Africa: Call for Mine-Free Africa, 6/11/98

Africa: Call for Mine-Free Africa, 6/11/98

Africa: Call for Mine-Free Africa
Date distributed (ymd): 980611
Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Continent-Wide
Issue Areas: +economy/development+ +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains statements from recent African conferences on landmines, June 3-5 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and May 20-22 in Johannesburg, South Africa.A previous posting contains several documents on recent changes in the U.S. government position on the landmines ban.

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Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

For Further Information Contact:
Anne Capelle (+226) 31 61 45
Halidou Ouedragou (+226) 31 61 45

or Liz Bernstein
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
PO Box 2189
Maputo, Mozambique
Tel: +258 1 49 39 81/2; Fax: +258 1 49 39 80

African Campaigns to Ban Landmines called on the OAU to sign and ratify the international landmine ban treaty before the first anniversary of the treaty signing ceremony 3 December 1998.

"This Treaty should be called an African treaty because Africa made it happen. Africa, the most heavily mined continent in the world, remained united. But we need to continue. The work has just begun. We call on African leaders to continue demonstrating leadership and act now to free Africa of landmines," said Mereso Agina, Coordinator of the Kenyan Coalition Against Landmines

The call came at the close of a workshop hosted by The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Inter-African Union for Human Rights (UIDH) on the impact of landmines in Africa, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from June 3-5, coinciding with the 34th Summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

Workshop on the Impact of Antipersonnel Landmines In Africa Ouagadougou

JUNE 5, 1998

Final Declaration and Plan of Action

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Inter-African Union for Human Rights hosted a workshop on the impact of landmines in Africa, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from June 3rd to the 5th. The workshop brought together a number of African government representatives, including parliamentarians, civil servants and military personnel, African national campaigns to ban landmines, human rights activists and observers from other parts of the world. The workshop coincided with the 34th Summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

The meeting appreciated the important role of the OAU and individual African States in the Ottawa Process and the fact that 39 African countries have already signed the Treaty and 3 have ratified and deposited with the Secretary General of United Nations, namely Djibouti, Mauritius, and Mali.

The participants however expressed their concern that 14 African countries still have not signed the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel mines and on their Destruction. They are Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Egypt, the latter being the sole remaining producer of antipersonnel landmines in Africa.

Having heard from mine clearance operators, survivors and NGOs working with the disabled, as well as national campaigns from mine-affected communities, delegates recognised that the true test of the success of the Ottawa Treaty will be when the number of victims is significantly reduced, survivors are socially and economically reintegrated and when the land is demined and returned to communities. It was with appreciation that participants heard the inputs from government representatives from Burkina Faso, Canada, France, Norway and Mali, who will continue to urge African countries to take the the lead in bringing the Treaty into force and implementing its provisions at the national level.

Participants were dismayed to hear reports that newly laid antipersonnel landmines have been found in Angola, Djibouti, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, and that landmines continue to be used by both state and non-state actors.

Because of this, it was encouraging to meet new campaigners who dedicated themselves to raise public awareness on the landmines crisis in Africa and the Ottawa Treaty in their respective countries. The launch of the Burkinabe Campaign Against Landmines was warmly welcomed.


* Participants agreed to submit to all African heads of states copies of this declaration urging them:

* To sign and accelerate early ratification of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines and on their Destruction before the first anniversary of the Treaty Signing Ceremony on 3 December 1998;

* To implement the various OAU resolutions calling for a continent-wide ban on the production and use of antipersonnel landmines on the African Continent and for Africa to be a mine-free zone;

* To implement the provisions of the Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines such as unilateral steps to prohibit the use, production, trade and stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines in their countries, conforming with Article 9 of the Convention;

* To support the involvement of the general public, NGOs and mine-affected communities in landmine ban campaigns in their territories;

* To increase greatly resources for mine clearance from all mine infested areas in affected OAU countries;

* To increase greatly resources for assisting landmine survivors, including their rehabilitation and their social and economic reintegration;

* Participants agreed to meet with their governments to demand signature and/or early ratification of the Convention banning landmines and to work with other international organisations such as UNICEF and ICRC to ensure that this demand is met.

* Participants agreed to establish or strengthen broad-based, cross sectoral and inclusive national campaigns reflecting the various constituencies devastated by landmines.

* Participants agreed to improving coordination, communication and cooperation with all stakeholders and role players in mine action through capacity building and the formation of a strong network of African campaigns to ban landmines.

