Issue 5.2 | August 2001 | Information in this issue may be out of date.
Demining in Suriname
by A. Edgardo C. Reis, Chief Coordinator, OAS Special Mission to Suriname
After achieving independence in 1975, the Republic of Suriname experienced periods of intense political and economic instability. In 1986, a guerrilla war broke out in the eastern region of the country and for the next six years, the Surinamese armed forces were involved in a bloody conflict with five illegally-armed groups.
A Long-Awaited Peace
assistance of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Republic of
Suriname and the illegally-armed groups signed a peace accord in August
1992. As soon as the demobilization process was completed, the OAS,
through a Special Mission to Suriname (SMS), helped the Surinamese
Making Strides in Demining
The demining operations were an international effort supported by the governments of Guyana and Brazil, which donated the demining equipment, and with the financial support of Holland. The mine-clearing activities were conducted by members of the Surinamese Army, technically supported by members of the Brazilian military and supervised and assisted by OAS. The operations concentrated mostly in combing the mined areas in search of booby-traps and anti-personnel landmines. Hundreds of weapons, booby traps and mines were destroyed, allowing former inhabitants of the areas, who were refugees in neighboring French Guyana, to return to their homes during the following years.