In May 2006, Afghanistan reported that since signing the Mine Ban Treaty, 65,973 stockpiled mines had been destroyed, including 44,819 since the beginning of 2005. Afghanistan served as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-economic Reintegration from December 2005 to September 2006. The pace of demining accelerated in 2005; the amount of land demined increased by over one-third to almost 140 square kilometers, despite deteriorating security. Mine clearance operations ran into severe funding shortfalls in mid-2006; the laying-off of demining personnel was announced in July, with further cuts expected. Mine risk education reached over 1.8 million Afghans and 2,365 communities in 2005. There were 848 new casualties recorded in 2005, maintaining the relatively constant casualty rate of recent years; however, child casualties continued to increase.
In April 2006 the parliament adopted national implementation legislation. Albania revealed that it possesses antivehicle mines with breakwires and that it plans to destroy them. DanChurchAid demined and released 1.38 square kilometers of mine-affected land in northeast Albania in 2005, where mine risk education continued. Most casualties occurred in a different part of the country, caused by explosive remnants of war. In 2005, 23 new casualties were recorded; only two casualties were in the northeast.
Algeria completed its stockpile destruction on 21 November 2005. A total of 150,050 antipersonnel mines of 10 different types were destroyed in 12 destruction events over the course of a year. Algeria served as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies from December 2004 until December 2005. From November 2004 to 31 March 2006, the army discovered and destroyed 190,858 emplaced antipersonnel mines (six percent of the three million-plus mines on Algeria’s eastern and western borders). Algeria also destroyed 10,996 antipersonnel mines laid by its army during the struggle with insurgent groups in the 1990s. In May 2006, the government and UN Development Programme negotiated a cooperation agreement on mine action. There was a significant increase in casualties from mines, unexploded ordnance and victim-activated improvised explosive devices in 2005, with at least 15 people killed and 36 injured.
In May 2006, Angola again indicated it may require an extension of its 1 January 2007 deadline for completion of antipersonnel mine stockpile destruction, but the Mine Ban Treaty does not allow extensions. National implementation legislation has been sent to the parliament. In 2005, 14.2 square kilometers of land and 668 kilometers of roads were demined, according to Angola; demining operators reported less clearance. In December 2005, the Executive Commission for Demining was created, to increase the efficiency and capacity of Angola’s national demining institutions. The Landmine Impact Survey continued and by May 2006 had been completed in 15 of 18 provinces. In 2006, Angola drafted its first mine action strategic plan, for 2006-2011. It aims to change mine action in Angola to a dual focus on humanitarian requirements and national reconstruction and development requirements. Mine risk education extended to 17 provinces reaching 440,334 people in 2005; the focus changed from an emergency approach to a more development-oriented approach. In 2005, there were at least 96 new casualties from mines and unexploded ordnance, a significant decrease from 2004; most incidents involved antipersonnel mines.
Bangladesh served as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction from December 2004 to December 2005. No mine casualties were reported in Bangladesh in 2005 and January-May 2006; there were eight UXO-related casualties in 2005. Between 1999 and 2005, 163 people were killed and 1,281 were injured by improvised explosive devices, according to initial survey results.
After signing a contract with the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency in February 2006, Belarus began destroying its remaining stockpile of 294,755 antipersonnel mines, other than PFM mines. It reported destroying 3,600 antipersonnel mines in 2005. Belarus will also destroy the victim-activated components of its MON-type and OZM-72 mines. The Ministry of Defense signed a “statement of endorsement” to accept technical assistance from the European Commission for the destruction of 3.37 million PFM mines on 6 May 2006, with the goal of starting the project in January 2007. More than 31,000 explosive remnants of war were destroyed in clearance operations in 2005, including almost 3,000 land-mines of which 58 were antipersonnel mines. In May 2006, a senior Ministry of Defense official declared that 353 square kilometers of land required clearance. There was one incident with four casualties due to unexploded ordnance in 2005, a decrease from the five incidents and 16 casualties in 2004.
Bhutan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 18 August 2005 and the treaty entered into force on 1 February 2006.
