Minister Joe Costello announces €600,000 in funding to support demining and bomb disposal in Vietnam
Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD, today announced funding of €600,000 to support demining and bomb disposal work in Vietnam over the next three years.
The funding will allow for the clearance of unexploded bombs and ordnance left over from the Vietnam War. Some 40 years after the end of the war, Vietnamese farmers and children are still being killed or injured by unexploded bombs.
The funding will support the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) which works in several of the most heavily-contaminated provinces in Vietnam, including Quang Tri, which the Minister visited during his trip to Vietnam.
Minister Costello said:
“During my visit to Vietnam, I have seen the lasting effects of conflict on the country. Some forty years after the war with the US ended, children and farmers are still being killed and maimed by unexploded bombs. These weapons are highly unstable and dangerous, yet are strewn across populated areas including villages, farms and rubber plantations. Thousands of people continue to suffer from the disabilities caused by the effects of Agent Orange, which was sprayed over much of the central part of the country.
“The funding which I have announced today will help clear these dangerous weapons, and provide risk education and support to affected communities. It is part of a wider regional programme, which includes Laos and Cambodia, two of the most heavily-bombed countries in the world, which also suffer from the legacy of conflict”
During his visit the Minister also visited programmes supported by Irish Aid, which work with children with disabilities and saw programmes supporting poor and vulnerable communities in the centre of the country.
The Vietnam programme launched by Minister Costello this week is part of a wider regional programme to clear unexploded ordinance in some of the world’s worst-affected countries.
Irish Aid will also provide €4 million over the next four years for landmine and unexploded ordinance clearance in Cambodia and Lao PDR. The funding will also support risk education and support for vulnerable communities. The programme will run until 2015.
1 November, 2012
Notes to the editor:
· As a result of the Vietnam War, and subsequent conflicts, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are among the countries most affected by the legacy of war and UXO.
· In Vietnam, the funds will support the operations of Mine Action Group, which works in the centre of the country. In Laos, the funding supports the work of UXO/Lao and the main partner in Cambodia is the HALO Trust.
· The funding to Vietnam builds on a programme of Irish Aid support to the Mine Action Group during 2010 and 2011, in which €115,000 was provided for clearance activities. Irish Aid has also funded mine clearance activities in Cambodia since 1997 and Lao PDR since 2004.
· Mine action and clearance is a key priority of Ireland’s foreign and security policy in line with our strong support for disarmament, humanitarian law and human rights. Ireland has taken a leading role in the development and promotion of Anti-Personnel Landmine Convention (APLC) and more recently the Convention on Cluster Munitions. (CCM).
· The regional approach will allow lessons to be shared across the three countries. The Irish Defence Forces were involved in the development of the programme, drawing on their extensive experience of dealing with UXO from their participation in UN Peacekeeping Operations.