The ICBL is coordinated by a committee of 14 member organizations and two co-coordinators, one based in Maputo, Mozambique and the other in Minneapolis, USA, who implement the day-to-day work of the campaign. A resource center in Oslo, Norway serves campaigns and the public by providing materials, documents, and other resources and support services to facilitate campaign activities. The ICBL’s General Meeting – an annual meeting to strategize how best to further realize the goals of the Campaign – is made up of representatives of national campaigns and individuals and international organizations.
The ICBL has met one of its objectives – the Campaign was instrumental in bringing about the Mine Ban Treaty, which was signed in Ottawa in December 1997 and entered into force 1 March 1999, more quickly than any other major international treaty in history. But even before the treaty signing, the ICBL had made public and clear its ongoing commitment to the eradication of the weapon and cleaning up the mess and aiding the victims. At the closing session of the treaty negotiations in Oslo, the ICBL presented to the conference president, South Africa’s Ambassador Jakki Selebi its “Plan of Action: Entry into Force before the Year 2000” which outlined the Campaign’s next phase of work.
Then and now, the ICBL has committed itself to insuring that the words of the treaty are turned into action. The Campaign has focused on rapid entry into force, which we have achieved, and continues with pressing governments that have signed to ratify. The ICBL also works aggressively to universalize the treaty--to convince recalcitrant nations to sign-- but also to closely monitor the implementation of the treaty so that it makes a real and lasting difference for those individuals and communities affected by landmines.
At the ICBL’s General Meeting in February of 1998, held in Frankfurt, Germany, priorities for the next year were established. These priorities, in keeping with the campaign’s three fundamental “pillars” of the ban, mine action and victim assistance, included:
- to work to increase signatures and ratifications of the Mine Ban Treaty;
- to develop the Landmine Monitor;
- to promote/ensure increased funding for mine action programs;
- to promote/ensure increased funding for comprehensive victim assistance programs;
- to explore ways to engage Non State Actors to commit to a ban;
- to focus on moral and legal responsibility issues
Until the achievement of the Mine Ban Treaty, the overwhelming emphasis of the Campaign coalition overall was focused on the political movement for a ban, though individual organizations carried out their field-based work for victim assistance and mine action. With the signing of the Treaty, the ICBL recognized the need to more clearly focus on objectives and strategies to help achieve its other goals of increased resources for and more effective victim assistance and mine action programs.
Toward that end, working groups were formed on these themes: The Treaty Working Group, the Survivor Assistance Working Group, the Mine Action Working Group, the Non State Actors Working Group and the Moral and Legal Responsibility Working Group. These Working Groups lead efforts, within the Campaign, to address all aspects of the humanitarian landmines crisis. With regard to strategies for universalizing the Mine Ban Treaty, the ICBL agreed to focus on two geographical regions – the Middle East/North Africa and Former Soviet Union/CIS, in addition to the USA, China, and other significant hold-out states.
Since January 1998 new campaigns have been launched in several regions of the world, most notably in the Middle East/North Africa, Former Soviet Union/CIS and Central America. New campaigns include those launched in Abkhazia, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Chechnya, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Mexico, Palestine, Republic of Djibouti, Ukraine and Yugoslavia, and working groups/contact people established in Argentina, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Israel, Jordan, Latvia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Panama, Russian Federation, Tunisia, Uruguay, among others.
Many of the new campaigns were given significant impetus by various regional and thematic conferences held by the ICBL, often in partnership with others, to carry out the priorities agreed upon in the General Meeting and to increase its own base and continue to build public awareness in areas where there has been less focus on the landmine issue and the ban movement. Regional conferences have been held in Russia, Hungary, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Thailand, and Mexico, as well as national conferences and/or workshops in Sudan, Yugoslavia, Japan and India. ICBL trips have also been undertaken to Ukraine, Georgia, Egypt, South Korea, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
This report, the Landmine Monitor, is the result of the commitment of the ICBL to monitor the Mine Ban Treaty. Much like the Campaign itself, it has been an innovative effort whose impact reaches far beyond the Landmine Monitor Annual Report. National campaigns, individual researchers and the ICBL Working Groups all contributed in varying ways to the success of the Monitor. The Working Groups have also actively pursed strategies to better focus the work on their particular aspect of the landmine problem. The reports of these Working Groups follow.
