributes to the face of violence in many parts of the Western Hemisphere.
Colombia alone has the second highest number of landmine victims in the world, surpassed only by Afghanistan. Since 1990, over 10,000 citizens, including nearly 1,000 children, have been wounded or killed by landmines and estimates suggest clearing all the active mines in Colombia could take over a decade.
APOPO, the humanitarian organisation that uses rats in landmine clearance work has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia.
APOPO’s Kim Warren has signed the agreement in a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Royal Government of Cambodia.
The humanitarian org trains African Giant Pouched Rats to sniff out buried landmines. The rats are too light to trigger the landmines, resulting in a humane and effective method.