22 May 2013 The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) today announced plans to expand its humanitarian activities in Mali, bolster preparations for full deployment of an African-led support mission and help displaced persons return safely to their homes following months of strife in the West African country.
In a news release, UNMAS said that as the world body prepares to deploy the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), it will continue to coordinate and support humanitarian mine action organizations and build the national capacity in the country to ensure that the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war are dealt with quickly.
A $6 million donation form the Government of Japan will ensure that all preparations are on schedule for the start of MINUSMA’s activities and that “Malians and peacekeepers are able to safely navigate the terrain,” said UNMAS Director Agnès Marcaillou.
MINUSMA is tasked with helping the Malian authorities to implement the transitional roadmap towards the full restoration of constitutional order, democratic governance and national unity. This includes the holding of elections in July, confidence-building and facilitation of reconciliation at the national and local levels.
UNMAS established an office in Mali in January and has been advising, training and mentoring Malian and African Union personnel in addressing landmines, unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices.
“This grant will help the people of Mali by allowing for the voluntary return of refugees and of internally displaced persons and will help to provide humanitarian organizations safe access to all Malian communities,” UNMAS said.
Japan has consistently supported the United Nations efforts to eradicate the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war. In March, the Japanese Government gave $18 million to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action for mine action work in Africa and in Afghanistan.
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