Treaty Working Group
In some ways, the entire Campaign coalition, all 1,400 NGOs in 90 countries, is a “treaty working group,” in as much as each campaigner is dedicated to promoting ratification, universalization, effective implementation, and strengthening of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The members of the Treaty Working Group (TWG) are tasked with taking the lead in developing and implementing the ICBL’s strategies and actions related to the treaty, but it is truly a campaign-wide undertaking. The working group deals not only with the Mine Ban Treaty, but also with other mine-oriented international bodies and instruments, such as the Conference on Disarmament and the Convention on Conventional Weapons, as well as national laws and measures. The Treaty Working Group is chaired by Human Rights Watch. The ICBL Ambassadors (Jody Williams and Tun Channareth) and the the ICBL co-coordinators (Susan Walker and Liz Bernstein) play an active role, in addition to a dozen or so national campaigns and individual NGOs.
Ratification: The immediate goal of speedy ratification was undertaken by launching a “First Forty” campaign, pressing governments to be among the first forty governments to ratify the treaty and thus contribute to its rapid entry into force. Not surprisingly, given the momentum of the entire Ottawa Process, the “First Forty” was taken very seriously by governments and the desire to be part of that group helped to speed the process. National campaigns pressed domestically, while the ICBL and the governments which had ratified very quickly pushed as well. The Treaty Working Group has not, however, stopped at 40. The ICBL wants every country to understand its ratification to be as important as the first 40; the goal is that every country that has signed must ratify. The TWG monitors the ratification process, coordinates with key governments and international organizations, such as the ICRC and UNICEF, and sends out through the ban movement network its “Ratification Updates.”
Univeralization:The TWG and the Campaign overall are committed to the universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. The message of the ICBL to each and every country in the world has been and continues to be the same: APMs are illegal under any and all circumstances – for each and every country, not just some countries. It continues its work to bring those who remain outside the Treaty on board. Immediate target regions for action have been former Soviet republics, including Russia, countries in the Middle East, as well as the United States. As the ICBL works to build new campaigns or strengthen existing ones, the TWG works closely with these campaigns on issues related to the Treaty, helping to guide the NGOs as they press and/or work with their governments on issues related to the Treaty. Members of the TWG have been centrally involved in regional landmine conferences in Hungary, Russia, Mexico, Beirut and elsewhere. Members of the TWG have visited target countries such as Ukraine, Georgia and Egypt to press for these countries to sign the Treaty. Members of the TWG have spoken on multiple occasions at regional and international bodies, such as the United Nations both in New York and Geneva, and the Organization of American States.
Implementation and Monitoring: The TWG works closely with national campaigns and other ban partners on the implementation and monitoring of the Mine Ban Treaty. The chair of the TWG also serves as the coordination point of the Landmine Monitor. The process of gathering data for the Monitor has also served to reinforce the work of the TWG/ICBL. At the same time, the product of the research -- this Landmine Monitor Report – will serve as a baseline tool for ongoing work of the TWG to help the various national campaigns in the ICBL closely monitor how their governments implement the Treaty and comply with its obligations. The Monitor will also serve the same purpose for the other Working Groups of the ICBL on their specific areas of focus. Additionally, the TWG is working closely with national campaigns in promoting and analyzing domestic implemention legislation, which is critical to putting “teeth” into the Treaty.
Other fora: The TWG has been monitoring efforts in the Conference on Disarmament to reach agreement on beginning negotiations on an AP mine transfer ban. The ICBL strongly opposes any effort to negotiate a transfer ban, or any other mine-related measure, in the CD and the chair of the TWG, in cooperation with other members, has written a position paper on Landmines and the CD. The paper is available upon request. The TWG is developing strategies for the ICBL approach to the renewed diplomatic meetings on the the Landmine Protocol of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, which begin in 1999.
Working Group on Mine Action
The ICBL achieved one of its major objectives with the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in December 1997. Despite the importance of this treaty, it is recognized that this will not put an immediate end to the landmine tragedy. Innocent people will continue to lose their lives and livelihoods unless all the mines already in the ground are cleared as a matter of emergency. The Mine Action Working Group (MAWG) was formed by the ICBL in February 1998 as one of several working groups intended to focus on specific mine-related issues in which member NGOs can concentrate their efforts in areas of their particular expertise in support of overall ICBL objectives. The MAWG will address challenges in the important mine action area and guide ICBL policy to effectively address these challenges.
In particular, the MAWG continues to point out that there is not sufficient political will at the global level to clear landmines as a matter of emergency. If resources are made available, landmines would be cleared in years not decades. There is also concern that the local capacity building process is very slow. All players should do more to ensure that locals are trained and empowered to manage all aspects of mine action activities.
