Canada has offered $2 million for landmine clearance in northern Sri Lanka, the Canadian Government said today.
François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Karina Gould, Minister of International Development said that unexploded landmines prevent local populations from living and working on their lands in more than 60 countries.
They said that every year, 7,000 people lose their lives and thousands more are injured in areas contaminated by these weapons around the world.
“Which is why, yesterday, Canada reaffirmed its commitment to the Ottawa Convention by announcing $8.3 million to support mine-affected communities, mine action that takes into consideration gender equality in decision-making processes as well as in implementation and the universalization of the convention,” the statement said.
Canada noted that ensuring that women and youth are actively involved at all levels of mine-action projects is a priority for Canada and doing so improves access to essential services, and provides people with opportunities to be agents of change in building safer communities.
“This new funding includes $2 million for landmine clearance in northern Sri Lanka, with women comprising close to half of the demining workforce. In Iraq, we will provide $2 million to continue to support demining efforts in areas liberated from Daesh with an initiative that encourages women’s participation in this work,” the statement said.
Canada has also committed $4.3 million to provide critical institutional support to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining and Mines Action Canada. The funding will assist states in meeting their obligations and help to universalize the convention.
Canada was the first country to sign and ratify the Ottawa Convention in 1997. The convention bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and is considered one of the most successful disarmament treaties ever established, with more than 160 states signing on to the convention.
Canada has contributed over $450 million in the last two decades to mine action around the world, through a range of development, security and stabilization programming.