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Belgium gives 2 million euro to UNMAS landmine clearance operation in Syria and Iraq

Belgium’s Federal Government has pledged another 2 million euro to the UN’s UNMAS mine clearance operation in Syria and Iraq. This is the third year running that Belgium has given 2 million euro in financial support to the UNMAS operation. 

The money given by Belgium has been used “for amongst other things mine clearance and educating the local population about the risks from landmines”. 

The need to clear landmines remains high in both countries. In Syria around half the population is exposed to danger from explosives that have not (yet) been cleared. In Iraq too, a lot of work remains. For example, in Mosul where millions of tonnes of war rubble that is strewn with explosive devices remains. This forms a hindrance to restarting agriculture and other economic activity in the stricken areas. Clearing the area of mines and relaunching the local economy is of great importance to preventing a return to a situation that might facilitate a return to the area of the terror group IS.

Belgium wants UNMAS’ operation to be gender inclusive and hopes for a greater participation of women in the clearance of mines. The use of women in mine clearance operations has proved its worth in the past, for example in Iraq. There the mixed teams were able to contact the local community much more easily that an exclusively male team would have.

 

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