Africa: Landmines Conference, 12/29/96

Africa: Landmines Conference, 12/29/96

Africa: Landmines Conference

Date distributed (ymd): 961229

The Mozambican Campaign Against Landmines (CMCM), along with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and other Southern African Landmines Campaigns, will host the Fourth International NGO Conference on Landmines in Maputo, Mozambique, from 25 to 28 February 1997.

Below is the official announcement of the conference, with selected additional background information. For more details contact:

4th International Landmines Conference, c/o Fundacao Para O Desenvolvimento da Communidade (FDC), Avenida Eduardo Mondlane, 1160-1170 R/C, Maputo, MOZAMBIQUE. tel. 258 1 430 430/1; fax 258 1 422 595; e-mail:

In the US contact the US Campaign to Ban Landmines, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, 20001 S St. NW, #740, Washington, DC 20009; tel: 202-483-9222; fax: 202-483-9312; e- mail:; web:


Announcing the

4th International NGO Conference on Landmines:

Toward a Mine-Free Southern Africa

25-28 February 1997 Maputo, Mozambique

Toward a Mine-Free Southern Africa

On December 5, 1995, in a village in Maputo province, Mozambique, several children were collecting scrap metal to sell. Among the bits they found was a landmine. When the scrap metal was weighed on a scale in the market, the landmine exploded, killing eight children instantly. Three others died later at the hospital. One injured boy saw two of his brothers killed. This happened three years after the Peace Agreement ended the civil war. Since then, in Maputo province alone, 98 people have stepped on landmines. 68 of them were children.

Every country in Southern Africa, except Lesotho and Mauritius, has had people injured or killed by landmines. It is estimated that more than 20 million landmines have been laid in the region. They now wait, silently, for the footsteps of a woman gathering firewood firewood or a child fetching water. Landmines recognize no ceasefires. Long after a conflict ends, landmines threaten villagers, render farmland unusable, and disrupt transport and market systems.

Yet the world is no longer tolerating this carnage. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines is calling for an immediate ban on the use, manufacture, export and stockpiling of antipersonnel (AP) landmines. In just four years, the Campaign has grown into a coalition of more than 650 organizations working in more than three dozen countries. To date, over 40 countries suppport the Campaign's goal of a ban on AP landmines. Worldwide momentum is fueled by the pro-ban government movement and the conference "Towards a Global Ban on Anti-Peronnel Mines" hosted by the Canadian Government in Ottawa 3-5 October.

Now is the time to turn words into action in Southern Africa. President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique has expressed support for a ban, as have the South African and Angolan governments.

The Fourth International NGO Conference in Southern Africa: Towards a Mine-Free Southern Africa, hosted by the Mozambican Campaign Against Landmines, aims to build on this increasing worldwide momentum.

Of the 17 countries most severely plagued by landmines, seven are in Africa. Three of these -- Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe -- are in Southern Africa. At least two nations in the region, South Africa and Zimbabwe, have produced landmines. Angola has between 8 and 20 million mines in its soil -- more than one for every one of its ten million people. In Mozambique, about 1 million landmines remain. In the past few years Southern Africa has moved away from war and violence. Removing landmines now is key to ensuring peace and development in te region. Banning AP landmines forever is the only way to ensure long-term mine clearance, and that no more landmines are ever planted on African soil.

Come and join us in Maputo. Or join the efforts in your country to rid the earth of this scourge. Ban Landmines Now.


The International Campaign to Ban Landmines will hold its next conference in Maputo, hosted by the Mozambican Campaign Against Landmines and supported by campaigns and organizations throughout the region.

The 4-day conference will consist of speakers, panel discussions, workshops, open papers as well as visits to demining sites and training centers, prosthetics and rehabilitation programmes. Topics will include:

- scale of the regional problem and socio-economic consequences

- case studies of Mozambique and Angola

- effects of landmines on women, refugees, internally displaced and returning populations

- mine awareness training techniques

- landmine survivors experience

- humanitarian demining and setting demining priorities

- 'double dipping': to end the practice of awarding mine-producing companies humanitarian clearance contracts

- 'polluter pays' : steps towards accountability of producers

- strategies for advocacy and country campaigns: building on the momentum from the Ottawa Conference

- regional iniatives via SADC and other channels to achieve a Mine- Free Southern Africa as an international model

Landmines in Southern Africa:

Number of landmines: more than 20 million

Countries most affected: Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Every country in the region except Lesotho and Mauritius has had landmine incidents

Producers: South Africa, Zimbabwe and possibly Namibia

Types of mines: Over 62 types of mines from 17 countries, including the former Eastern Bloc, the US, China, Italy, Portugal, France, Sweden & South Africa

Number injured by landmines: in Angola, at least 70,000 people out of a population of about 10 million

Number of victims: over 250,000 since 1961

Cost of a landmine: US$3 - $30

Cost to clear a landmine: US$300 - $1000

Cost to make a prostheses: US$52 - $5000

Approximate number of mines cleared: less than 400,000 since 1991

Every 20 minutes someone, somewhere in the world steps on a landmine.