The MAWG’s active members, who participate in policy development and other activities of the group, are mainly organizations directly involved in mine action operations around the world: Australian Network of ICBL; Handicap International, France & Belgium; Mine Clearance Planning Agency, Afghanistan; Mines Advisory Group , UK; Medico International, Germany; Norwegian People’s Aid; and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, USA. In addition a number of organizations are indirectly involved in supporting mine action operations and are part of MAWG largely for informational purposes: Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines; Mines Action Canada, the South African Campaign to Ban Landmines and the ICBL Co-coordinators.
Generally the MAWG (and other working groups of the ICBL) take the opportunity of other landmine meetings to meet and discuss MAWG-related issues and activities. In addition to its first meeting in February 1998, the MAWG has had four formal meetings to date. In between the meetings, members have remained in contact through electronic means as well.
Mine Action Statement, Frankfurt, February 1998: The first step that the Mine Action Working Group took was issuance of a statement highlighting key points related to mine action operations. Key points outlined in the mine action statement include the fundamental need for mine surveys as a vital mine action planning tool; importance of establishing indigenous demining capacities; need for significant new sources of funding for mine action programs; the need for appropriate, task-oriented research and development programs rather than those that appear to have little relevance to the international landmine crisis; that existing funds be allocated to mine action initiatives that are appropriate, transparent and strictly monitored in order to achieve substantial progress in clearance; and that the basis for discussion of the mine problem should be in terms of “square meters of denied land” and not inaccurate and misleading numbers. The main trust of this statement is still valid, however, new developments require amendments to the statement to reflect new realities. A copy of the complete statement is available upon request from the MAWG.
Global Survey Program, Mine Action Coordination Workshop, Ottawa, March 1998 and subsequent meetings: During the Mine Action Coordination Workshop the lack of credible information on the size and impact of global landmine problem was strongly felt. Therefore, NGOs, mainly members of the MAWG, took the initiative to implement Level One Mine/UXO Surveys of mines situation in 10 – 15 worst affected countries. During second week of May 1998 a NGOs called a meeting to discuss this concept and prepare some basic principles for general level one surveys of mine situations. In addition to members of the MAWG, the representatives of the UN, EC, GICHD and a number of other states attended the meeting. There was general consensus on the implementation of such a survey initiative by the NGO community identified as the Survey Working Group. Since then, the Survey Action Center has been established to coordinate the initiative and soon the first survey will be conducted in Yemen. Other country plans are also being considered.
Mine Action Reporting Format for Landmine Monitor: During the Landmine Monitor Meeting in Dublin, October 1998, the MAWG met to finalize a reporting format to used by researchers for submission of their input on mine action and related issues for country reports for the Landmine Monitor.
Development of a paper on facts and figures on landmines problem: During its Dublin meeting, the MAWG agreed to develop a paper highlighting main facts and figures related to mines and mine action. A basic preliminary paper on this subject has been developed and circulated to address the “numbers problem” related to the “number of mines in the world, number of years to clear the planet of all mines,” and other related issues. The MAWG is revising the paper. A copy of the paper, “Statement of Facts,” is available upon request from the MAWG.
The MAWG and other Mine Action related Initiatives: Members of the Mine Action Working Group are involved in various initiatives to support mine action globally. For instance, MCPA is represented in the steering committee of the Action for Research and Information Support in civilian demining (ARIS). This is an EC initiative to establish an information system on field requirements and mine action technologies. Similarly HI was represented in a task force to prepare a report on the feasibility of the establishment of a European Entity for procurement, deployment, operation and maintenance of Demining Technologies (EEDT). Members of the MAWG have also provided input to the development of an Information Management System for mine action operations being developed by the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) for the UN Mine Action Services. Most of the members of the MAWG also attended the 2nd International Meeting of Mine Action Program Directors and Advisors organized by the UN Mine Action Service in Geneva during 23 – 25 February 1999.
Standard MAWG Policies on Mine Action: Dublin, October, 1998: ICBL and its members have prepared various guidelines and principles on humanitarian mine action. All such documents will be collated in one working document, which will be regularly updated and circulated.
Working Group on Victim Assistance
Formation and Goals
In February 1998, the ICBL General Assembly agreed to form a Working Group on Victim Assistance. The purpose of the Working Group was to serve as a resource to the ICBL, and others, on survivor assistance issues and strengthen the victim assistance pillar of the Campaign. Landmine Survivors Network was elected Chair by self-selecting Working Group members. The first organizations to join were Handicap International, Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines, Kenya Coalition Against Landmines, South African Campaign to Ban Landmines, UK Working Group on Landmines, Mines Action Canada, Australian Network and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. Through its meetings at ICBL events during the year, the Working Group grew to include individuals from over ten other organizations.
