De-mining and destruction of unsafe explosives in Nepal (UN/Nepal)
The UNMIN continues works to help in the de-mining and destruction of unsafe explosives, which remain a big threat. The news reports about children getting killed or maimed while playing with 'strange objects' found in the vicinity of their villages have continued to pour in despite the end of conflict two years ago.
As de-mining and destroying unsafe ordnance is a very taxing and expensive exercise, the operation to clear them has not been completed.
The Mine Action Unit of the UNMIN has continued the destruction of category one (unsafe to store) improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war at Maoist army cantonment sites, bringing the total number of items destroyed to 12,000, which is approximately 90 per cent of the reported Maoist army improvised explosive devices, according to the report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
"A detailed plan for the destruction of the remaining devices was developed and agreed by the Maoist army representative in the Joint Monitoring Coordinating Committee. The last stage of destruction of the improvised explosive devices, which began on 21 April, is expected to be completed by 24 May."
"The Mine Action Unit also undertook mine-clearance activities with the Nepal Army in fulfillment of their obligations under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which requires clearance of all minefields. As at 4 April, clearance of three minefields and surveys of 16 more minefields has been completed. The Nepal Army has so far approved the clearance of 20 of the 53 minefields, 12 of which are to be completed in 2008. The Unit held strategic planning workshops with the Nepal Army to review current operational and training plans to enhance its mine-clearance capacity. A second mine-clearance training course was given to 37 Nepal Army personnel in April, following which the Nepal Army's de-mining capacity increased to four teams."
The presence of improvised explosive devices in the community continued to cause harm. From 1 January to 31 March, 22 casualties were reported, including children and young people. Although the number remains high, there has been a considerable decrease compared with each of the previous three years.
Early in March, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining conducted two workshops focused on various mine action and legal framework issues that were attended by Government officials from several Ministries, Nepal Army personnel and civil society representatives.
"The report on the comprehensive assessment conducted late in November 2007 in response to the Government's request for United Nations assistance in mine action was submitted to the Government for its review. If the Government endorses the report's recommendations, the Mine Action Unit could coordinate with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to support their implementation."
Von: 24.5.2008, www.mediaforfreedom.com