One Armenia Campaign for Meghvadzor village mineclearance

https://www.onearmenia.org/campaign

https://blog.onearmenia.org/remove-landmines-from-artsakh-a-campaign-in-review-59edb7cb30b0

This campaign started in February 2017 and by the end of April project was funded 100%. $98,000

The Lachin corridor (Kashatagh), the thin strip of land which connects Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh (NK), is riddled with landmines.  ONEArmenia partnered with The HALO Trust to demine one major minefield that covers 31,839m² of land located 2.5 kilometers from Meghvadzor village. Thanks to an anonymous American supporter , every donation made to HALO will be matched, dollar for dollar up to $4 million. HALO estimates that by 2020, it is possible for Nagorno-Karabakh to be 100% mine free. 

Meghvaczor clearance has began and on June 8th one landmine was found and safely destroyed. Clearance continues.

Making Karabakh Safe by Removing One Mine at a Time - Mirror Spectator Nov. 3, 2016

By Alin K. Gregorian

Mirror-Spectator Staff

WATERTOWN — People in Karabakh, according to HALO Trust, the world’s largest humanitarian mine-clearing organization, are more likely to be the victims of landmines than the inhabitants of almost any other country. And a third of the victims have been children.  HALO Trust has been clearing landmines in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) since 2000.

Now, the group, according to Andrew Moore, HALO’s regional director for the Caucasus and the Balkans, has launched a crowd funding campaign for the first time ever to clear the last minefield in the village of Myurishen, Martuni Region. The goal is to raise $30,000 for that one particular field which measures 1.8-acres and is land that can be used for grazing or gathering wood, near which 500 people live with their livestock and animals. “This is the first year that there have been no fatalities in Karabakh,” Moore said. He cautioned, however, that fall planting is exactly when accidents can happen as farmers plow or move their livestock.

“We are aiming to make Nagorno Karabakh free of mines by 2020. It is heavily fortified,” he noted.

There have been at least five people injured in landmine accidents in Myurishen since 1995. The HALO Trust cleared three minefields in the village between 2007 and 2011, removing 38 anti-personnel mines, two anti-tank mines and three other explosive items. The minefield being cleared through crowd funding is the only minefield remaining.  Moore, visiting the US from the group’s headquarters in Scotland, spoke at length recently about HALO’s legacy in Karabakh.  “We are confident that we know where all the minefields are,” Moore said. So far, he said, the group has cleared more than 300 minefields in the republic, accounting for 90 percent of the mines. According to HALO, a total of 23,500 mines have been cleared in Artsakh.

Since the end of the war in 1994, there have been 370 civilian casualties from mines and unexploded ordnances.  The single largest donor to HALO in this effort is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), followed by the governments of the UK and Netherland.

There are three kinds of mines, Moore explained. The first is the anti-personnel blast mines, which blow off legs; the second is the anti-personnel mines, with scattered shrapnel fragments upon explosion and the third is anti-tank mines, which explode when a vehicle drives over them.  In Karabakh, an agrarian country, farmers driving their tractors have been killed or severely injured driving over those mines. According to the brochure, families living near minefields are some of the poorest and most food insecure, since they have to choose between cultivating land they know is mind and letting their children go hungry.  Moore added that HALO has the full cooperation of the Nagorno Karabakh government and that their work is contained to the interior and not the border with Azerbaijan, which is still fairly active.

The crowd-funding project is part of a larger campaign — Safe steps for the people of Karabakh — to clear all the landmines in Karabakh with an impact on civilians by 2020. An anonymous donor has pledged half of the $8 million required – if the HALO Trust can raise matching funds.  As part of this outreach effort, the group has produced a brochure, with stunning photos by photojournalist Scout Tufankjian. There will be an exhibition and auction of some of her pictures in 2017.  The total budget for Artsakh this year has been $2.3 million, with large private donations.

It is not only by demining that HALO is impacting Artsakh; the group employs 170 Armenian staff.  “We recruit and train local people. It creates employment,” he said. Notably, he added, HALO has two demining teams composed of women.  The employment, he said, is “transformative” for families, many of whom are heads of households.  Moore stressed that the level of poverty in the rural areas of Artsakh was remarkable. “They are as poor as any [country] we saw,” he said.

Globally, the group has a presence in 19 countries, with a total staff of around 6,000.  “We have overcome a lot of resistance,” he said. “It is one of the last countries in the world to employ deminers.”

In addition, HALO is developing projects with the Armenia Tree Project and the TUMO Center.  As of this writing, 77 percent of the amount sought for the village of Myurishen had been raised.

This year marks the 19th anniversary of the late Princess Diana’s visit to a HALO site in Angola, one of her most iconic pictures, in which she walked through a field wearing a HALO mask and body shield.  HALO, short for Hazardous Area Life-support Organization, was founded in 1988.  To donate toward demining Myurishen, visit https://www.halotrust.org/minefreenk/

For a video featuring Serj Tankian talking about HALO Trust, click on https://www.facebook.com/SerjTankian/videos/10154620606319798/?__mref=message_bubble

The Halo Trust Crowdfunds to Clear Artsakh Minefield - Asbarez.com

MYURISHEN, Nagorno-Karabakh—In a global first, The HALO Trust, an international non-profit, has launched a $30,000 crowdfunding campaign to clear a minefield in Myurishen village, Nagorno-Karabakh.

