Cablegate: Hrdf Grants: Proposal for Removal Of

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: HRDF Grants: Proposal for removal of
unexploded ordnance from urban areas

Ref: State 79965

1. Per Reftel, Mission is submitting a proposal to
remove unexploded ordinance (UXO) from urban areas in
the north of Sri Lanka. Background for and description
of the UXO proposal follow.

2. BACKGROUND: In support of the USG's pro-peace
process and humanitarian agenda in Sri Lanka, Mission is
currently overseeing the second deployment of a Quick
Reaction Demining Force (QRDF) to Jaffna in northern Sri
Lanka. The Jaffna Peninsula was extensively mined and
experienced intense warfare during the past twenty years
of conflict. Since the government and Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) peace process began in December
2001, over 300,000 displaced persons have returned to
their home communities. The majority of those returning
have points of origin in the Jaffna district.

3. In response to this influx of displaced persons, the
international community, including the United States, is
donating extensively to landmine clearing operations.
During the past few months, however, Mission has heard
that individual unexploded ordinance (UXO) pieces spread
throughout Jaffna Peninsula are not being destroyed.
Evidence indicates that the UXOs are now injuring and
killing more people than are mines. The GSL and UNDP
are collecting reports on where the UXOs are, but they
have no mechanism to dispose of them.

4. PROPOSAL: Mission recommends using elements of the
current demining capacity in Sri Lanka to focus on the
UXOs that are in the populated areas of Jaffna
Peninsula. A team will be deployed to go to the various
identified locations to remove and destroy UXOs. The
team will be led by one demining expert and will have a
minimum of two locally trained staff. One vehicle will
be rented or purchased locally. Safety equipment that
is currently being used for demining operations will
also be used for this program. Oversight of the project
will be through one of the organizations currently
conducting demining operations in Jaffna.

5. (((Note: Mission notes that Para 5 of the Reftel
states that funds "should not be awarded to U.S. or
third-country NGOs for administration." Sri Lanka does
not have a domestic demining capacity outside of its
military. The only NGOs involved with demining, such as
"OneSriLanka," administer funds through international
demining organizations. Mission is prepared to use
local NGOs to oversee the application of the funds, but
for cost effectiveness recommends working with the
demining organizations directly.)))

6. LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY: The greatest cost in the
program is the start up of the project. After the U.S.-
sponsored USD 50,000 program is started, the cost of
maintaining the team drops dramatically. Demining
organizations and NGOs in the Jaffna area have expressed
confidence that they will be able to maintain funding
for the program after its 3-4 month window concludes.

7. Minimize considered.


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