The conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) has resulted in extensive landmine, cluster munition and other explosive remnant of war (ERW) contamination. Mines and ERW caused 864 casualties in Syria in 2015 while cluster munition strikes caused another 231 casualties. The contamination will continue to kill and maim people for decades.
At a time when global landmine contamination is dropping, MAC has been very concerned about increasing Syrian contamination.
Today we have some good news though, the Government of Canada announced a $4.5 million CDN contribution to Mayday Rescue to support the Syrian Civil Defence aka the White Helmets. In addition to the post-bombing search and rescue they are famous for, the White Helmets carry out risk education and explosive ordinance disposal/clearance operations in some of the most contaminated areas.
We hope that this support, following the September announcement of $12.5 Canadian over five years to mine clearance in Colombia, is the start of Canada's return to being a top-five donor to mine action. It is time that Canada reasserts its leadership on the Ottawa Treaty and on global efforts to eliminate the suffering caused by landmines, cluster munitions and other ERW.