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For the fourth consecutive year, Belgium is providing 2 million euros to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) for its activities in Iraq and Syria. With this support, we offer the vulnerable among the population the opportunity to return to an active life. Many land mines are scattered on roads, in agricultural fields or near schools.
Moreover, this aid consolidates the success of the International Coalition against Islamic State. The funds will be used for mine clearance, risk education and victim assistance.
The needs for demining in Syria and in Iraq remain high, as most victims of landmines are civilians.
In Syria, there were on average 4 incidents with explosive remnants of war every day in 2021. UNMAS has made great efforts in risk education, victim assistance and mine mapping. New funding is expanding the scope towards mine clearance operations.
In Iraq, national demining actors are already working very effectively. UNMAS is helping to build local capacity to ensure the sustainability of results. By 2021, UNMAS has cleared over 5 million square metres of land in Iraq and 9,000 remnants of war have been neutralized. This work can now continue.
A gender-sensitive approach
Belgium emphasizes the implementation of a gender-sensitive demining policy and therefore welcomes the efforts of UNMAS towards gender mainstreaming. The deployment of women deminers and the inclusion of women in the UNMAS management structure show local communities how gender barriers can be broken down to the benefit of the whole community.
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