Africa: Landmines Call for Action, 11/13/97

Africa: Landmines Call for Action, 11/13/97

Africa: Landmines Call for Action

Date distributed (ymd): 971113

Document reposted by WOA

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Region: Continent-Wide

Issue Areas: +security/peace+ +US policy focus+

Summary Contents:

This posting contains two press releases by the Mozambican Campaign Against Landmines. The first release calls on members of the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA) to sign the international treaty to ban landmines. The second document contains information about the actions of the African Campaigns prior to October 6, 1997, and the results of those actions.

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Press Release from Mozambique 31 October 1997

Mozambican Campaign Against Landmines calls on Global Coalition for Africa to Forge a Mine-Free Africa

On the eve of the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA) Meeting which will take place in Maputo, Mozambique 31 October - 2 November the Mozambican Campaign Against Landmines (CMCM) calls on members of the Coalition to commit to signing the international treaty banning the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of anti-personnel landmines in December in Ottawa, Canada. The conference opens one day after South Africa destroyed the last of its stockpiles. CMCM welcomes this concrete step, a complement to South Africa's leadership in negotiating the treaty. CMCM calls on other African countries to follow suit.

"We urge the Global Coalition for Africa to support the treaty, to issue a declaration in support of it, and send a clear message that development for Africa, the most heavily mined continent in the world, includes a mine-free Africa: banning the weapon, ratifying the treaty, destroying stocks and committing funds for humanitarian mine clearance and victim assistance," said Julio Mapote, Coordinator of CMCM. "Many African governments, whom are represented here in Maputo this week, have already pledged to sign the treaty. We now call on them to urge all of their partners here in the Global Coalition for Africa to do so as well," said Mapote.

Those African governments represented here in Maputo at the Global Coalition which have already committed themselves to signing the ban treaty in Ottawa are: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo (Brazzaville), Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. The US remains opposed to the treaty, as does Finland, while most of the Northern partners of the Global Coalition have indeed committed to signing the treaty. Japan also recently announced its intention to sign. "We call on the United States and Finland to support the treaty immediately. As funders of demining programmes in Africa, particularly in Mozambique and Angola, they should not only continue to help us remove these killers from African soil but also engage in prevention, not just treatment," noted Mapote.

African governments participating in the Global Coalition which signed the Brussels declaration, indicating likelihood of signing the treaty include: Benin, Chad, Malawi and Rwanda. Those GCA partners who have not yet committed to signing the ban treaty are: Central African Republic and Tunisia.

Africa is littered with nearly 50 million landmines in countries including Angola, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Mines strewn throughout Southern Africa include 64 types, which came from over 20 countries. South Africa, Zimbabwe and Uganda have permanently halted production, while Egypt is the sole remaining producer on the continent. Angola has perhaps 10 million landmines in its soil, roughly one landmine for every Angolan, and there are about 70 000 amputees in the country, of whom 8 000 are children. Here in Mozambique, at least 8 000 Mozambicans have lost their lives to landmines and hundreds of thousands more remain in the ground. Throughout the continent, land-hungry farmers are denied access to arable land due to landmines. They hinder social and economic development, cause social dislocation, obstruct control of cross border diseases and destroy the environment.

Many African countries are responding to this humanitarian crisis. Mapote commented, "We are proud of those African governments who have taken a leadership role. Indeed we hope a unified Africa will sign this treaty. We urge the recalcitrant states to immediately join the majority of African countries and over 100 countries worldwide committed to banning this indiscriminate weapon. And we urge all African governments to be among the first 40 countries to ratify the treaty and to increase funds for demining and victim assistance to forge a mine-free Africa."

For further information please contact: Julio Mapote (CMCM) Tel: +258 1 430 430/1 Fax: +258 1 422 595 Email:

Ban em NOW!!



Actions by African Campaigns October 6, 1997

Africa Day of Action Against Landmines: Call to African Governments to Advance on Ottawa: Be the first to Ratify the Mine Ban Treaty! Call to USA: Sign the Ban Treaty!

