17th January 2021
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S Sudan told to clear all landmines by 2026

Author: Garang Abraham | Published: Monday, November 23, 2020

A deminer demonstrates the methodology for detection and clearance of a cluster munition during a high-level delegation site visit in Eastern Equatoria in 2019 | Credit | UNMISS

South Sudan has until 2026 to complete the clearance of all anti-personnel minefields in the country.

This follows a unanimous decision reached during the 18th Meeting of the State Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and their Destruction, also known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention or the Ottawa Treaty.

Nearly 500 delegates representing States, and international and non-governmental organizations registered for participation.

Since joining the Convention, South Sudan has reduced the official estimate of 404 square kilometres of ground that was suspected of being contaminated to the current estimate of 19.5 square kilometres that remain to be cleared.

The five-year extension will allow South Sudan to fulfil its obligations under Article 5 of the Convention of eradicating all anti-personnel minefields areas in the country.

According to South Sudan’s National Mine Action Authority, UN Mine Action Service, and other partners, the additional five-year extension will be needed to complete the task of clearing all of the remaining minefields, cluster munition strikes and battlefields.

They, however, stated that the eradication of mines are conditional on sustained peace and increased funding from the international community.

Jurkuch Barach – director of Mine Action Authority – who attended the visual meeting last week told Eye Radio on Monday that even with the extension, they may face more challenges in clearing the remaining minefields.

“We may finish our work if there is peace. Let’s hope that we work harder and finish the work in five years’ time,” Barach stated.

Last week, two children died from a suspected mine explosion while grazing their goats in Wonglori area of Jondoru, west of Juba.

According to UNMAS, more than 5,000 South Sudanese, including 249 children have been killed or injured by landmines and unexploded ordinance since 2004.

It said more than a million explosive items including over 33,000 anti-personal mines, 5,900 anti-tank mines and 74,000 cluster munitions have found and destroyed since 2004 by various mine action partners.

South Sudan is expected to complete the clearance of minefields by 9 July 2026.

The objective is to ensure a safer environment for the population as well as supporting resettlement and long-term socio-economic development.

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