* Participants agreed to creatively use the mass media and local communicators such as traditional chiefs, music and drama to promote awareness in their communities

* Participants decided to be involved in the monitoring of the Convention banning landmines through the Landmine Monitor Working Group of the ICBL.

* Participants agreed to call on all parties to conflicts on the continent not to use landmines including state parties and non-state actors in, for example, Algeria, Angola, Somalia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Participants will also communicate this call to all parties using various communication methods and fora, and in this respect to also support the ICBL working group on non-state actors.

* Participants agreed to use other regional inter-governmental fora, such as SADC, ECOWAS, CEMAC or other structures such as the African Commission on Human Rights, and events such as the Paris conference on the 50th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights to prioritize signature, ratification and implementation of the Ottawa Treaty, including its articles on mine-clearance, victim assistance and the obligations relating to the reporting of the situation in each country.

* Participants agreed that national campaigns in member countries of the Non Aligned Movement should lobby governments on all aspects of the treaty in view of the NAM Summit to be held in South Africa in August 1998.

* Participants urged member states of the OAU to take all measures so that the use, production and trade of landmines be considered as a war crime in the International Criminal Court whose statutes ill be negotiated during the diplomatic conference 14 June - 17 July 1998 at the FAO in Rome.

* Participants endorsed the principles, recommendations and action plan of the Southern and Eastern African Regional Workshop on Development and Mine Clearance, held in Johannesburg, South Africa in May, understanding that their implementation will be adapted to suit the particular circumstances in each African country.

* Participants expressed their deep appreciation to the government and people of Burkina Faso for their hospitality. -----------------------------------------------------------

Action Plan for the sub-region of Senegal/The Gambia/Guinea Bissau

General Objective: A mine-free sub-region

Specific Objectives:

For the three countries: * create national campaigns to ban landmines; * raise awareness among the population of the landmine problem to create national solidarity and popular understanding of the Treaty banning landmines. This will include contacting public opinion leaders, religious leaders, trade unionists, traditional communicators, cultural and sports associations, rappers and other youth groups, women's associations, economic groups, etc. * Obtain ratification of the landmine ban Treaty; * Meet with heads of states to encourage commitment for swift resolution of the problem in Casamance; * Meet with rebel leaders to encourage them to stop landmine use (anti-personnel and anti-vehicle); * Encourage national measures to implement the Treaty, conforming to Article 9 of the Treaty; * Monitor implementation of all aspects of the Treaty, including destruction of stocks.

For Senegal: * Mine Risk Education programmes to educate the population about the dangers of landmines, particularly the Casamance population and refugees before their return home * Stop landmine use in Senegal by the Senegalese Army, the MFDC (Mouvement de Forces Democratiques de la Casamance) and bandits (including anti-vehicle) * Obtain aid from the international community to mark suspected minefields and clear affected areas; * Integrate mine clearance in the peace negotiations between the Senegalese government and the MFDC; * Provide legal assistance for mine victims by creating a legal support group for landmine survivors; * Include in national legislation support for mine survivors (including prosthetics and rehabilitation) and financial reparations * Create a medical corps for assistance to mine victims including doctors, nurses, prosthetic technicians, as well as psychological counselling

Between June and December 1998

* Create national campaigns in each of the three countries; * Contacts with heads of states; * Organize events in December 1998 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including specific actions regarding landmines * Organize a national day in the three countries before the end of the year.


Southern African Regional NGO meeting on Mine Clearance and Development

20-22 May 1998 Johannesburg, South Africa

Key Principles

1. Mine Action is a development issue.

2. The needs and priorities of affected people must form the basis of any Mine Action Programme.

3. Co-ordination, communication, and co-operation between all relevant actors is essential.

4. All Mine Action activities should aim to build up capacity in all appropriate sectors.

5. Civil society has the responsibility to ensure these principles are respected.

Recommendations for Integrating De-mining and Development

1. It is critical that survey information on mined areas and the needs of mine survivors be available for prioritisation. Donors should make sufficient funds available for mine surveys and victim needs assessments. This should include commitment to follow-up activities.