Today, October 6, was declared Africa Day of Action Against Landmines by the continent's 10 campaigns -- a day which activists will mark with a flurry of correspondence, congratulations and pleas to African governments to continue their leadership in the ban movement and to become the first to ratify the international ban treaty. Campaigners also urged governments to work to bring it into force before the year 2000, increase demining efforts and release funds for victim assistance.

Graca Machel, in a letter to African leaders on behalf of African Campaigns noted "It was a day for all of us to feel proud to be African. For as the most heavily mined continent in the world, we have felt an acute responsibility to help rid our continent, and the world, of these weapons and ensure that our governments take a leadership role in this campaign. And our words have not rung hollow... We are proud of the impressive participation of numerous African governments in Oslo who spoke up strongly, individually as well as a unified region, and were instrumental in securing a clear, simple treaty truly banning AP mines. We are proud that we can say that the plea made in South Africa by Archbishop Tutu that Africa help give the world the gift of a total ban on landmines has been heard throughout the continent, and indeed world."

African governments consistently defended the integrity and spirit of the ban treaty text by preventing attempts by the USA to gut the treaty. The US demanded exceptions for ongoing use of AP mines on the Korean peninsula, a permanent exception for use of its mixed systems and a lengthy delay of entry into force. African governments were exemplary in their consistent resistance to US pressure. In addition, the conference was skillfully chaired by South African J.S. Selebi.

Separate letters were also sent to the Foreign Ministers of African governments by the South African Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Mozambican Campaign to Ban Landmines and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines via embassies in Washington DC. Those African governments which participated in the Oslo Conference and adopted the ban treaty are: Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Campaigns also sent letters to African governments NOT present in Oslo, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, urging them to give up this indiscriminate weapon and "become part of the 100 or so countries who negotiated the ban treaty and who are now prepared to sign the treaty in December in Ottawa." Activists are also calling on those African governments which are members of the Commonwealth to maintain their leadership and unified action by urging those partners to sign the treaty during the upcoming meeting of heads of state in Edinburgh 24- 26 October.

Today African activists are also calling on the United States to sign the ban treaty in Ottawa. In Mozambique, where 200 people held a demonstration in front of the US embassy in Maputo on 9 September, campaign members will hold a follow up meeting with embassy staff on 6 October. "Given the destructive role of the US in Oslo, we in Mozambique would like to ask why they fund demining programmes in our country but refuse to give up this weapon. We will tell them that they are mistaken in thinking that the absence from this treaty of the US, China and Russia is more important than the participation of 100 countries. They have only one choice, and that is to get on board," said Julio Mapote, coordinator of the Mozambican Campaign to Ban Landmines.

Yet as a symbol emphasising the next step of the work remaining to be done at home to eliminate landmines, today the Mozambican Campaign will also hold a meeting with the National Demining Commission of Mozambique to discuss the progress and future priorities for demining in Mozambique.

In other actions by African Campaigns, petitions will be presented to the government of Mauritius by the Mauritius Ban Landmines Group and the Zambian Campaign to Ban Landmines will also issue letters to government leaders and the United States Embassy.


For further information, contact: Sue Wixley, South African Campaign to Ban Landmines: tel. 27 11 339 2560/81; fax 27 11 339 2740; email Julio Mapote, Mozambican Campaign to Ban Landmines tel: 258 1 430 430/1; fax 258 1 422 595 email: Muleya Mwananyanda, Zambian Campaign to Ban Landmines: tel. 260 1 226 544 fax: 260 1 238 911 email: Mereso Agina, Kenya Coalition Against Landmines: tel 254 2 222 095 fax: 254 2 225 390 email:

Ban em NOW!!


For information on actions being taken in the United States please contact:

US Campaign to Ban Landmines,

2001 S Street,NW Suite 740,

Washington, DC 20009

Ph +202-483-9222 Fax +202-483-9312

Email: or


Message-Id: <> From: "Washington Office on Africa" <> Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 09:23:51 -0500 Subject: Africa: Landmines Call for Action

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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