It is a 1.8-acre minefield that endangers 500 people in Myurishen and the neighboring village of Vazgenasheg in Martuni Region, Nagorno-Karabakh. Clearance would prevent accidents and allow the community to use the safe land to gather wood, graze their animals and forage without fear.

There have been at least five people injured in landmine accidents in Myurishen since 1995. The HALO Trust cleared three minefields in the village between 2007 and 2011, removing 38 anti-personnel mines, two anti-tank mines and three other explosive items. The minefield being cleared through crowdfunding is the only minefield remaining.

The crowdfunding appeal is part of a larger campaign – Safe steps for the people of Karabakh– to clear all the landmines in Karabakh with an impact on civilians by 2020. An anonymous donor has pledged half of the $8 million required – if The HALO Trust can raise matching funds.

Mikhail Merjumian, a landmine victim and a resident of Myurishen whose house is located half a mile from the minefield said “I am very grateful that the minefield is being cleared. It means that there is hope for the village, that the next generation can live in safety.”

Andrew Moore, The HALO Trust’s Regional Director, said “We are taking this new approach to fundraising because Karabakhi Armenians have suffered from landmines for over 22 years. They are more likely to be victims of landmines than inhabitants of almost any country in the world – a third of the victims are children. Landmines also cripple the economy by denying families the use of their land for farming.”

The HALO Trust, the world’s largest humanitarian mine action organization, has worked in Karabakh since 2000. It is the only agency clearing landmines and cluster bombs with a staff of 170 men and women who were recruited locally.

Links to articles

 

Prince Harry – April 4th 2017

https://gma.yahoo.com/prince-harry-honors-princess-dianas-legacy-emotional-speech-123359678--abc-news-celebrities.html

Published on Mar 21, 2017

The HALO Trust in Karabakh and One Armenia are working together to clear the Lachin Corridor of landmines. Anahit Galstyan and Ash Boddy speak of the importance of the project. CivilNet TV

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6XQa8JCN8I

August 2016 – Clothing Drive for impoverished families Press Release

http://armenianweekly.com/2016/08/08/lfa-helps-impoverished-families/
http://hetq.am/eng/news/69736/clothing-drive-to-support-families-in-artsakh-landmine-zones.html

July 2016 – Swiss NGO

http://asbarez.com/153386/swiss-ngo-helps-halo-trust-clear-munitions-in-karabakh/

Landmine Free Artsakh 2015 Year End Press Release

http://asbarez.com/143405/landmine-free-artsakh-receives-4-million-pledge-in-matching-funds/

http://www.diarioarmenia.org.ar/solicitan-ayuda-para-la-limpieza-de-minas-terrestres-en-artsaj/

 Dec. 2015 – Artsakh TV interview with HALO Program Mgr. Yuri Shahramanian and LFA founder Ojeni Sammis

http://artsakh.tv/am/programs/show/19449

Argemino Barro– Spanish Free lance photo journalist (Feb. 2015)

http://www.elconfidencial.com/mundo/2015-02-21/bienvenidos-al-conflicto-mas-congelado-del-espacio-post-sovietico_715753/

Jan 2015 - Video clip(in Armenian) narrated by Mrs. Marine Petrossyan,  Karegah Mayor in the Kashatagh region.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Icsy-UESF8k

Interview with HALO NK Program Manager, Yuri Shahramanian (Jan. 2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN7y_1i8rOk&list=PLKrGQSaVb_qEf9jlpo_9hHIs50Dqdza9S

2014 - Belgian photojournalist David Verberckt who has done reporting in post‐war zones was especially interested in the mines problem and everyday lives of mine victims in NK. Here is the link to his work.

http://www.davidverberckt.com/p753470473#h109f306a 

 A video news report from Artsakh Television highlights the success story of Norashenik – Nov.2013
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gbgOcI3lPo&feature=youtu.be   

Armenia TV reporting HALO USA HQ in Washington DC – March 29, 2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=dDrCsUktX1g&list=PL1oddqDG_ju26AF3fGuF5DxI7XZ_-hSoS#t=360s

Gala Danilova &  Fr. Vazken Movsesian interview at Western Diocese – March 14, 2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O-wL-5d0j8

Civil net – Interview with Nick Smart Jan. 15, 2013
http://civilnet.am/2013/01/16/the-search-for-money-to-remove-mines-in-karabakh/

Los Angeles Times – Syrian Armenians and history of war -  Jan. 15, 2013
http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-global-focus-nagorno-karabakh-20130115,0,4875903.story


Asbarez – Jan. 4, 2013
http://asbarez.com/107464/removing-landmines-and-cluster-bombs-in-karabakh/

Washington Post – July 20, 2011
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/20-years-after-soviet-fall-peace-elusive-in-karabakh/2011/07/20/gIQA8SFE8I_story_2.html

20 minute video that interviews workers with HALO – 2011
Russian with English sub-titles. Plastic mine clearing procedure (5 min). 8min juncture- blown tractor, 37 plastic mines found in one area
 http://vimeo.com/12372340

Short video - 2010
http://vimeo.com/15169687