Bolivia reported that the process for enacting domestic implementation legislation was underway. On 7 April 2006, the President of Bolivia promulgated the National Plan for Equality and Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mine clearance and technical survey in 2005 released 10.6 square kilometers of land, more than in 2004 but much less than required by the 2005-2009 strategic plan. Over 100,000 people received mine risk education in 2005. The downward trend in new casualties continued in 2005; 19 casualties were reported. In January 2006, EUFOR found the largest weapons cache since the beginning of its operation in BiH, including more than 500 antipersonnel mines. Hundreds of antipersonnel mines were collected from the population under Operation Harvest in 2005. BiH reported that at the end of 2005, it retained 1,305 active antipersonnel mines, 822 fuzeless mines and 15,343 MRUD (Claymore-type) directional fragmentation mines.
Brunei ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 24 April 2006. The ICBL undertook an advocacy mission to Brunei in March 2006, and the treaty’s Implementation Support Unit visited in early April. Officials confirmed that Brunei stockpiles only command-detonated Claymore mines, numbering between 500 and 1,000.
Burundi stated that rebels continue to use antipersonnel mines. A general survey was initiated in mid-2005 to determine the extent of contamination by mines and explosive remnants of war. DanChurchAid cleared 1,998 square meters of land, reducing the contaminated area by a further 15.5 square kilometers in 2005. Handicap International trained 255 mine risk education volunteers, who reached nearly 37,000 beneficiaries.
Cambodia declared that from 2000 to 2005 a total of 71,136 stockpiled antipersonnel mines were newly discovered and destroyed, including 16,878 in 2005, the largest number for a single year. Mine clearance increased by more than 63 percent in 2005, due to increased clearance by the Cambodian Mine Action Center and due to other operators recognizing land under cultivation and free of accidents as low-risk. This area reduction strategy was endorsed by the government in May 2006. In 2005, there were 875 new landmine/UXO casualties, maintaining the daily average of two new casualties since 2000. To address this, the mine risk education strategy was revised in 2006. Twenty-two deminer casualties were recorded in 2005, but only 14 were accounted for by known operators. For the first time, the Cambodian armed forces sent deminers to join a UN peacekeeping mission.
The National Strategic Plan to Fight Mines and UXO was revised in 2005 to take account of the Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline for clearance of all mined areas; however, it aims only for “zero victims” and “no impact” by the 2009 deadline. The Council of Ministers approved national implementation legislation in October 2005 and submitted it to parliament. A UN assessment in July 2005 concluded that management and financial problems jeopardized Chad’s mine action program; in December, UN financial support was suspended after Chad failed to provide its pledged funding for mine action; UNDP reinstated some funding in mid-2006. In 2005, 285,172 square meters were cleared of mines, with an additional two square kilometers of battle area clearance. Two mine risk education campaigns reached around 110,000 Sudanese refugees and local people in 2005. Some emergency MRE was undertaken after renewed conflict in April 2006. The number of recorded casualties continued to increase, despite limited data collection; in 2005, there were at least 35 casualties, and from January to June 2006, there were at least 54 new casualties from mines and unexploded ordnance.
A proposal by Chile and Argentina for expanded reporting on mines retained for training and development purposes was agreed by States Parties in December 2005. Chile announced that in 2006 it would destroy 1,292 antipersonnel mines no longer needed for training, in addition to 300 mines expected to be consumed during training. Chile is still preparing legislation to more fully and specifically implement the Mine Ban Treaty. Between April 2005 and April 2006, Chile cleared 2,239 antipersonnel mines and 843 antivehicle mines. Two new demining fronts were opened, in Tambo Quemado in July 2005 and in Llullaillaco National Park in February 2006. Chile fenced 14 newly mine-suspected areas between August and December 2005. An agreement was signed for €1 million in European Commission funding for mine action in Chile. There were two landmine casualties and six UXO casualties in 2005, an increase from 2004 (no mine casualties).
Non-state armed groups, most notably FARC, continued to use antipersonnel mines and improvised explosive devices extensively. Colombia initiated mine clearance of the military bases. Clearance of one base was completed, was ongoing in a second, and impact surveys had been carried out on 17 bases. Despite inadequate data collection, Colombia recorded a significant increase in casualties in 2005: 1,110, approximately three casualties per day, compared with 882 in 2004, 734 in 2003 and 627 in 2002.
