Minister of Prison Reforms Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs DM Swaminathan held a meeting today with the mine action operators to discuss about the Government’s target of making Sri Lanka free of mine impact by 2020.
The meeting focussed on achieving the set demining target specified in the Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy Report which was released on 25th May.
The mine operators directed Minister Swaminathan’s attention towards the importance of Sri Lanka becoming signatory to the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction. It was stressed that signing the Ottawa Convention is crucial to achieve Sri Lanka’s mine clearance target by 2020.
Minister Swaminathan stated that he has already submitted a Cabinet Paper to facilitate the process for Sri Lanka to become a signatory of the Ottawa Convention. The Minister further stated that the Cabinet paper is awaiting Parliamentary approval and added that he will also make an appeal to the Ministry of Defence in this regard.
The Mine Operators stated that signing the Convention would improve the funding provided for Sri Lanka’s demining activities as enhanced cooperation and support will be extended to Sri Lanka by other signatory countries.
The current demining activities are carried out by Sri Lanka Army, the Mines Advisory Group, The Halo Trust, The Skavita Humanitarian Assistance Project and DASH mine clearance organisation. (Colombo Gazette)