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ICC Note: France has donated just over half a million to the United Nations to help clear explosives from areas liberated from ISIS control. According to the United Nations Mine Action Service, approximately 21% of displaced persons will not return home because of the threat of explosive contamination. When traveling across the Nineveh Plains, many signs warning of potential explosives dot the landscape. ISIS continues to make it clear that Christians, and anyone who disagrees with them, are not welcome in Iraq.   

07/27/2018 Iraq (Rudaw) – France has donated an initial payment of half a million euros ($590,000) to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq to help clear explosives from areas liberated from ISIS which will allow displaced people to return.

“This contribution testifies not only to the concrete commitment of France alongside Iraqis but also to a desire for effective collaboration with all our partners to develop concrete projects for the reconstruction of Iraq,” Bruno Aubert, French ambassador to Iraq, said in a statement.

UNMAS says it will use the money to expand its survey and clearance operations in Anbar, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Saladin, and Diyala Governorates.

Working alongside the Iraqi government’s Directorate of Mine Action (DMA), UNMAS says it will also dedicate more resources to risk education for people living in and returning to liberated areas contaminated by explosives.

The UN agency also plans to dedicate more resources to training and advisory support, so the Iraqi government can better manage, regulate and coordinate its response to explosives clearance.

“This first contribution from the Government of France will make a significant difference. It will not only support UNMAS efforts to address the threat posed by explosive hazards, but also contribute to the safe and dignified return of displaced communities” said Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager, in a statement.

There are roughly 1.9 million people classified as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq, many of them living in camps in the Kurdistan Region. According to research for UNMAS, 21 percent of them do not wish to return to their homes because of explosive contamination.

Three years of ISIS control and massive military operations to liberate cities in Iraq left key infrastructure in ruins, creating one of the biggest reconstruction, stabilization and humanitarian challenges in the world.

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