Landmine Free Artsakh has announced that another village was successfully cleared from landmines in Artsakh in August, 2015. Recent donations totaling $15,000 enabled clearance of Chartar town from 30 unexploded cluster bombs covering an area of 27,000m2 (6.7 acres). Chartar is located in Martuni region, north of Amaras where at the beginning of the fifth century Mesrob Mashdots established the first-ever school that used the Armenian alphabet. Having a population of 4,600, Chartar is no longer a village and its 150 farming families are now going back to cultivating their fertile land. The economic benefit will go a long way towards improving the lives of all its residents.

Landmine Free Artsakh is a group of concerned Armenians that has taken it upon itself to help raise funds and awareness until every village in Artsakh has been cleared of this ever-present danger. These villages are in the Lachin, Hadrut and Martuni regions, where no international government grants and funds have been secured. Without private funding these minefields might never be cleared. The group is raising funds for the HALO Trust, the world’s oldest and largest humanitarian landmine clearance organization and the only mine clearance operator in Artsakh.

Since 2012, Landmine Free Artsakh has successfully raised $61,000, clearing three villages and directly benefited over 300 families. Now, over 3,500 villagers are focused on cultivating their farmlands and herding instead of worrying about losing family members or livestock due to unexploded ordnances. Parents no longer need to worry about their children stumbling on cluster bombs as they play and help their families. Recently these villages have experienced not just returning families but new settlers as well especially Syrian Armenians in the Kashatagh (Lachin) region.

On Monday November 2nd, President Bako Sahakyan of Artsakh received Ojeni Sammis, chair of Landmine Free Artsakh Campaign and Yuri Shahramanyan, program manager of the HALO Trust organization for Armenia and Artsakh. They discussed issues related to land mine clearance in Artsakh. President Sahakyan stressed that HALO Trust fulfilled an important mission in Artsakh and added that Landmine Free Artsakh’s participation and assistance in the implementation of the mission is required and necessary.
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