The Working Group generated four mine victim assistance goals during the February meeting, which were affirmed by the General Assembly: 1) ICBL will press governments to commit three billion dollars over the next ten years to support victim assistance, including social and economic reintegration; 2) ICBL will press governments to support a whole range of landmine victim assistance activities: Acute care, prosthetic and wheelchair production, physical therapy, psycho-social support, data gathering, landmine awareness, social reintegration, land tenure and legal and employment services; 3) ICBL and national campaigns will promote sharing of landmine victim information and assistance strategies among members and other groups to effect the best possible rehabilitation outcomes for mine victims; 4) ICBL will promote and involve landmine victims and landmine-infested communities in the planning and implementation of mine assistance programs.
To promote its four goals, the Working Group has carried out a number of activities since its inception. These activities are described below.
Survivor Assistance Funding
In May 1998, Working Group members and other ICBL organizations sent a letter to foreign ministers of all treaty signatories. The letter included goals of the Working Group on Victim Assistance, and asked for cooperation in a global effort to track government funding for survivors. Attached to the letter was a “Survivor Assistance Matrix” outlining types of victim assistance and seeking information on agencies implementing funds, the amount of funds allocated and countries to which assistance was targeted. Aside from helping governments understand the range of survivor assistance needs, the letter served as a reminder that the ICBL expects governments to support landmine survivors and commit resources for their rehabilitation.
To ensure that the message was heard by governments, the Working Group enlisted the help of National Campaigns to remind their respective governments of the treaty provision for States to “do their utmost” to “provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration of mine victims.” The Working Group worked closely with National Campaigns on follow up with government officials, and outlined information needed from both signatory and non-signatory countries.
The Working Group has cooperated with Landmine Monitor in tracking survivor assistance funding. Monitor researchers gathered mine action funding data as part of their respective country reports. The Working Group has contributed to and drawn from the Monitor research, and will build on the funding data in a continuing tracking effort.
Review of Survivor Assistance Documents
The members of the Working Group are humanitarian and development organizations with field expertise, and campaigns based in mine-affected countries. Their working knowledge and experience in assistance programs and the problems affecting survivors is the underpinning of one of its functions: to analyze and provide feedback on reports, research and other documents related to survivor assistance.
The group provides analysis and feedback directly to the ICBL, as in the case of the group’s review of the Landmine Monitor survey, after which it provided a list of questions covering the most important data to gather on survivors. Members of the Working Group revisited the survey questions in Monitor meetings, and helped develop benchmarks for measuring progress in the social and economic integration of survivors.
The Working Group is a source for feedback and input on initiatives of international organizations and governments. After an ICBL meeting with UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), members of the group submitted documents reflecting their expertise on survivor assistance to assist UNMAS with their development of survivor assistance guidelines. The group also reviewed the Swiss government’s “Berne Manifesto on Assistance for Mine Victims,” providing constructive comments and noting potential areas of duplication with current programs to help survivors.
Guidelines for the Care and Rehabilitation of Survivors
The Guidelines for the Care and Rehabilitation of Survivors respond to the lack of information in the donor community on effective assistance strategies. They are intended to help shape and promote comprehensive rehabilitation for landmine survivors, and give structure to Mine Ban Treaty obligations to “provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration of mine victims.” Drafted for the group by LSN, the Guidelines outline the most effective strategies for providing a range of victim assistance. Reviewed by all Working Group members, and submitted for feedback to a number of experts and international organizations outside the ICBL, the finalized Guidelines are thus a compilation of the best and most progressive thinking on survivor assistance.
As the title implies, the Guidelines for the Care and Rehabilitation of Survivors are focused on those victims who have suffered physical injury from landmines. They consist of programmatic recommendations on first aid and medical care, physical rehabilitation, psychological and social support, economic integration, capacity building, access and public awareness and data collection.
Endorsed by ICBL, the Guidelines are being circulated widely throughout the ICBL network and to treaty signatories, donors and program implementers. The Guidelines serve as a basis for ongoing advocacy to educate donors and the public about the needs of survivors. The Working Group will utilize the Guidelines as an advocacy tool by developing public awareness materials and talking points grounded in Guideline recommendations. The group is considering expanding the Guidelines to include information on survivor rights, details on establishing and implementing an assistance program, and care for victims indirectly harmed by mines.
