UNMAS in Lebanon supports the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) mine action activities within the area of operation by implementing its mandated tasks. UNMAS Lebanon supports UNIFIL demining activities on the line of withdrawal between Lebanon and Israel, known as the “Blue Line”, through the provision of training support and validation of demining teams, along with quality assurance and monitoring of operational and completed sites. This enables UNIFIL to conduct clearance and ensures compliance with International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) and Lebanese National Mine Action Standards (LMAS).
UNMAS works in support of S/RES/2305 (2016) to encourage “the parties in coordination with UNIFIL to …. visibly mark the Blue Line in its entirety…” Representatives from Lebanon, Israel and UNIFIL meet on a monthly basis in order to determine the number and location of Blue Line Markers (Blue Barrels) to be placed along the Blue Line. Cleared areas marked with blue barrels are also used by Observer Group Lebanon (OGL) to monitor activities and report violations (if any) along the Blue Line.
Landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) continue to endanger the lives of Lebanese civilians and UN personnel, while large areas of agricultural and residential land remain inaccessible and uninhabitable due to the presence of these devices. Since 2009, UNIFIL demining teams have cleared approximately 4.8 square kilometers of contaminated land and destroyed over 35,000 landmines and items of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) throughout South Lebanon. Items destroyed include 3,021 anti-personnel mines, 163 anti-tank mines, 28,719 sub-munitions (cluster bombs) and 3,511 UXO.
UNIFIL deminers currently conduct demining operations by opening access lanes through minefields along the Blue Line in order to reach the Blue Barrel points. To date, 104,845 square metres of access lanes have been cleared. Moreover, 325 Blue Barrel points along the Blue Line have been demined, and only 1 assigned task is remaining. By supporting UNIFIL’s demining activities, UNMAS contributes to maintaining peace between Lebanon and Israel, hence the importance of demining activities within the Mission Area of Operations.
The UNIFIL Deputy Force Commander heads the Blue Line Task Force, which is involved in the marking process. The UNIFIL J3 Combat Engineers Section coordinates operations for seven demining teams provided by Cambodia and China.
UNMAS Lebanon conducts the following activities in support of the implementation of the Mission’s mandate:
The Blue Line is demarcated with blue barrels as per the tenets of S/RES/2305 (2016). As such, demining operations are dependent upon cooperation and consensus between all parties, which is an ongoing challenge. Another challenge for the programme is the decreasing number of tasks that remain to be conducted by UNIFIL TCC demining teams. UNMAS continues to actively engage with the Mission and the Lebanese mine action authorities in this regard.
UNMAS Lebanon operational activities are funded by the UNIFIL Assessed Budget for the 2016/2017 fiscal year ending on 30 June 2017. The programme received the full budget allocation requested for this timeframe, and as such, will continue to carry out activities without delay or interruption. UNMAS Lebanon was also awarded $40,000 USD from the Government of Korea which will be used for mine risk education (MRE) activities in coordination with UNIFIL Civil Affairs and the Lebanon Mine Action Center (LMAC).
Updated January 2017