Democratic Republic of Congo
In May 2006, the Democratic Republic of Congo told States Parties that it had completed the destruction of all stockpiled antipersonnel mines under its control that it had been able to identify, and thus fulfilled its treaty obligation. It also said it expected to find additional stockpiles of antipersonnel mines in the future, which it would destroy. There have been a few reports of rebel use of antipersonnel mines during conflict related to the demobilization process. In 2005, mine action in DRC received only three percent of funding requested through the consolidated appeals process and 22 percent of funding requested through the UN portfolio process. One mine action operator closed operations in DRC due to lack of funding. A total of 446,498 square meters of land and 60.6 kilometers of roads in inhabited areas of Equateur, Katanga and Orientale provinces were cleared during 2005; 1,172 mines, 28,337 items of unexploded ordnance and 49,288 other explosive remnants of war were destroyed. Mine risk education continued to be limited, but UNICEF for the first time received funding for activities in four provinces. In 2005, there were at least 45 casualties, including 14 people killed and 31 injured; less than in 2004 and much less than in 2003.
Cook Islands ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 16 March 2006, and the treaty entered into force for the country on 1 September 2006.
Côte d’Ivoire indicated that it is not mine-affected, despite recent armed conflict. The United Nations peacekeeping mission and French forces carried out 18 operations to dispose of unexploded ordnance. Two children were killed by unexploded ordnance in 2005.
Croatia hosted the Sixth Meeting of States Parties in November-December 2005. It served as President of the Meeting, a position with responsibilities until the next Meeting of States Parties in September 2006. In May 2006, Croatia stated that it had removed the tilt rods from its TMRP-6 mines. The Croatian company, Agencija Alan, removed TMRP-6 mines from its website and sales catalogues. On 15 December 2005, parliament passed the Law on Humanitarian Demining and the Law on Special Rights for Social Security and Pension Insurance for the Humanitarian Demining program. Of the total of 32 square kilometers planned for demining, Croatia released only 27.2 square kilometers. Parliamentarians criticized the slow pace of demining and limited implementation of victim assistance. There were 20 recorded landmine/UXO casualties in 2005, more than in 2004.
A national plan for the implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, including stockpile destruction and mine clearance, was finalized in August 2005. Cyprus destroyed 11,000 antipersonnel mines in 2005 and another 18,000 were slated for destruction in 2006. In May 2006, Cyprus made known its positions on certain matters of interpretation and implementation related to Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty. Clearance of National Guard minefields in the buffer zone was completed in July 2005. In August 2005, an agreement was reached to clear Turkish forces’ minefields inside the buffer zone. As of April 2006, 20 of the 48 minefields in the buffer zone had been cleared, with the release of more than 900,000 square meters of land. Cyprus reported the destruction of 237 antipersonnel mines in two Republic-controlled mined areas outside the buffer zone in 2005.
In November 2005, Denmark announced that it would allocate DKK86 million (nearly US$15 million) to clear landmines from the Skallingen peninsula, which it first reported as a mined area in its Article 7 report in 1999. In May 2006, a British commercial company was selected from among the five companies that pre-qualified. Denmark ratified CCW Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War on 28 June 2005. Denmark destroyed 1,929 of its retained antipersonnel mines in training activities in 2005, leaving 60 mines.
Djibouti enacted national implementation legislation in March 2006.
El Salvador joined CCW Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War on 23 March 2006. In March 2006, El Salvador reiterated that it does not have a mine problem. Nine mines and 370 items of unexploded ordnance and other explosive devices were discovered and destroyed by the National Civilian Police in 2005. A total of 4,823 people received risk education. In 2005, there were at least four mine/ERW casualties. As of 11 May 2006, El Salvador—one of the 24 States Parties with significant numbers of mine survivors—had not submitted Form J of its annual Article 7 report nor otherwise provided updates on its victim assistance plans.