Date: 25-28 February, 1997

Location: Maputo, Mozambique

Cost: Registration fee of US$50 (lodging and meals not included)

Hosted by: Mozambican Campaign Against Landmines

To register, or to obtain further information, please complete and return this form:


Mailing Address:






* Some donated funds may be available to assist with

transportation costs. If you wish to apply, please send a

letter with this form indicating why you or your organization

should receive financial assistance.

** I would like to contribute $_______ to the above fund.

Checks can be made out to "Landmines Conference" and mailed to

the above address or wire transfers made to:

4th International NGO Conference on Landmines or "Landmines


Acct. No. 834007

Banco Internacional de Mocambique

Av 24 de Julho, 771

Maputo, Mozambique

fax 258 1 42 93 84


Ban em NOW!!


Background Information



The global movement to ban antipersonnel landmines continues to gain enormous momentum -- particularly over the past two years. This momentum would not have occurred had it not been for the coordinated work of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), a coalition of more than 650 diverse organizations in over three dozen countries. It was the work of the ICBL that helped to spur the government pro-ban movement, the most prominent expression of which was a Canadian government sponsored conference held in Ottawa from 3 to 5 October 1996. This dynamic and historic conference set a timetable for achieving a ban with the Canadian proposal to host a treaty signing conference in December 1997. The ICBL's 4th International Conference, which will be held in Maputo, Mozambique 25-28 February 1997, will build on the momentum of Ottawa, serve as an impetus toward the signing of the ban treaty, continue expansion of the ICBL into mine-affected countries and strengthen campaigns throughout Africa.

ICBL staff has been in Southern Africa since mid-August 1996 to develop the NGO network throughout the region while solidifying the interaction of the ICBL with NGOs in Southern Africa, and ultimately throughout the continent. The presence of the ICBL has already had a significant impact with the creation of a national campaign in Zambia (see addendum); the launch of the Zimbabwe campaign, which coincided with the opening of the Ottawa conference (see addendum), and plans to expand into Angola (see addendum).

The Mozambican Campaign Against Landmines will take a lead role in organizing the conference, thereby strengthening the campaign in the region, capacity building in lobbying and organizing, and both regional and international networking. Working groups have been established and preparation for the conference has begun. There is also a regional steering committee composed of representatives of the South African, Zimbabwe, and Zambian campaigns as well as interested organizations in Angola.

The Maputo Conference is seen as a key step in the dynamic process which will lead to a ban. Tremendous impetus has been gained as a result of the widespread recognition of the minimal results of the two-year review process of the Landmines Protocol of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and that a ban is the only solution. Not only is Maputo the fourth in the series of international conferences sponsored by the ICBL, but also because of increased NGO-government cooperation as a result of the Ottawa Conference it is anticipated that the Maputo conference will be part of a series of regional meetings to foster the creation of mine-free zones which will contribute to the establishment of a global ban. The Maputo Conference is viewed as a critical step in moving Southern Africa to become the second mine-free zone in the world. This would build on the momentum of the September 1996 announce-ment by Central American presidents to renounce the use, production and trade of AP mines.

At a crucial period for ensuring that a ban will happen soon as a result of the Canadian initiative, the Maputo Conference is vital to maintaining the momentum of the ICBL and the ban movement. The Campaign expects concrete results from the Conference at the international, regional and national levels. Other goals are to continue to enhance NGO-government cooperation that began during the review process and developed significantly throughout the planning process leading to the Ottawa Conference as we move toward the treaty signing scheduled for December 1997.


Africa is the most heavily mined continent in the world, yet there has been little international attention devoted to the region and to the urgent needs of demining, rehabilitation and assistance for landmine survivors nor to the crucial relationship between a global ban and mine clearance. Angola, with an estimated 9-15 million mines and Mozambique, with approximately one million mines planted in its soil, are two of the most seriously affected nations in the world. Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia also have substantial numbers of mines. South Africa, which has been a major producer, dominates the region and Zimbabwe has also produced landmines.

Both Angola and Mozambique now face monumental tasks of rebuilding their nations and societies after years of conflict. Development can only truly take place in peace and stability, and in both countries, mine clearance is a vital task for enabling the countries to rebuild and develop in any substantial way. International and local NGOs as well as international agencies and the growing number of pro-ban governments are acutely aware of the importance of clearance operations to coincide with political will and concrete action towards a total ban. Without a global ban in place, mine clearance and victim assistance programs will not be able to keep pace with the problem. In this vein the ICBL will continue its advocacy efforts nationally and internationally to achieve a total ban on production, trade, stockpiling and use of landmines, as well as increase assistance for demining, rehabilitation and survivor assistance projects. The next step, intended to galvanize efforts regionally as well as globally, will be the 4th International NGO Conference on Landmines.

