During the first week of June, MLI’s President Perry Baltimore traveled to the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, to meet with the project "Mine Free Sarajevo" implementing partners. By clearing over 8 million square meters of land (the equivalent of 2,000 American football fields!) in Sarajevo and the surrounding municipalities (Novi Grad, Stari Grad, Vogošća, East Stari Grad and East Ilidža), this project will for the first time in 25 years render the capital of Sarajevo mine free. Mine Free Sarajevo is funded solely by the U.S. Department of State and implemented in partnership with ITF Enhancing Human Security, the grantee of the project, and the Mine Detection Dog Center in Bosnia (MDDC). Clearance activities are expected to be completed by September 2020, in time to commemorate the 25th anniversary year of the end of the Bosnian War. Today, Bosnia remains one of the most mine-contaminated countries in Europe. The land cleared through Mine Free Sarajevo will be released to the people for use in housing development, agriculture, infrastructure improvements, and development of the tourism industry.
During his visit to Sarajevo, Perry met with the Directors of ITF and MDDC, mayors of Sarajevo and Vogošća, American Embassy, Sarajevo officials, and multiple national and local news channels to raise local awareness of the project. Perry also met with several landmine survivors who received medical assistance through USG grant funding and did not miss the opportunity to visit one of the world’s very best sitting volleyball clubs, OKI Fantomi. Fantomi’s team is made up of many landmine survivors who are remarkable athletes and have won numerous national and international championship titles!
Landmines continue to threaten the lives of Bosnian men, women, and children daily. A mine free Sarajevo is one step closer to a mine free Bosnia. We look forward to keeping you updated on this incredibly important project funded by the U.S. Department of State that will once again allow the people of Bosnia to live, work and play without the fear of mines.
Photos clockwise, from top left: Perry with OKI Fantomi team; Demining work in Stari Grad; Perry with landmine survivor Selma Guso; MLI President Perry Baltimore (far right) giving an interview to Klix.ba with Director of ITF Enhancing Human Security, Tomaž Lovrenčič (middle), photo courtesy of Klix.ba; Perry and Nermin with the Mine Free Sarajevo logo.