In May 2006, the UN arms embargo monitoring group reported that the government of Eritrea had delivered 1,000 antipersonnel mines to militant fundamentalists in Somalia. Eritrea denied the claims as “baseless and unfounded” and labeled the report as “outrageous and regrettable.” In October 2005, Eritrea reported that it no longer retains any live mines for training purposes. Eritrea has not reported any national measures to implement the Mine Ban Treaty, as required by Article 9. Eritrea ended the UN mine action capacity-building program that was suspended in mid-2005 following government seizure of demining vehicles. In October 2005, the UN suspended mine clearance adjacent to the Temporary Security Zone when Eritrea banned UN helicopter flights (needed for medical evacuation during demining). Eritrean demining teams cleared almost 2.2 square kilometers of land in 2005. Over 129,000 people received mine risk education, including safety briefings for 3,433 UN peacekeepers, staff and NGO workers. There were 68 recorded new casualties from mines and unexploded ordnance, a significant increase from 2004.
During 2005, planned clearance operations destroyed 2,066 items of unexploded ordnance, including more than 890 items in the south, more than 400 on Saaremaa Island and more than 400 in the northeast of the country; only four of these items were mines. From 1 January to 7 May, 559 explosive items were found, two of which were mines.
Ethiopia became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 June 2005. Ethiopia has not yet submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report, which was due by 28 November 2005. In October 2005 and May 2006, the UN arms embargo monitoring group for Somalia reported that the government of Ethiopia had provided unspecified types of landmines to factions in Somalia; Ethiopia strongly denied the allegations. In 2005, Ethiopia reported that more than 11 square kilometers of land was demined (area reduction of seven square kilometers of land and clearance of 4.3 square kilometers), destroying 184 antipersonnel mines, 98 antivehicle mines and 6,607 items of unexploded ordnance; according to the UN Development Programme, some six square kilometers was returned to civilian use in 2005. Norwegian People’s Aid began operating in Ethiopia in November 2005; it developed a mine detection dog and area reduction/technical survey capacity in Ethiopia. In April 2006, the European Commission pledged at least €8 million (US$10 million) to mine action in Ethiopia over three years. There were at least 31 new casualties in 2005, more than in 2004, but data collection remained inadequate.
Although there are no recorded mined areas in mainland France, it has treaty obligations in respect of any mined areas under its jurisdiction or control elsewhere. France announced that it planned to initiate clearance of antipersonnel mines around its ammunition depot in Djibouti in October 2006, more than seven years after becoming a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty.
In 2005, the Greek Army battalion, TENX, surveyed almost 2.25 square kilometers in various locations across the country, mainly in the Grammos and Vitsi mountains in the northwest. As of 10 April 2006, 10,002 of the 24,751 antipersonnel mines had been cleared from the minefields on the Evros River bordering Turkey. In 2005, at least seven people were killed and one other was injured in the Evros minefields. Landmine Monitor identified one instance of rehabilitation and other assistance provided to a civilian mine survivor in Greece.
On 15 December 2005, Guatemala completed its National Demining Program and declared that it had fulfilled its obligations under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty. A mobile demining unit was created to respond to reports of residual mines and explosive remnants of war. In 2005, 23 mines were discovered in clearance operations, 114,479 people in 495 mine-affected communities received mine risk education, and there were at least two people killed and seven injured by unexploded ordnance. In December 2005, Guatemala became co-chair of the Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Mine Ban Treaty.
On 17 October 2005, Guinea-Bissau completed destruction of its stockpile of 10,654 antipersonnel mines, just ahead of its 1 November 2005 treaty deadline. In March and April 2006, a faction of the Senegal-based Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance laid antipersonnel and antivehicle mines in northern Guinea-Bissau, causing civilian casualties and significant socioeconomic disruption. Casualties in 2005 fell by almost half from 2004, but by June 2006 had risen again to double the 2005 level. As of June, there were 37 new casualties, mostly the result of one incident causing 28 casualties. The capital, Bissau, became free of mined areas by the end of June 2006.
As of June 2006, Guyana had not yet submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report, due by 29 July 2004.
Haiti ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 15 February 2006 and it entered into force on 1 August 2006.
In 2005, Landmine Monitor recorded the first new mine casualty in Honduras since reporting began in 1999.
Jordan offered to host the Eighth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in November 2007. Jordan became co-chair of the Standing Committee for Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies in December 2005. Jordan published its first five-year mine action plan in June 2005. To accelerate mine clearance in efforts to meet its Article 5 deadline, Jordan decided that Norwegian People’s Aid should start clearance operations in 2006; clearance was previously carried out only by army engineers. The army reported clearing a total of 2,943,380 square meters of land in 2005. A strategy and annual plan for mine risk education was agreed. There were at least seven new casualties in 2005.
