Ukraine Government Draft Bill on Landmine and UXO Clearance

Kiev, Ukraine The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, approved the first draft of a law on UXO and landmine clearance. The Bill which was approved by 240 lawmakers, is designed to provide a legal basis for demining and UXO clearance activities, included those actions carried out by humanitarian demining organizations.

The bill reads in part, "Although Russia's war against Ukraine has been going on for nearly five years, the lack of a legal framework still prevents the systematic landmine clearance in embattled areas along the 400-kilometer frontline."

The Bill estimates that approximately 22,000 square kilometers of controlled and uncontrolled territories are contaminated with landmines and/or UXO with the border between Russian-occupied Crimea also mined.

The draft bill aims to develop a universal national database of UXO and detonation incidents and obligates the Cabinet of Ministers to organize a special national agency that is meant to control and coordinate all minesweeping activities in the country. The Bill also issues accreditations valid for up to 5 years to mine clearance operators willing to work in Donbas.

UN Recognizes Humanitarian Work of West Virginia's Schonstedt Instrument Company

Jefferson County, West Virginia Since 2007, the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative (SHDI), an initiative of Schonstedt Instrument Company, Kearneysville, W. Va., has supported the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in its efforts to eradicate explosive remnants of war from countries around the world.

To date, 477 donated demining tools are at work in 27 countries. This project represents Schonstedt's open-ended commitment to humanitarian demining where it is most needed in the world. In recognition, and in addition to a permanent display of a Schonstedt demining tool at the United Nations (UN), a second magnetic locator unit is now featured in a recently opened exhibition in the Visitor's Center at UN Headquarters in New York City.

"This is our way of helping to rid the world of unseen explosives that maim and kill indiscriminately  that keep people from moving freely about their villages, tending their crops or sending their children to school. It's one way we're able to do some good in the world," said Bob Ebberson, Program Manager at Schonstedt.

Seven years ago, in response to an unmet need for humanitarian demining among the world's underserved populations, Schonstedt reached out to the UN with an offer of assistance. It would provide free magnetic locators for use in areas of the world where demining would not otherwise be possible, but was desperately needed. UNMAS agreed to identity and prioritize those areas and facilitate deployment of the tools. For every magnetic locator purchased for donation to UNMAS, Schonstedt matches the donation, unit-for-unit.

The International Mine Action Training Center in Nairobi, Kenya was the first recipient of magnetic locators deployed as part of the SHDI program. Most recently, Schonstedt locators have been shipped to Mali and Afghanistan.

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ICRC Accepts Equipment Donation

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva, Switzerland recently thanked Schonstedt for the shipment of 30 donated magnetic locators through its Humanitarian Demining Initiative. The ICRC, one of the first organizations to provide post-conflict relief and assistance, will use the equipment to clear affected areas of explosive remnants of war such as grenades, mortars, cluster munitions, bombs and missiles, which will allow the return of civilians and the delivery of aid.

Stay Committed (To UXO) My Friend

The Dos Equis beer proclaimed "World's Most Interesting Man" has joined an international humanitarian effort to assist civilian landmine and bomb accident survivors in five countries. Actor Jonathan Goldsmith, internationally known for his adage, "Stay thirsty my friends," serves as an advisor and advocate in the ongoing effort to help landmine and UXO accident survivors and their families in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, along the Thai-Burma border, and in Afghanistan. Goldsmith's efforts recently helped raise over $24,000 in donations to medical care, prosthetics, and scholarships in support of a recent fund raising campaign.

Ireland Government Continues to Support International UXO Programs

Vientiane, Laos The Government of Ireland pledged $2.7M in aid over the next 3 years to continue efforts to manage UXO in Laos. The aid will strengthen the Laos National Regulatory Authority and UXO Laos, the two national institutions which deal with UXO issues. Plans for the funding include supporting policy making, UXO coordination, field operations, and education and training efforts.

Ireland's Ambassador to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos Damien Cole spoke at the ceremony marking the contribution stating that he expected the UXO program to "continue the battle to rid Laos of the scourge of UXO and reduce the negative effects these have on Laos' economic and social development."

This latest donation adds to the $4.7M that Ireland has provided in support of UXO issues in Laos since 2006.

Mine Detector Donation Program

Donated Mine Detectors Bound for Darfur

A shipment of thirty mine detectors will soon be in the hands of United Nations humanitarian deminers in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The instruments have been donated by church groups, trade associations, individuals and customers of Schonstedt Instrument Company, which manufactures the demining tools and coordinates distribution to the world's most mine-infested countries.

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Donations Making a Difference in Southeast Europe

In September 2008, Schonstedt Instrument Company and its customers donated thirty demining instruments to the Mine Action Centre for Testing, Development and Training (HCR-CTRO) in Zagreb, Croatia. There they were tested, accredited and integrated into a new training curriculum, with plans to further distribute them to UN Mine Action Programmes throughout the region.

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New Jersey Quakers Continue to Make a Difference in UXO

Woodstown, New Jersey Members of the Woodstown Quakers continue to make a difference in the international UXO and cluster munition problem. UXOInfo.com posted an article back in December about the Woodstown Quakers raising money to purchase three magnetic locators for use in Tajikistan. Since then, the group has raised additional funds and through the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative, in cooperation with the United Nations Mine Action Service, has donated 24 additional sensors. The latest set of locators were shipped to Vietnam to support on-going efforts to clear explosive remnants of war (ERW) littered throughout that country.

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New Jersey Quakers Do Their Part to Clear UXO

Woodstown, New Jersey Members of the Woodstown Quakers are making a difference in the UXO and cluster munition problem in the tiny town of Gharm, Tajikistan (a former republic of the Soviet Union). Although they are located several thousand miles away, the Quakers have raised enough money to purchase several magnetic locators from Schonstedt for use in United Nations (U.N.) UXO efforts in Tajikistan.

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Ceremony Marks Schonstedt Donation to Lao Peoples Democratic Republic

First Secretary Bounnhang Keosavang, Embassy of Laos, Washington, DC accepts a donation of 15 GA-72Cd magnetic locators from Michael B. Head, President, Schonstedt Instrument Company. The instruments will be used to find and clear cluster munitions in one of the world's most contaminated countries.

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