21 October 2009
The UK will clear landmines from Northern Sri Lanka and help thousands of civilians displaced by recent fighting to return home and rebuild their lives it was announced today.
International Development Minister Mike Foster allocated three new grants to help clear the way for civilians to return home from the camps for displaced people, provide them with a safe route home and the means to restart their lives.
DFID will fund the following projects:
Following his recent visit to the country earlier this month, Mike Foster confirmed that this money will help the Sri Lankan Government make good their promises to release the majority of civilians from the camps by the end of the year.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, he reasserted that DFID’s funding would not support people simply being transferred from existing 'closed' camps – which detain civilians for long periods of time - to new closed camps.
Mike Foster said:
“Landmines pose a deadly threat to any civilians who try and return home from the camps. But clearing landmines is only part of the solution – we will also transport people back home and give them the means to restart their lives.
“In the coming months we hope to see significant numbers of civilians returning to the areas where these projects are working.”
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International Development Minister Mike Foster with mine clearing experts in Northern Sri Lanka
A sign highlights dangers of mines in the area in Northern Sri Lanka
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