In 2005, the newly established International Mine Action Training Centre, a joint British-Kenyan project, trained and equipped deminers from Kenya, Nigeria, Somaliland and Uganda. In 2006, it provided training to deminers from Rwanda and Sudan. Handicap International started a two-year project to provide mine risk education to Sudanese refugees in Kakuma camp in Kenya. During 2005, 16 casualties were recorded in one landmine incident.
Latvia became a State Party on 1 January 2006. It submitted its initial Article 7 report, which indicates a stockpile of 2,410 mines will be destroyed in 2006, while 1,301 mines will be retained for training. During 2005, more than 8,000 explosive remnants of war including 200 antitank and antipersonnel mines were found and destroyed. In August 2005, Latvia’s explosive ordnance disposal school was formally accorded the status of a national educational institution with the right to issue state diplomas. In early 2006, a private store of explosive ordnance was found in a farm in eastern Latvia; one civilian was injured trying to neutralize one of the devices.
On 16 September 2005, Liberia joined Amended Protocol II (Landmines) of the Convention on Conventional Weapons. Liberia has not submitted a Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report since October 2004. It has not enacted any national implementation measures. Liberia has declared no mined areas containing antipersonnel mines. The little information available indicates a small residual risk from landmines and a greater risk from unexploded ordnance. Landmine Action UK conducted a pilot project in early 2006, which revealed at least 14 previously unreported casualties since November 2004, and a need for risk education and improved reporting of explosive ordnance.
Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of)
In July 2006, FYR Macedonia destroyed all 4,000 mines previously retained for research and training purposes. For the first time it expressed its view on issues related to Articles 1 and 2, agreeing with the positions of the ICBL and many States Parties. In May 2006, FYR Macedonia declared that clearance of the remaining minefields would start in June 2006. The Protection and Rescue Directorate became operational in June 2005 for clearance of mines and unexploded ordnance; in December it presented a plan to clear all mines by September 2006 and all unexploded ordnance by 2009. There was one casualty, from unexploded ordnance, during 2005.
New national implementation legislation has been drafted. Mine clearance resumed in early 2006 after being suspended for the whole of 2005 due to lack of funds. In 2005, the National Humanitarian Demining Office continued with marking, surveying and small-scale explosive ordnance disposal; it released 960,000 square meters of suspected hazardous areas and cleared 43 items of unexploded ordnance. Mauritania and the UN mission in Western Sahara held a meeting to discuss further regional cooperation in mine action.
In May 2006, Moldova for the first time expressed its views on issues related to Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty, agreeing with the positions of the ICBL and many States Parties. Moldova announced its intention to destroy in 2006 all 249 mines previously retained for training. Moldova does not consider that territory under its control is mine-affected, but unconfirmed reports indicate that antipersonnel mines may remain in some areas. In 2005, there were 14 civilian casualties caused by unexploded ordnance, including four children killed.
The National Demining Institute’s problems with the recording and reporting of mine action data persisted in 2005 and early 2006. It claimed that humanitarian demining operators cleared 11.3 square kilometers of mined land in 2005; however, the operators reported clearance of only 3.9 square kilometers. Some humanitarian operators continued to re-survey suspected mined areas identified by the Landmine Impact Survey and further confirmed its deficiencies. Two deminers were killed and three others injured during demining in 2005. The Accelerated Demining Program closed for lack of funding. Two of the other three largest operators, Norwegian People’s Aid and HALO Trust, planned to close field operations in 2006 and 2007. A total of 57 new mine/UXO casualties in 23 incidents were reported in 2005, almost twice the casualties in 2004 and four times as many as in 2003. The approved Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper includes actions in favor of people with disabilities, including mine survivors.
The Namibian Defence Force continued to conduct limited survey operations in Kavango and Western Caprivi regions in 2005 but did not find any mines. The Namibian Police destroyed five mines and 3,300 unexploded ordnance across the country during 2005. In March 2006, Namibia stated that it was “mine-safe,” but that it was not ready to declare itself mine-free until the completion of ongoing surveys. In 2005, 12 people were injured by mines and unexploded ordnance.