The Working Group has formed a committee to review the Bill of Rights for Landmine Survivors, which was first submitted in July 1998 by Her Majesty Queen Noor at LSN’s First Middle East Conference on Landmine Injury and Rehabilitation in Amman, Jordan. The Bill of Rights draws from international instruments, such as the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, to list the human rights of landmine survivors. The committee will incorporate other sources of human rights and disability law, and review national disability legislation and implementation of the UN Standard Rules. The revised Bill of Rights will be used to promote and strengthen national disability legislation worldwide.
Guidelines for the Care and Rehailitation of Surviviors
The ICBL Working Group on Victim Assistance, comprised of more than 25 international humanitarian and development organizations, has developed a set of programmatic guidelines to help shape and promote comprehensive rehabilitation for hundreds of thousands of landmine survivors worldwide. The Guidelines are part of an overall framework of the ICBL to address the landmine problem through the three Campaign pillars: the Mine Ban Treaty, mine clearance and survivor assistance.
The Mine Ban Treaty entered into force March 1, 1999. The Treaty Preamblerequests State Parties to do “their utmost” in providing assistance to landmine survivors. More significantly, Article 6, Paragraph 3 of the Treaty requires thatState parties “in a position to do so shall provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration of mine victims.” As States must fulfill their legal obligations in good faith, there is an affirmative obligation on States to provide assistance. The Treaty says such “assistance may be provided, inter alia, through the United Nations system, international, regional or national organisations or institutions, non-governmental organizations or institutions, the ICRC, national Red Cross or Red Crescent societies and their International Federation, non-governmental organisations, or on a bilateral basis.”
The ICBL Guidelines for the Care and Rehabilitation of Survivors are intended to help diverse actors, including donors and program implementers, develop and fund the most effective programs to help landmine victims heal, recover and resume their roles as productive and contributing members of their societies. We recognize that mine victims include those who, either individually or collectively, have suffered physical, emotionaland psychological injury, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights through acts or omissions related to mine utilization.
The following programmatic guidelines are intended to address the care and rehabilitation of those victims who have suffered physical injury from landmines. Many of the recommendations apply as well to support for other persons with disabilities.
Emergency Medical Care
Healthcare and community workers in mine-affected areas should be trained in emergency first aid to respond effectively to landmine and other traumatic injuries.
First aid training to respond to traumatic injury and severe bleeding increases the chance of mine victims living long enough to receive emergency medical care. First aid training should be conducted by qualified medical professionals who can uphold standards and provide follow-up training. Where appropriate, mine awareness educational materials could incorporate basic instructions for first aid response to traumatic injury and massive bleeding. Preparation should integrate a public sector and community plan of action and investment in communication and transportation systems to improve access to medical care.
Continuing Medical Care
Medical facilities should have medical care and supplies that meet basic standards.
Surgery and additional medical care is required to rehabilitate survivors and make it possible for an amputee to use a prosthesis. Facilities should meet certain basic and minimal requirements, such as clean instruments and water, to be operational. Due to the special nature of mine injuries, care should be given to build a cadre of skilled surgeons and other health personnel. Useful training tools for surgeons include a surgical theater and manual for emergency care and follow-up, including proper amputation procedures and reconstructive surgery.
Physical Rehabilitation, Prostheses and Assistive Devices
Rehabilitative services should produce devices that are safe, durable, and can be maintained and repaired locally.
An amputee’s first artificial limb is transitional and may not fit properly within months, or will need eventual repair and replacement. Thus, the availability of long-term services must be ensured for necessary adjustments or replacement. Improperly fitting or poorly designed prostheses can cause problems with skin breakdown and infection, leading to further surgeries, and adversely affect the user’s gait and spine. Donations of used or prefabricated prostheses can not be adapted to fit properly, and are thus discouraged in favor of locally manufactured, fitted and serviceable prostheses. Pre and post-prosthetic care should include physiotherapy to prepare for and ensure proper use of assistive devices and prevent secondary problems or injury. Attention must be given to resources and training for physiotherapists and other rehabilitation personnel, and for the treatment of landmine injuries other than limb loss, such as loss of eyesight, deafness and paralysis.
Psychological and Social Support
Community-based peer support groups offer cost-effective psychological, social and other health benefits, and a means to educate local populations about the needs of persons with disabilities and the resources available to help.
Psychosocial support should be community-based, and involve social service providers from both the non-formal and formal health and social service sectors in order to provide culturally appropriate support. The families of mine victims play a crucial role in recovery, and should receive education and support to care for injured family members. Survivors who have progressed in their rehabilitation and reintegration into society are well suited to provide peer support. Research on trauma and recovery suggests that empathy and attentiveness expressed through peer support has positive therapeutic effects. In post-conflict countries where there are virtually no psychological support services, investment should be made in training and employment of competent and locally based social service providers and development workers.
