Africa: Landmines Update, 02/15/01

Africa: Landmines Update, 02/15/01

Africa: Landmines Update Date distributed (ymd): 010215 Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +security/peace+ Summary Contents: This posting contains a press release and updated background factsheet on the status of the 1997 mine ban treaty and the continued use of landmines in Africa, released to coincide with a two-day meeting of African governments in Bamako, Mali. Kenya is the most recent African government to ratify the treaty. Ten of the 53 countries of the African continent have not joined the global treaty which bans the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of antipersonnel mines, and twelve have signed but not yet ratified the treaty.

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Two new educational programs on Africa debut in the media this week. In the U.S., the premiere of the two-hour video documentary Hopes on The Horizon will air on PBS television stations on Friday, Feb. 16. For more information, including viewing times on specific stations, see The documentary is produced by the award-winning Blackside Films, well-known for its film series on the civil rights movement, Eyes on the Prize. Hopes on the Horizon highlights aspects of struggles for political, social and economic democracy on the continent in the 1990s, with segments on Benin, Nigeria, Rwanda, Morocco, Mozambique and South Africa.

This week BBC Radio also began a 13-part series on the History of Africa, available on the web at:



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To schedule an interview or to obtain more information, please contact: * Karine Gavand, Handicap International, + 223- 24-58-94 * Elizabeth Bernstein, ICBL Coordinator, +1 202- 547-2667 * Web: * E-mail:,

(Bamako, Mali: 14 February 2001) The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) today called on all countries of Africa to join, implement and comply with the international treaty banning antipersonnel mines (the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty) at the opening of a two-day regional governmental meeting on landmines in Bamako, Mali.

"We call on the ten remaining hold-out states of this region to join the ban treaty and urge the twelve states that have only signed to ratify immediately," said Mereso Agina, Kenya Coalition Against Landmines (KCAL), a member of the ICBL. "I am very pleased that my country, Kenya, last week ratified the ban treaty bringing the global total of States Parties to 110," she added.

Ten of the 53 countries of the African continent have not joined the global treaty which bans the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of antipersonnel mines (Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia). Twelve African countries have signed but not yet ratified (Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tom, e Principe, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Zambia).

"While the majority of African countries that are party to this treaty are implementing it in good faith there is still a continued need for increased openness and awareness of what it takes to comply with the ban," said Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Co-Laureate and ICBL Ambassador. "Since this treaty entered into force, antipersonnel mines have been used in more conflicts in Africa than in any other region. The ICBL deplores any use of this weapon by anyone but particularly by countries that have joined the ban treaty," she added.

While globally use of antipersonnel mines has diminished greatly, in its recent Landmine Monitor report, the ICBL 's monitoring initiative provided detailed evidence of continued use of mines in treaty signatory Angola by government and UNITA opposition forces. It also reported allegations of use of mines in two other treaty signatories: Burundi (by government) and Sudan (by government and opposition rebels). Thousands of mines were laid during the recent conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. While no concrete evidence has been presented to date, allegations persist of use by States Parties to the ban treaty in the conflict in the DR Congo.

"We hope that this meeting serves to increase awareness of the need for domestic legislation to implement the terms of the treaty, including penalties for violators," said Elizabeth Bernstein, ICBL Coordinator. "We also hope that it spurs the rapid development of national destruction plans to eliminate stockpiled mines within the four-year deadline set by the treaty," she added.

South Africa destroyed its stockpile of nearly 250,000 mines in 1997 and others from the region that recently completed destruction include Mali, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Globally, over 22 million antipersonnel mines have been destroyed in recent years. Zimbabwe is the only country on the continent that has national legislation in place. Non-signatory Egypt, a staunch opponent of the landmine ban, is the only producer of antipersonnel mines on the entire continent of Africa.

"Africa is one of the most mine-affected regions of the world yet when compared to other regions it receives perhaps the least mine action assistance," said Noel Stott, South African Campaign to Ban Landmines, an ICBL member. "We hope that governments attending this meeting heed the ICBL's call for increased and sustained resources for humanitarian mine action and mine victim assistance, as stipulated in the ban treaty. We will also urge them to support effective programs which address mine victims needs, both short and long term, including medical care, physical rehabilitation, psychological and social support, and employment and economic integration," he added.

The Mine Ban Treaty states that each State Party "in a position to do so" provide assistance for mine clearance and mine awareness, destruction of stockpiled antipersonnel mines and care and rehabilitation of mine victims. Landmine Monitor Report 2000 recorded a total of $40 million spent in 1999 on mine action programs in twelve countries in Africa out of a global spending total of $211 million. 31 of the 53 states on the continent have a problem with uncleared landmines and new mine victims were reported in nearly all these countries in 1999.

African states played a crucial role during the Oslo ban treaty negotiations in 1997 by responding vigorously to the ICBL's call for a strong treaty with no loopholes, no reservations and no exceptions. The Bamako meeting, co-hosted by the governments of Canada, France and Mali, marks the first time since May 1997 that countries of the continent have come together to discuss the landmine ban. In May 1999, Mozambique hosted the treaty's First Meeting of States Parties.

Members of the ICBL, including Williams, and landmine survivors, deminers and campaigners from throughout the continent, will participate in this Conference.


Mine Ban Treaty and Africa

Landmine Monitor Fact Sheet Prepared by Human Rights Watch for the Bamako, Mali Diplomatic Conference on Landmines

February 2001

States Parties, Signatories and Non-Signatories

There are 31 States Parties in Africa, including the most recent (and only one in 2001) - Kenya on 23 January 2001.

Nine of the 19 new States Parties in the year 2000 were from Africa: Botswana, Togo, Seychelles, Rwanda, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Mauritius, Gabon, and Tanzania.

