Donor countries cut funding for Sri Lanka de-mining Report

Sept 14 (LBO) – Donor countries have withdrawn funding for de-mining in Sri Lanka until the government shows more commitment to signing a treaty banning landmines.

A Landmine Monitor Report for 2006 launched earlier this week, says funding for de-mining has been steadily falling over the past few years as Sri Lanka is not signatory to the Ottawa Convention, commonly called the Mine Ban Treaty.

Funding has dropped from over 23 million dollars in 2004 to 19 million dollars last year from the European Commission and ten other countries, the report, launched by the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies, said.

Core donor Netherlands withheld funds in 2004 and 2005 and did not list Sri Lanka amongst countries likely to gain future funding this year.

The total amount needed for mine action in Sri Lanka by all operators including the Army in 2006, was estimated at 20 million dollars, the report said.

Tamil rebels have been waging a war with the Sri Lanka government for over two decades, fighting for a separate homeland in the North of the country.

About one million landmines are thought to have been laid down, largely in the North and East of the