Employment and Economic Integration
Assistance programs must work to improve the economic status of the disabled population in mine-affected communities through education, economic development of community infrastructure and creation of employment opportunities.
The economic status of survivors depends largely upon the political stability and economic situation of the communities in which they live. Employment opportunities, income-generating and micro-enterprise projects, literacy and vocational training, apprenticeship and job referrals contribute to the self-reliance of survivors and community development. Economic rehabilitation programs for survivors should be designed using the same principles of good development work. Post-conflict economic reconstruction in mine-affected communities should include rehabilitation of the health and social service systems.
Capacity Building and Sustainability
From the beginning, survivor assistance programs should emphasize the training and employment of local workers to be responsible for all aspects of project design, implementation and management.
To help survivors in a sustainable way requires building local capacities of community service providers, health professionals and trainers. Capacity- building measures could include training and employment in office administration, financial management, fitting and production of prostheses as well as literacy and language training and education for social service providers and survivors. Private and public donors should invest in existing local infrastructure of all social sectors (rather than creating new or parallel systems) to strengthen education and care for mine victims, their families, communities and those organizations offering support to persons with disabilities.
Legislation and Public Awareness
National legislation should promote effective treatment, care and protection for all disabled citizens, including landmine survivors.
The disabled population must have legal protection against discrimination, and assurance of an acceptable level of care and access to services. Survivors should have access to a formal statutory complaint mechanism to address their concerns and protect their interests. Each government has a responsibility to raise public awareness of the needs of its disabled citizenry and to counter the stigmatization of persons with disabilities. Community education should include a campaign to publicize the abilities of the disabled and the availability of rehabilitative and social services.
Persons with disabilities, like all people, should have full and open access to a variety of services and assistance.
Full and open access to the physical environment, rehabilitation and social and economic programs is a means of equalizing opportunities in all spheres of society. Access includes: the elimination of physical obstacles to mobility, ensuring access to buildings and public places; availability of first aid, emergency and continuing medical care; physical rehabilitation; employment opportunities; education and training; religious practice; sports and recreation; safe land and tenure of land; and information and communication about available services.
Survey implementers must be trained and sensitized to issues of trauma and recovery experienced by mine victims and their families before engaging landmine survivors in interviews.
Data collection that involves interviews with survivors must be handled sensitively so as not to heighten trauma, raise expectations or exhaust communities repeatedly interviewed by any number of organizations. The collection of information must translate quickly into humanitarian action and serve the purpose of improving services for mine victims to integrate socially and economically in their communities.
Non-State Actors Working Group
The vast majority of armed conflicts today involve non-state, anti-state, or stateless actors outside the control of states. Mines are widely used in such conflicts, and are often also produced not only by states, but by non-state groups. Some states currently in power who continue to use landmines began to do so while they were still non-state groups fighting for power. Further, a number of states have linked their own refusal to renounce antipersonnel mines with the use of mines by the non-state groups they are battling. Clearly, an inter-state ban alone is insufficient to stop landmine production, trade, transfer, stockpiling and use.The campaign against antipersonnel mines directed at states needed to be complemented by campaigning work directed at non-state groups. A call for action in this regard has come from affected communities, many governments, international organizations, and from within the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).
Consequently, in 1997, a non-state armed actors project was initiated by a group of ICBL country campaigns - chiefly Colombia, South Africa and the Philippines - and other members of the ICBL. At the end of 1998, country campaigns from Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Kenya, the Philippines, Pakistan, South Africa and Switzerland were part of the Non-State Actors Working Group (NSAWG) dedicated to study and approach non-state actors seeking their renunciation of antipersonnel mines. The position of the ICBL is clear and unambiguous: antipersonnel landmines are banned for everyone. Thus, the Group adopted political and ideological impartiality and commitment to the universal principles of international humanitarian law as its main working principles.
The International Legal Context for Non-State Users of Mines
The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty binds states, but not non-state actors. However, Article 9 (National Implementation Measures), reads, "Each State Party shall take all appropriate legal, administrative and other measures, including the imposition of penal sanctions, to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention undertaken by persons or on territory under its jurisdiction or control." Though typical treaty implementation language, this Article has implications for non-state actors, and could raise some serious concerns with regard to enforcement in times of armed conflict. This is an issue that needs further discussion and elaboration.