Nicaragua served as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration until December 2005. Nicaragua ratified CCW Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War on 15 September 2005. A total of 353,562 square meters of land were cleared in 2005, less than in 2004, and 86 percent of the clearance plan for the year. Nicaragua postponed completion of its National Humanitarian Demining Program to 2007, due to clearance delays and continuing discovery of mines not included in military records. In 2005, 92,257 people in 303 high-risk communities received mine risk education; programs were revised in early 2006 in view of continuing mine/UXO casualties. In 2005, casualties doubled with 15 new mine/UXO casualties recorded; another six casualties had occurred by May 2006.
National implementation legislation, Law 2004-044, was adopted on 8 June 2004.
Panama’s National Environmental Authority declared in September 2005 that it would clear former US military ranges contaminated by unexploded ordnance.
Clearance was conducted of mines and explosive fragments around 375 electricity towers. In April 2006, Peru and Ecuador initiated clearance operations around the Chira river area, postponed from 2005. Limited mine risk education was provided by a Peruvian NGO. Reported casualties increased in 2005.
The rebel New People’s Army stepped up its use of command-detonated improvised antivehicle mines, resulting in many more casualties. Landmine Monitor media analysis found 145 mine/IED casualties reported in 2005, a nearly 300 percent increase on the 47 casualties reported in 2004. The Armed Forces of the Philippines reported seizures of antipersonnel and antivehicle mines from the NPA. The Moro National Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf Group continued to plant antivehicle mines in their ongoing battles with the army.
A draft national implementation law has been submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers. The demining program was activated by the training and equipping of deminers in early 2006. By May 2006, Rwanda’s demining workforce had increased by 150 personnel. Mines Awareness Trust deployed three technical advisors in May 2006 to support the newly trained deminers. In 2005 and 2006, landmine casualties continued to increase despite incomplete data collection, reportedly due to economic necessity and a lack of mine risk education.
Rebels from an MFDC faction used antipersonnel and antivehicle mines in Guinea-Bissau in March 2006. In August 2005, Senegal adopted national implementation legislation for the Mine Ban Treaty. This included authorization for a national mine action authority and a mine action center. In October 2005, the UN Development Programme and Handicap International initiated an emergency landmine impact survey in Casamance; preliminary results indicated that 93 villages are affected by landmines. In 2005, 10 new casualties were recorded, a decrease from 17 casualties in 2004.
Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro began destroying its stockpile of antipersonnel mines in August 2005 and by March 2006 had destroyed 649,217 mines, almost half of its stockpile. A new Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia entered into force on 1 January 2006, which criminalizes antipersonnel mines. In 2005, 963,775 square meters of mined areas and battle areas were cleared in Serbia. In Montenegro, the Regional Center for Underwater Demining initiated a general survey of contamination in Plav and Rozaje municipalities in May 2006. No civilian casualties were reported during 2005. No funding was provided nationally or internationally for mine survivor assistance plans proposed annually since 2004.
Sierra Leone has not submitted an Article 7 transparency report since February 2004. It has not enacted any national implementation measures.
Sudan cited a stockpile of 14,485 antipersonnel mines, adding 5,000 SPLA mines to the previous total; it intends to retain 10,000 of these mines for training purposes. It is continuing to do an inventory of stockpiled mines. On 24 December 2005, a national mine action authority and mine action center were created, and a South Sudan mine action center. Demining organizations cleared almost three times as much land in 2005 as in 2004, with similar survey and clearance capacity. Over 1.3 square kilometers of mined area were cleared. In 2005, some US$61.5 million was estimated spent on mine action (including mine action support to peacekeeping). MRE activities increased significantly and expanded to new areas of Sudan; 316,188 people were reached in 2005 with special emphasis on returnees. There were at least 79 casualties from mines and unexploded ordnance in 2005, more than in 2004; in 2006 there were at least 29 casualties by 21 May.
With the support of the Organization of American States, Suriname cleared the last 13 antipersonnel mines from its territory between February and April 2005.
The Swaziland Defence Forces informed Landmine Monitor in 2006 that Swaziland cannot declare with certainty whether the country remains mine-affected. In March 2006, the Ministry of Defence accepted the offer of international assistance to assess the mine situation and develop a clearance plan in compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty deadline.