There are 12 countries in Africa that have signed the Mine Ban Treaty, but have yet to ratify: Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Zambia.

There are 10 countries in Africa that have not signed or acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty: Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Somalia.

National Implementation Legislation

While several African nations, including Mozambique, Senegal, and Tunisia, indicate that some steps have been taken to incorporate the Mine Ban Treaty into domestic law, only one, Zimbabwe, has enacted full implementation legislation. South Africa and Swaziland have reported that they are in the process of doing so. National implementation measures are required under Article 9 of the treaty.

Use of Antipersonnel Mines

It appears that antipersonnel landmines are currently being laid by government and/or rebel forces in eight African nations: Angola, Burundi, DR Congo, Namibia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda. Since the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force in March 1999, antipersonnel mines have been used in more conflicts in Africa than in any other region.

Landmine Monitor is especially concerned about the acknowledged use of AP mines by treaty signatory Angola. Both government troops and UNITA rebel forces continue to use antipersonnel mines in Angola and in parts of neighboring Namibia. A number of AP landmines appear to have been planted inside Zambia in 1999 and 2000 by Angolan government and UNITA rebel forces.

There were credible allegations in 1999 and 2000 by the UNHCR and others that Burundi government forces were laying antipersonnel mines on the border with Tanzania. The government has denied use of AP mines, and has since mid-2000 accused rebel forces of laying antipersonnel mines.

Both the government of Sudan and the opposition Sudan People's Liberation Army are believed to have used antipersonnel mines in 1999 and 2000. The government of Sudan denies use of AP mines.

It is clear that antipersonnel mines are being used in the DRC, but it remains impossible to verify who is responsible for laying the mines. It seems likely that government troops and opposition RCD forces are using mines. There have been past allegations of use by troops from States Parties Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Chad, but no concrete evidence has been produced and virtually all sides have denied using mines.

In the 1998-2000 border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, it appears that tens of thousands of new mines were laid. Each government has alleged that the other laid mines, and observers have expressed concern that both sides may have used mines. Treaty signatory Ethiopia has denied use of AP mines. Eritrea has acknowledged use of "landmines."

There is evidence of use of antipersonnel mines in 1999 and 2000 by Lord's Resistance Army rebels entering Uganda from Sudan. Various factions in Somalia continued to use AP mines. It appears that MFDC rebels in the Casamance province of Senegal laid new mines in 1999 and 2000.

The ICBL has expressed concern regarding the possible participation of States Parties in joint military operations with non-State Parties that use antipersonnel mines. Such joint operations would be inconsistent with, a possibly a violation of, the Mine Ban Treaty's Article 1 obligation "never under any assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party...." These concerns apply especially to Namibia's involvement in Angola, and the involvement in the DRC of Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Chad.

Antipersonnel Mine Stockpiles

Little is known about antipersonnel mine stockpiles in Africa. This reflects the lack of Article 7 transparency reporting.

It is believed that 27 countries in Africa have AP mine stockpiles, including:

11 States Parties - Chad, Djibouti, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Tunisia, and Uganda;

7 Signatories - Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, and Sudan;

9 Non-signatories - CAR, Congo-Brazzaville, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Somalia.

It is unknown if State Parties Guinea and Tanzania have a stockpile of AP mines; they are among only a handful of countries globally which have not revealed that basic information.

Only Mozambique (37,818) and Tunisia (17,575) have publicly reported the total number of mines in stocks: 37,818.

Stockpile Destruction

South Africa (313,779 mines), Namibia (unknown number), Mali (5,127 mines) and Zimbabwe (4,046 mines) have reported completion of stockpile destruction. All are keeping some AP mines for training or research purposes.

Some stockpiled mines have been destroyed in Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Tunisia, and Uganda.

States Parties that have apparently not yet begun the destruction process include Chad, Djibouti, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, and Rwanda.

Mines Retained for Training

African States Parties that have indicated they are retaining some AP mines for training or research purposes include Mali (2,000), South Africa (4,830), Tunisia (5,000), and Zimbabwe (700), and unknown numbers in Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, and Togo.

African States Parties indicating they do not intend to retain any AP mines include Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Senegal, and Swaziland.

Antipersonnel Mine Production

In February 2000, Egyptian officials told a United Nations mission that Egypt no longer produced antipersonnel mines, but no official public statement regarding production has been issued. Egypt is the only remaining nation in Africa that has not formally and officially given up landmine production.

A November 1999 U.S. government report stated that Sudan manufactures mines, but Sudan denies this allegation.

States Parties South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe are former producers of AP mines.

Article 7 Transparency Reporting

Submitted First Article 7 Report (9 States):

Benin, Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tunisia, Zimbabwe

Submitted Second Article 7 Report (2 States):

Benin, South Africa

Have NOT Submitted First Article 7 Report by Required Deadline (12 States):

Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Uganda

Upcoming Due Dates for first Article 7 Reports (10 States):

27 February 2001 - Botswana, Togo 30 May 2001 -- Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Rwanda, Seychelles 30 June 2001 - Mauritania 30 August 2001 - Gabon 30 October 2001 - Tanzania 30 December 2001 - Kenya

States are required to submit an Article 7 report to the United Nations not later than 180 days after entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty for that State. Entry into force occurs on the first day of the sixth month after the date a State deposits its instrument of ratification with the United Nations.

After the initial Article 7 report, States are required to submit an updated report every year not later than 30 April, covering the past calendar year. Reports on calendar year 2000 are due not later than 30 April 2001.

Article 7 reports should be submitted to the UN Secretary General care of:

Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala Room 3170A United Nations United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017 USA Tel. 1-212-963-7706 Fax. 1-212-963-4066


Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 09:16:23 -0500 Subject: Africa: Landmines Update

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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