Joint Press Release for Commemoration of International Mine Action Day 2019

The First Vice President of South Sudan, the Charge d’Affaires of Japan, the UNMISS SRSG, the Chairman of the National Mine Action Authority, and UNMAS Programme Manager celebrate the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action at an event with the theme, Safe Ground, Safe Home for All in the Mangateen area in Juba

Juba, 5 April 2019 � On Thursday, 4 April, the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA), in conjunction with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and mine action partners, conducted an event supported by the Government of Japan, with the theme, Safe Ground, Safe Home for All, in the Managateen area in Juba, to celebrate International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Mangateen is an area in Juba where UNMAS previously assessed the site to enable relocation of internally displaced persons from the UNMISS Protection of Civilians (POC) site, as well as removed explosive hazards, to ensure a safe and secure environment for the host community and returnees.

High-level representatives from the Government, diplomatic community, and the UN, including H.E. First Vice President of South Sudan Taban Deng Gai, H.E. Mitsuhiro Toyama, Charge d’Affaires of Japan, Mr. David Shearer, UNMISS SRSG, together with Hon. Jurkuch Barach Jurkuch, the Chairman of the NMAA, and Mr. Richard Boulter, Programme Manager of UNMAS South Sudan, spoke of the ongoing mine action efforts for creating a safe and secure environment for the people of South Sudan, and a path toward a landmine-free country. The government of Japan has been supporting various mine action operations and mine risk education, including this event, with total of US $15 million through UNMAS since 2011. Through this event, the people can get effective information about mines and keep themselves safe to enjoy their lives. In addition, I hope they get fruits of sustainable peace in the future and make a peaceful environment through their own initiatives, said Charge d’Affaires of Japan, H.E. Mr. Toyama.

The programme of events included two football matches, one each between girls’ teams and boys’ teams from Mangateen and the adjacent communities, and songs and dramas with mine risk awareness messages performed by school children. The audience included both the host community and internally displaced persons, as well as a number of beneficiaries of local organizations who support the disabled.

During the event, the transition from UNMAS to the NMAA for responsibility for residual contamination was highlighted; this will be possible within three to five years, but only if certain conditions are met, including the building of the capacity of the NMAA. Japan has been and is supporting capacity building of the NMAA in addition to humanitarian mine action in South Sudan. The NMAA is grateful for continued and prolonged support from the Government of Japan. The NMAA, through the funding from the Government of Japan, will continue to take the opportunity to build its capacity to take ownership of mine action operation in South Sudan and to mitigate the threats of explosive hazards for affected communities, said Hon. Jurkuch Barach Jurkuch, the Chairman of the NMAA.

Source: Government of the Republic of South Sudan