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South Sudan given a five-year extension to clear mines from decades of civil wars

Nov 24, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan has been given a five-year extension to complete the task of clearing all of the remaining minefields, cluster munitions strikes and battlefields.

In 2019, funded by the Government of Japan, UNMAS surveyed and cleared large agricultural areas in Eastern Equatoria. A deminer demonstrated the methodology for detection and clearance of a cluster munition during a high-level delegation site visit. (Photo Credit: UNMISS)
In 2019, funded by the Government of Japan, UNMAS surveyed and cleared large agricultural areas in Eastern Equatoria. A deminer demonstrated the methodology for detection and clearance of a cluster munition during a high-level delegation site visit. (Photo Credit: UNMISS)

The South Sudan’s National Mine Action Authority, UN Mine Action Service, and other partners unanimously agreed on the extension during the 18th Meeting of the State Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and their Destruction, also known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention or the Ottawa Treaty.

The convention released a statement that said that the extension was granted as it was not possible to clear the mined areas by the previously given deadline.

 “South Sudan’s extension request has come about after the realization that clearing all of the country’s mined areas would not be possible by the original deadline of 9 July 2021, that being ten years after South Sudan entered the Convention,” the statement read.

“UNMAS and the national and international mine action organizations have all collaborated with the NMAA to analyze the remaining contamination and the available clearance resources in order to develop a credible and coherent plan for the completion of the remaining hazards. Together these actors concluded that a further five years will be needed to complete the task of clearing all of the remaining minefields, cluster munitions strikes, and battlefields,” the statement continued.

UNMAS said that more than 5,000 South Sudanese, including 249 children have been killed or injured by landmines and unexploded ordinance since 2004.

It went on to say that more than a million explosive items including over 33,000 anti-personnel mines, 5,900 anti-tank mines and 74,000 cluster munitions have been found and destroyed since 2004 by various mine action partners.

The UNMAS South Sudan Senior Programme Manager, Richard Boulter said that sustained peace in the country and continued international support will be key to completing the clearance of South Sudan’s minefields. 

“While the national funding is very limited, sustained international support for humanitarian mine action is crucial to making the plan happen,” he said.

The objective is to ensure a safer environment for the population as well as supporting resettlement and long-term socio-economic development.

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