Profile of Sudan’s JASMAR Human Security OrganizationPosted: May 7, 2014
With nearly a decade and a half of experience, JASMAR Human Security Organization (previously the Sudanese Association for Combating Landmines) has a broad mandate to address Sudan’s extensive landmine contamination. Even with the partition into Sudan and South Sudan, Sudan is one of the most mine-affected countries in Africa with contamination concentrated in the eastern states of the country. JASMAR (the Arabic acronym for “Sudanese Association for Combatting Landmines) was founded in November 2001 and currently employs 55 people. With origins in advocacy and landmine survivor assistance, JASMAR has recently been accredited, along with the Friends of Peace and Development Organization, as the only national organizations capable of demining. JASMAR joins international operator the Development Initiative (TDI) and Sudanese government units, the National Demining Units (NDU), in landmine clearance. JASMAR has been assigned clearance tasks in Kassala state for the near term and is expected to assist in the landmine clearance of South Kordofan state once the security situation allows.
JASMAR has a long experience with demining and mine risk education (MRE) having served as a national partner to both Danish Church Aid (DCA) and Mines Advisory Group (MAG). JASMAR was one of the first Sudanese organizations, along with Operation Save Innocent Lives (OSIL), to participate in demining having been present at DCA’s cross-border demining training in 2002. With MAG, the collaboration was two-way with MAG providing expertise in manual and mechanical clearance and JASMAR providing expertise in delivery of mine risk education as well as personnel for the manual demining teams.
According to the United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (see below), JASMAR provides mine risk education in Red Sea, Kassala, Gedaref, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states where its 10 MRE teams have reached over 200,000 beneficiaries between 2012 and 2013. Plans are in place to add MRE teams in South, West, Central and Eastern Darfur states in the near future. JASMAR’s manual demining team has cleared over 379,000 square meters of land in just 8 months in 2013 in eastern Sudan with support from the United Nations Mine Action Services.
In addition to its mine risk education and landmine clearance activities, JASMAR is a survivor assistance provider. JASMAR’s current executive director, Sami Ibrahim, said “The principal problem for [landmine] victims is the social gap and so it is important to develop socio-economic projects for them.” In the run-up to the second review conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in 2009, JASMAR conducted a nationwide survey of landmine survivors to determine their needs and priorities. This survey work was informed by advocacy work carried out by JASMAR in Blue Nile state and socio-economic reintegration efforts in Kassala state (JASMAR).
Outside of mine action, JASMAR’s projects include water, sanitation and hygiene programs and work with women and vulnerable children. JASMAR has ongoing interventions in HIV/AIDS, Gender-Based Violence and community-based health care. From time to time, JASMAR has been called upon by its international partners to assist in emergency relief programs as in August 2013 when United Nations agencies provided emergency funding to JASMAR to respond to severe flooding in the Omdurman area of Khartoum. In 2012, JASMAR’s work in security sector reform lead to the provision of reintegration support, including economic development activities like agricultural credits and small business start-ups, for thousands of demobilized soldiers in South Kordofan state.
Going forward, JASMAR has recommitted itself to mine action as a component of its human security portfolio, pledging “to continue addressing personal human security programs such as MA [Mine Action], mainstreaming of HIV/AIDs, gender and environment into its Mine Action programs, DDR [Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration], SALW [Small and Light Weapons] control, CCM [Convention on Cluster Munitions] and works towards alleviating poverty and preventing HIV/AIDS spread.” A complicating factor in mine action in Sudan is the fact that “The number of victims is underestimated in Sudan, due to the lack of accuracy in the collection of data. There are incidents that are never reported.” (Deutche Welle). Also, the continuing insecurity in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states prevents landmine and UXO clearance there while also increasing the risk and contamination from explosive remnants of war.
Thanks to Hytham Malik, JASMAR’s Humanitarian Mine Action project Manager, for his contributions to this piece.
For more information about JASMAR, please visit their website at http://www.jasmar.net/
Michael P. Moore
May 7, 2014