Sri Lanka to ratify Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention

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Colombo, March 3 (IANS) Sri Lanka on Thursday announced that it would ratify the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in order to make the country mines-free, Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha De Silva said.

De Silva said the de-mining process was an important step for the resettlement of internally displaced people and the government was committed to becoming mines-free very soon, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Sri Lanka has finished the war and we are now committed to destroy all the landmines in the country,” De Silva said.

Sri Lankan troops fought a 30-year civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels which ended in May 2009, with the defeat of the rebels.

The military said that following the end of the conflict, 2,064 acres of land in the country, mostly in the north and east, had to be cleared from landmines and explosives which had been buried by the rebels.

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As of December, the army, together with de-mining agencies, had cleared 2,000 acres of land, vowing to complete the entire de-mining by 2020.

Thousands of minority Tamils who had been displaced by the war have already been re-settled back in the cleared areas with the help of de-mining agencies.

The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena has pledged to re-settle all the families affected by the war in the coming years and has already launched a national mine action programme to make the country mine free.

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