Korea Supports Cluster Munitions Clearance in Lebanon
The clearance of 25,000 sq. meters of land contaminated with cluster munitions will create additional livelihood opportunities for the local community once the land is cleared and returned to them. It also provides employment opportunities for the local teams clearing the land.
This is particularly important in light of the current economic crisis in Lebanon and the large influx of refugees from Syria over recent years, which has placed a strain on public services and host communities, including health and education services, and access to employment. The situation was further compounded by the devastating explosion at the Port of Beirut, which had serious health, psychological, and material consequences. This support from the Republic of Korea is therefore a crucial contribution to alleviating the socio-economic challenges faced by the people of Lebanon.
Unfortunately, the current situation in Lebanon has led to a rise in mine victims due to increased risky behavior caused by economic pressure. People are knowingly entering marked minefields to gather wood and scrap metal for shelter or livelihood. Therefore, the contribution of the Republic of Korea is invaluable and will be implemented in cooperation with ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF) and Norwegian People's Aid (NPA).
On April 6, 2023, H.E. Mr. Il Park, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Lebanon, opened the task site saying:
“The Government of Korea is pleased to support this meaningful project that will enable releasing 25,000 sq. meters of cluster munitions contaminated land in Tyre, where the Korean Battalion of UNIFIL operates. By strengthening Humanitarian Assistance-Development-Peace (HDP) Nexus, I hope the project can contribute to social and economic development and peace and safe life for residents.”
He was joined by Amb. Tomaž Lovrenčič, ITF Director, General Jihad Bechelany, LMAC Director, representatives of the local community and Mr. Simon Wetherbed, NPA Country Director.
Republic of Korea’s contribution also supports the national Mine Action Strategy and Lebanon’s International Treaty obligations. Lebanon has been left contaminated with a legacy of landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) due to decades of armed conflict, making large areas of the country unsafe. The presence of these dangerous items poses a threat not only to people's lives and livelihoods but also hinders the development of contaminated areas and denies access to agricultural land, which is one of the primary sources of income. Cluster munitions contamination alone affects over a million people, mostly those living in rural areas. The site has been opened during the week of marking the International Mine Awareness Day – 4 April, which advocates for and highlights the importance of mine action.