2. Education must be provided to institutional, governmental, and non-governmental actors about mine action Bad Honnef (BH)* guidelines and humanitarian de-mining principles. [e.g. UNCSD (United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development) submissions, national meetings of all mine action actors in an area to provide information sharing]

* The Bad Honnef "Guidelines for Mine Action Programs from a development-oriented point of view" were adopted at an international NG)-Symposium in June 1997 (see

3. The meeting supports Bad Honnef 2 to further improve and refine guidelines and provide education on these guidelines. The SACBL and MCBL (Malawi Campaign to Ban Landmines) will look to host a regional BH meeting later this year so that we can make an African input into Bad Honnef 2.

4. Development actors should be educated on the cross-sectoral implications of landmines. (e.g. draw in more actors)

5. South/North and South/South solidarity should be improved and supported to ensure the achievement of common objectives.

Recommendations on Morals and Ethics

1. Civil society should be involved in the tendering and operational process for de-mining contracts and should demand more transparency and co-operation with governments. Donors should withdraw funding in cases of negligence, malpractice, and default.

2. Companies, when involved in the production and sale/export of AP mines and other arms, should not be allowed to demine at all.

3. Donor and recipient governments should develop national guidelines to monitor quality (e.g. HI/MAG/NPA principles) of mine action activities.

4. Ex-producers have a moral obligation to assist affected communities and people.

5. A percentage of defence budgets should be required to go towards humanitarian de-mining.

6. Civil society should carry out the monitoring of the implementation of the "Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction".

7. Funds for research and development into de-mining technologies are not to be taken from humanitarian aid budget lines.

8. A group of lawyers should be convened to consider the treaties, international, customary and domestic law(s) to determine the feasibility of legal action in favour of mine survivors and mine-affected communities.

9. The definition of an AP mine, as contained in the "Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction" must be reviewed.

10. A programme of People's Courts or mock-trials should be set up.

11. A list of mine-producing companies, their subsidiaries, and traders should be available to all campaigns.

12. The meeting endorses and supports the ICBL Working Group on Legal and Moral Responsibility, which should be accorded full Working Group status.

Recommendations on Needs of the Mine Action Community

1) There is a need for more cooperation and coordination with affected communities.

2) This must include the transfer of responsibility to local people.

3) Operations need to be conducted with sensitivity to local traditions, culture and language.

4) Everybody has a role to play in Mine Action Programmes.

5) Mine Action tendering must be inclusive - having scope for developmental work and including all role players - both humanitarian Non Governmental Organisation and commercial companies.

6) NGO's have a crucial role to play in monitoring the activities of Mine Action programmes and National Demining Commissions.

7) More funding needs to be made available for demining and especially for mine awareness and education.

8) Transparency and accessibility to information on the mine action community is critical.

9) Regular meetings of deminers and campaigners and Mine Action teams. This should happen every quarter.

10) The ICBL should include in its budget money for translation of seminal documents.

11) Regional campaigners should engage the corporate communities in global citizenship.

Recommendations on Capacity Building for involvement

1) We encourage all mine clearance operators - both NGO and commercial - to include Mine Awareness Programmes into their activities.

2) National and regional criteria and standards should be developed for Mine Awareness Programmes and for the training of educators to conduct these programmes.

3) Commercial operators are encouraged to use their profits for Mine Awareness Programmes.

At a regional level, both political (Southern African Development Community) and organisational level (campaigns and other interested bodies), there is a need to share learned lessons and experiences with relation to Mine Action Programmes and capacity building.

At a regional level, the Southern and Eastern African campaigns have expressed the desire to form an African Campaign to Ban Landmines(ACBL). This can only take place after further consultation with other African Campaigns. The Kenyan, South African, Mozambican and Zimbabwean Campaigns will initially drive the process.

Translation of relevant materials, training of deminers and the need to acknowledge that different forms of capacity building are needed for different sectors and that these objectives should be prioritised for involvement.

We also recommend that further research be conducted on the nature of capacity building for regional and national campaigns and campaigners.

These recommendations are accepted and should be implemented at a local, national and regional level.

These recommendations are endorsed by the:

Angolan Campaign to Ban Landmines
Kenyan Coalition against Landmines
Mozambican Campaign against Landmines
Malawian Campaign to Ban Landmines
Namibian Campaign to Ban Landmines
South African Campaign to Ban Landmines
Zimbabwean Campaign to Ban Landmines
Ugandan Campaign to Ban Landmines
Ellyse Dimandja - National NGO Council - Democratic Republic of Congo
Yussaf Hassan - Peace and Development Committee, Ethiopia


From: Message-Id: <> Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 17:51:02 -0500 Subject: Africa: Call for Mine-Free Africa

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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