The Mozambican Campaign Against Landmines, active since 1994, will be the primary host of the conference. The South African Campaign to Ban Landmines, formed in July 1995, will join the recently formed campaigns in Zimbabwe and Zambia and NGOs in Angola and other countries of the region and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines to organize the 4th International NGO Conference on Landmines: Toward a Mine-Free Southern Africa.

As international momentum toward a ban on landmines continues to grow, the conference will help strengthen existing campaigns in the region and mobilize new ones; focus international attention on these most seriously affected nations; garner increased support for the urgent demining and rehabilition needs of the region; encourage governments to take national and regional steps, such as through the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), to ban the production, use, trade and stockpiling of AP landmines; and enable affected countries to exchange information and advocacy strategies for the next phase in the campaign towards a global ban on these cowards' weapons.


A. Phnom Penh Conference: The International Campaign to Ban Landmines has gained enormous momentum in the past year. The third International Campaign- sponsored conference, The Human and Socio-Economic Impact of Landmines: Towards an International Ban, was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in June 1995. The Conference was the first such international conference held by NGOs in a heavily affected country. It was attended by 400 delegates from 40 countries, and did indeed galvanize support and momentum for the Campaign both in the Asian region as well as worldwide. As a result of the conference, campaigns in other Asian countries were launched, the Cambodia Campaign was strengthened, the Cambodian government called for a ban and drafted national legislation toward that end, and a few months later the Philippine government became the first ASEAN country to unilaterally ban AP mines and destroy stocks.

B. CCW Review Process: The Campaign played an important role in the two-year review process of the the 1980 UN Convention on Conventional Weapons (which would not have been convened had it not been for the pressure exerted by the French campaign). The Campaign always viewed the CCW review as but one step on the way to a ban-- not as an end in itself, but as an opportunity for promoting the Campaign's agenda. With the intense international focus on landmines during the review process, significant steps were take by some states to move effectively toward a ban. The momentum of the Campaign to Ban Landmines continued to grow in this period -- so much so that the movement to ban AP mines has overtaken the CCW approach to controlling the weapon. At the beginning of the first session of the review conference, in Vienna in September 1995, only 14 nations had pledged support for an immediate ban. That number has now grown to nearly 50.

C. Ottawa Conference: It was also during the review conference that the pro-ban governments first began to meet. The ICBL convened the first such meeting during the January 1996 review session. It was then that the Canadian government announced an indefinite moratorium on the use and production of APMs and began to take an important leadership role among pro-ban governments. Working with the Quaker office in Geneva, the ICBL and the Canadian government called for two additional pro-ban meetings during the final session of the review conference. At those meetings the broad outlines of a Canadian initiative to galvanize the pro-ban movement in a meeting of states and ICBL members in Canada in the autumn of 1996 was presented.

In preparing for the Ottawa Conference, held from 3 to 5 October 1996, the Canadian government stated that the purpose of the conference was "to catalyze practical efforts to move toward a ban and create partnerships between states, international organizations and agencies and non-governmental organizations essential to building the necessary political will to achieve a global ban on AP mines." And indeed it did. At the conference 70 governments, numerous NGOs, the ICRC and UN agencies adopted a Declaration and the Conference Chairman put forward an "Agenda for Action" outlining concrete global, regional and national activities "to be undertaken by the international community - on an immediate and urgent basis - to build upon the Ottawa Declaration and to move this process achieve a rapid global ban on AP mines." The Canadian government concluded the conference by inviting governments to return to Ottawa in December 1997 to sign a treaty banning AP landmines. The Campaign considers the Ottawa Conference to be the most significant event in the movement to ban landmines. It has clearly accelerated the process and identified a target date to work toward in banning landmines.

Although the ICBL had already begun plans for its 4th International Conference to be held in Africa, the Ottawa Conference viewed that conference as a key element in the Ottawa Agenda for Action. Thus, the ICBL's 4th international conference on landmines: Toward a Mine-Free Southern Africa will be an important forum to follow up on initiatives launched in Ottawa. For example, one of the objectives of the Ottawa Conference was to focus on regional groupings and initiatives. The conference in Southern Africa will help identify ways to encourage SADC members to take concrete national and regional steps towards a mine-free Southern Africa. In Ottawa, representatives of African governments and the OAU suggested strategy sessions at the Maputo conference on how to implement the OAU resolutions calling for Africa-wide bans. The establishment of a Southern Africa mine-free zone is viewed as an important step after the recent announcement by Central American presidents, renoucing use, production and trade of APMs, thus effectively creating the first mine-free zone in the world.


Message-Id: <> From: Date: Sun, 29 Dec 1996 10:22:34 -0500 Subject: Africa: Landmines Conference

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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