Destroyed more than 6.8 million items of small arms ammunition and 1.3 million items of explosive devices, including 40,793 mines, 83,987 cluster munitions, and 1.13 million other items of unexploded ordnance (UXO), to make safe: 2,167 water points, 3,327 schools, and 389 health clinics.
Cleared 4,818 km of road, enabling UN and humanitarian partners to deliver life-saving aid, as well as supporting functioning markets and sustainable development.
Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) ensured that 6.5 million people, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, and host communities, can recognize and report explosive hazards.
“Mine action cannot wait. . . children are getting killed. Children explore, and they touch what they see. We must remove these items and do continuous education. If we pause, children fall into danger.”
Erasmus Ndemole, UNMISS Child Protection Officer.
Since its inception in 2004, UNMAS has cleared 47.2 km2 of minefields and 88.6 km2 of cluster strikes and battlefields as well as surveying and confirming more than 1,175.1 km2 of suspected areas.
The total contamination area is now estimated to be around 16.8 km2 (approximately 2,239 football pitches) with 358 remaining tasks comprising 115 AP minefields, 73 AT minefields and roads, 136 cluster munition strikes, and 34 confrontation areas. The majority of the remaining contamination is centred in the southern part of the Greater Equatoria region, which is currently the area of greatest insecurity. Much of the contamination straddles the primary refugee return routes. Safe land is needed for resettlement and agriculture and is a prerequisite for safe return. As of 22 September 2023, UNMAS coordinates 20 mine action teams. Each year the teams clear approximately 2.7 km2 of mine fields and 4.1 km2 of cluster strikes and battlefields and deliver safety messaging to more than 355,000 people. UNMAS also supports the capacity of the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA).
UNMAS is a component of UNMISS, mandated under Security Council Resolution 2677 (2023), and supports the four objectives: Protection of civilians, creating the conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, supporting the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the peace process, and monitoring, investigating, and reporting on violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights.
Protection of civilians
UNMAS-UNMISS protects civilians by removing explosive hazards in communities and providing Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE), including in areas of high IDP or refugee movement and return. Clearance efforts enable safe access to farmlands, homes, health centres and schools and encourages socio-economic development, whilst EORE supports safe behaviours to reduce the potential for accidents. Recently, UNMAS has been clearing the town of Bunj in Upper Nile State where part of the town is built on top of a minefield with communities living mere meters away from explosive hazards. Read more: AP and AT mines in Bunj and Beatrice's success story.
Creating conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance
UNMAS-UNMISS ensures UN and NGO humanitarian partners have the confidence to deliver humanitarian support to those in need, free from the threat of explosive hazards. This includes clearing areas and routes to enable the safe movement of humanitarians to deliver lifesaving aid and providing humanitarian actors with EORE so they can recognise potential threats and avoid unsafe behaviour. The 2023 crisis in Sudan resulted in the displacement of over 1 million people. Displaced persons are at higher risk of being impacted by EH as they move into unfamiliar territory and do not know the localised threats. To address this issue, UNMAS initiated specialized training on EORE at various border points such as Bulukat, Upper Nile, where refugees and returnees intersect in their quest for safety.
Supporting the peace process
UNMAS-UNMISS enables broader peacebuilding activities that would otherwise not be possible given the presence of explosive hazards. This includes joining mission road patrols, verifying the safety of Helicopter Landing Sites and providing UNMISS personnel with EORE, thus ensuring uniformed and civilian peacekeepers are able to safely access even the most remote areas to deliver peacebuilding services. UNMAS survey and clearance efforts also directly enable mission peacebuilding initiatives such as large-scale road rehabilitation and Mission Quick Impact Projects, most recently to enable the rehabilitation of six schools in Western Bahr-el-Ghazal to provide over 2500 children and 60 teachers with improved education facilities.
Mine Action activities also focus on building resilient communities by supporting sustainable livelihoods through clearance of agricultural areas and providing local farmers safe areas to grow crops to sustain their families and enhance local agricultural commerce. Recently in Tindilo, Central Equatoria, UNMAS teams worked in contaminated areas, where over 400 cluster munitions and over 80 other mines and unexploded ordnance were found and destroyed. The local community now uses this cleared land to grow crops safely and without fear.
Finally, UNMAS UNMISS provides technical advice and assistance to the NMAA and provides technical advice as part of the mission's engagement with the Government of South Sudan and other political stakeholders in the areas of weapons and ammunition management. Recently, South Sudan joined other 111 member states in becoming a party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a strategic achievement demonstrating the country’s commitment in protecting civilians.
Monitoring, investigating, and reporting
UNMISS is mandated to document and verify incidents that constitute violations of and/or abuses of international human rights and international humanitarian law. In support of this mandate, UNMAS oversees the Information Management database for Mine Action on behalf of the NMAA and reports on the use of cluster munitions or other conventional weapons. UNMAS also provides technical advice to the legal frameworks that are relevant to mine action.
UNMAS South Sudan receives funding from assessed contributions to the UN Peacekeeping operation through the Department of Peace Operations.
Data as of October 2023