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SAFE PASSAGE: A Newsletter for the Humanitarian Mine Action and Small Arms/Light Weapons Communities, September 2013

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement September 2013
Date: 12/2012 Description: Safe Passage: A Newsletter for the Humanitarian Mine Action and Small Arms/Light Weapons Communities. - State Dept Image

In This Issue:

PM/WRA Welcomes New Director 


 Date: 2013 Description: Colonel Stanley L. Brown Director, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement. - State Dept Image
Colonel Stanley L.  Brown, Director, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.
2013 has been a year of transition in PM/WRA. In July I assumed responsibilities as the new Office Director of PM/WRA with the retirement of Jim Lawrence, who made countless contributions to Humanitarian Mine Action efforts. We will continue to closely monitor and focus our efforts on the Middle East, northern Africa and Southeast Asia, while also looking for ways to expand U.S. assistance in the Pacific in the form of landmine and ERW clearance and mine risk education. This edition of Safe Passage highlights some of the team's great work over the last few months. Our implementing partners have made significant progress in 2013 and we appreciate your innovation and dedication and look forward to our continuing partnership as we tackle the challenges of the coming year.


Stan Brown
Director, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement

"Spirit of Soccer" Brings Help and Hope to Syrian Refugees 

by David McKeeby

 Date: 2013 Description: Syrian children participate in a soccer drill. - State Dept Image
Syrian children participate in a soccer drill.
Childhood is far from carefree for millions of children growing up in conflict. Even a simple game of soccer can mean serious risk when a playing field may contain buried landmines or unexploded munitions. A new initiative by the U.S. Department of State is working to save lives and prevent injuries by using soccer to educate Syrian youth at the Za'atri refugee camp in northern Jordan about these hidden hazards when they will be able to return home. Read full blog post»

Surviving the Peace: New Film Captures Post-Conflict Challenges in Angola 

by Chris Murguia

Surviving the Peace: Angola.
Angola faces a serious struggle with landmines, as well as unexploded bombs, mortars, and other munitions buried and abandoned across the country's 18 provinces, a tragic legacy of the country's war for independence and nearly three decades of civil war that finally ended in 2002. Surviving the Peace: Angola, a film produced by our non-governmental organization (NGO) partner the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), captures the challenges facing the people of Angola and how the United States is taking action to help.

A sequel to MAG's previous film Surviving the Peace: Laos, this powerful film was made possible with funding from the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Read full blog post»  

Wheelchair Basketball with Landmine and ERW Survivors in Afghanistan 

by David McKeeby

 Date: 2013 Description: Afghan wheelchair basketball teams compete in Kandahar. - State Dept Image
Afghan wheelchair basketball teams compete in Kandahar.
In March 2012, participants in Clear Path International (CPI) and the Afghan Amputee Bicyclists for Rehabilitation and Recreation's wheelchair basketball league played for a championship. With funding from PM/WRA, the two organizations teamed up to give survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war "hope and confidence," while raising public awareness about the "ultimate potential of the players, despite their disabilities." Read full blog post»

U.S. Embassy Iraq Hosts Humanitarian Demining Roundtable

by The HALO Trust 

On April 16, the U.S. Embassy hosted a roundtable discussion with Iraqi and international partner Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on humanitarian demining activities in Iraq. Iraq is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, and the U.S. Government has provided more than $250 million to support demining projects in Iraq since 2003. Participants noted significant progress in recent years. Thousands of square kilometers of land have been cleared of mines and approved for use by local communities, data about known minefields has been improved and consolidated, victims have been assisted with rehabilitation and training, and many Iraqis have been educated about the risks of mines, especially for children. Read full press release» 

Want to write an article for Safe Passage? Email Kristin Dowley at

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