While non-state actors are not bound directly by the Mine Ban Treaty, non-state combatants involved in armed conflict are bound by customary international humanitarian law as well as Protocol II Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The ICBL has, since its inception, held the view that APMs were already banned under customary law and Protocol II, thus non-state actors would also be legally bound to give up this illegal weapon. This forms the main part of the existing legal framework for the educational work of the Non-State Actors Working Group.
Further Reasons to Engage Non-State Actors
Wide consultations conducted by the Non-State Actors Working Group during its first year of activity show a growing public agreement - across continents, cultures, and political and religious beliefs - that landmine use by anyone is wrong. In addition to the enforcement of international law, there are other reasons to seek a renunciation of landmines by non-state actors, which include:
- In some countries undergoing armed conflict, non-state renunciation of landmines would genuinely facilitate state renunciation or at least call the bluff of states who excuse their retention of landmines on the grounds that their non-state enemies continue to use them.
- Some rebel groups may eventually become governments or are already the de facto power in areas under their control.
- Non-state actors often improvise landmines. These may be even more dangerous than industrial mines normally used by states in the sense of being highly unpredictable and unsafe to handle.
- Non-state actors who have stopped using mines can be called on to assist demining in areas under their control.
Methods of Approach
Between 1997 and early 1999, discussions at international and regional workshops in Maputo, Oslo, Ottawa, Frankfurt, Bangkok, Tokyo, and Mexico contributed to policy design and program development of the Working Group. In addition to members of the Working Group, ICBL country campaigns and organizations in about 30 countries have taken part in discussions. The NSAWG has begun independent fact-finding and building a data base on non-state actors and landmines. It has also begun field work in countries in conflict, which has involved consultation, dialogue, dissemination of public information and, where appropriate, direct or indirect approaches to non-state actors. Wherever possible, the Working Group's approach to a non-state actor will be developed in consultation with the communities affected.
Significantly, a growing number of armed groups are responding by agreeing on the need to discuss the mine problem among themselves and with the communities in war zones and by making some form of public commitment to ban mines. Other non-state groups have suggested their readiness to consider a renunciation of antipersonnel mines in the context of their renunciation by states.
While dialogue is the preferred method of engaging NSAs, where it does not work, such groups would be publicly denounced, as states have been and are today. Public commitments from non-state actors can be an important tool and an appropriate first goal to work toward. In this context, the Working Group considers that it is important to acknowledge that many non-state armed actors have never used antipersonnel landmines. These groups are encouraged to make their mine abstention policy public.
Different models of public commitment are available. Protocol I, Article 96(3) allows for unilateral declarations of adherence by national liberation movements to be deposited at the Swiss Federal Council. The Mine Ban Treaty has no similar mechanism for NSAs. However, several members of the NSA Working Group are developing the "Geneva Call" which will allow NSAs to deposit a declaration renouncing mine use with Geneva authorities. NSAs may of course issue their own unilateral declarations. Second, bilateral agreements between non-state actors and the states they challenge - mine prohibitions written into peace agreements or agreed upon rules of war - are another form of public commitment. Third, some form of multilateral agreement among NSAs themselves - such as a rebel “Code of Combat Conduct” - may also prove worth pursuing in the long term. Another option is the “mine-free zone” established with a local or regional dimension, possibly as a result of a community's demand that non-state and state actors alike respect the zone.
Progress To Date
Between late 1997 and early 1999, the NSA Working Group initiated or supported non-state actor related activity in Asia (Afghanistan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Burma, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka), in Africa ( Somalia, Sudan, Western Sahara / Morocco), and in Latin America (Colombia and Mexico). Group members have opened talks with non-state armed groups in these countries or through their representatives outside the countries.
With the establishment of a global database identifying non-state actors by region and country - the London-based NSA DBA - the Working Group is preparing to broaden its geographical coverage. By opening a communications point - the Geneva Call office - it is developing a capacity to sustain international dialogue and campaigning in an organized, reliable and transparent fashion.
Response from Non-State Actors
Despite the newness of the initiative, there are already encouraging signs that certain armed groups would be willing to consider a unilateral declaration or a bilateral agreement with the government. Some NSAs also appear open to supporting demining and mine victim assistance programs in territory under their control. Indeed, because of the work of the ICRC, the ICBL, the NSA Working Group, and others, unilateral statements and bilateral agreements with specific reference to landmines are already being issued. A brief overview of some of these gives a sense of the present situation and of the possibilities for further action. They follow in chronological order.
- The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA)'s “Resolution on the Problem Posed by the Proliferation of Anti-Personnel Mines in Liberated Parts of New Sudan” was issued from New Kush - Himan on 1 November 1996.
- An agreement between the Government of Sudan and Southern Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM) (known as the “The Sudan Peace Agreement”), Khartoum, 21 April 1997, contained a specific reference to mines.
- The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed “Implementing Guidelines of the GRP-MILF Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities” in Marawi City on 14 November 1997; the agreement has a specific landmines provision.
- Somaliland (a self-declared Republic) issued an open letter to the Canadian Foreign Ministry indicating its willingness to sign the Mine Ban Treaty in December 1997.
- A mine prohibition statement was issued by the Somaliland Veterans' Association in August 1998.
- The “Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” signed on 16 March 1998 in The Hague, bans the use of landmines in the context of respect for human rights and provides for the protection of civilians from stockpiling.
- • On 15 July 1998, at a conference held under the auspices of the Colombian and German Catholic Bishops in Wurzberg, Germany, the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Colombia issued a public declaration which, among other provisions, reaffirmed an earlier commitment it had made not to use landmines against civilians, leaving open the possibility for future discussions leading to a renunciation of mines.
- The Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) issued a declaration, the “Banning of Landmines in Jubaland,” on 12 September 1998.
- In Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban) issued a statement on 6 October 1998, “Statement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on the Problem of Landmines,” which condemned, banned and announced punishment for the production, trade, stockpiling and use of all types of landmines. The statement appealed to both Islamic and humanitarian principles. It went on to call on the entire international community to follow suit and declared itself ready to cooperate on the ban with the international community.1
- In Western Sahara/Morocco, the Saharawi authorities announced on 1 March 1999 that they are ready to sign the international treaty banning landmines and has called on Morocco to start demining the territory.1
- It is reported that the Government of Sudan (Khartoum, second week of March 1999) and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) (Nairobi, 10 March 1999) agreed separately, but in the context of the same UN initiative, to stop using mines in southern Sudan (area undefined). The commitments were apparently made to the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu.1 From the government's side the commitment is in accord with its signature of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.
- At the time of publication, there is an unconfirmed report about a declaration on landmines by the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC) in Senegal.
This list demonstrates the range of possibilities existing in this area. The NSA Working Group will continue to promote declarations of this kind and encourage others in conflict areas to support the initiative.
However, the list also raises the problem of ensuring that what is committed to on paper is put into practice; experience at both the state and non-state levels already shows that this can be a difficult task. With this in mind, the NSA Working Group is designing a system to monitor non-state actor compliance with such statements.
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For initial proposals within the ICBL see Eduardo Marino, “Proposed Parallel Consultation of Guerrilla Groups and War Veterans,” Bogota, Colombia, March 1997 and Noel Stott, “Proposal for a Complementary Process Aimed at Non-State Parties,” Johannesburg, South Africa, October 1997.
For an early, mainly military analysis of mine use, including “insurgents, guerrillas, terrorists,” see Rae McGrath, “The Reality of the Present Use of Mines by Military Forces,” presented at the ICRC Symposium on Anti-Personnel Mines, Cumbria, UK, 1993. For a recent mainly legal analysis, see Soliman Santos, “War Crimes, Landmines Ban, and Rebel Groups,” unpublished paper, Manila, the Philippines, January 1999.
Summary of approaches from Soliman Santos, ibid.
Non-State Armed Actors (NSAs), “Region and Country Dossier,” and “Region and Country Survey,” NSA Working Group Data Base, hosted by International Alert, London, first edition late 1998.
See Elisabeth Reusse-Decrey, Geneva Call proposal draft texts, Geneva, Switzerland, 1998.
Where no other source is given, the source is the Non-State Actor Database.
The Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines.
“Hail the GRP-NDF Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, especially its provisions against the use of Landmines,” statement issued by Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines, 29 March 1998, Quezon City.
Acuerdo de Puerta del Cielo, 15 July, Würzburg, Germany
1“Statement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on the Problem of Landmines,” issued by the Office of the Emirate with the signature and seal of Taliban supreme leader Mulla Mohammad Omer Akhund, Kandahar, Afghanistan, 6 October 1998. Unofficial translation provided in Afghan Campaign to Ban Landmines, “BAN Landmines,” Vol. .3, No. 15, October 1998.
1Saharawi Ministry of Information, 1 March 1999, in Western Sahara Weekly News, Week 10, March 7 to March 13 1999. Declaration by the Polisario Representative, Brahim Mokhtar, to the NSA Working Group, telephone conversations, March 1999.
1Reuters, 11 March 1999