State authorities report destroying 80 antipersonnel mines in December 2005 seized during law enforcement operations. Tajikistan consumed 30 mines for training of deminers in 2005; this was reported using the new expanded Article 7 report format for retained mines. Swiss Foundation for Mine Action demining teams cleared 129,156 square meters in 2005, a big increase made possible by an expansion in demining capacity. A mine detection dog center opened in April 2006. Shortfalls in donor support jeopardized plans to achieve higher productivity in 2006. In May 2006, Tajikistan completed a victim assistance plan for 2005-2009. Casualties increased for the third consecutive year to 20. From 18 to 30 July 2005, the first camp for 32 child mine survivors was held, providing mine risk education and survivor assistance.
In May 2006, Tanzania stated it was in the process of adopting national implementation legislation. It intends to acquire 1,000 additional mines for use in its project to train mine detection rats.
The Thailand Mine Action Center initiated area reduction in 2005 in a bid to accelerate demining; the area released (5.9 square kilometers) was three times greater than in 2004. The center proposed to the cabinet that it should convert from a military organization under the armed forces to become a civilian organization. In January 2006, this was endorsed at a high-level review of Thailand’s mine action program; a proposal was submitted to the government in May. Funding cuts led to the units responsible for most of the demining in Thailand to lose more than half their workforce in 2006. Mine risk education increased, with over 333,000 people reached. There were an estimated 43 new mine casualties in 2005; plans were discussed for nationwide collection of mine casualty data. A plan for survivor assistance was drafted in December 2005.
Tunisia joined CCW Amended Protocol II on 23 March 2006. As of 15 April 2006, the army had cleared 90 percent of the Ras Jedir minefield, destroying 3,503 antipersonnel mines and 785 antivehicle mines.
Turkey declared a stockpile of 2,979,165 antipersonnel mines, a larger figure than reported before; for the first time it included 22,788 artillery-delivered ADAM mines in the total. Turkey reported that in December 2005, the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency and a company signed an agreement to establish a new facility to destroy stockpiled mines. In May 2006, Turkey said that the victim-activation components of M18 Claymore mines will be destroyed. On 18 July 2006, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party committed to a ban on antipersonnel mines by signing the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment. There were at least 220 new landmine/UXO casualties in 2005, a significant increase from 168 in 2004 and 67 in 2003. A total of 2,171 mines were cleared from 300,000 square meters of land in 2005. The process of inviting national and international companies to tender for clearance of mined areas, in return for their free use of the land, was contested in parliament.
Ugandan forces have continued to seize landmines from the Lord’s Resistance Army. There have been no confirmed reports of use of antipersonnel mines in 2005 or early 2006. Uganda submitted two Article 7 transparency reports in 2005. The National Steering Committee for Mine Action met for the first time in January 2006; in February it began drafting legislation in support of mine action. In April 2006, the Uganda Mine Action Centre opened; almost 60 personnel from the army and police were seconded to it. By May 2006, mine action needs assessments were ongoing in two districts and technical survey continued in three other districts. In 2005, 40 new mine/UXO casualties were recorded. Casualties continued to be reported in 2006, with at least 22 by May.
Ukraine deposited its ratification on 27 December 2005 and the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force on 1 June 2006. In February 2006, the European Commission awarded a €5.9 million contract for the destruction of Ukraine’s 5.95 million PFM-type mines. An EC €1 million tender for the destruction of an additional recently identified 716,746 non-PFM antipersonnel mines was cancelled. The UN conducted an interagency assessment in December 2005; the report had not been completed as of 1 June 2006. Ukraine approved a three-year program to dispose of ammunition at the Novobohdanovka military base. Mine risk education was initiated in 2005 on a regional basis. There were 16 new casualties from unexploded ordnance in 2005, a decrease from 2004.
Although there are no recorded mined areas in mainland UK, it has treaty obligations in respect of any mined areas under its jurisdiction or control elsewhere. More than seven years since becoming a State Party, the UK has not initiated clearance of mined areas on the Falkland Islands. The UK and Argentina met five times in the reporting period to discuss implementation of a feasibility study, which was expected to take place between November 2006 and March 2007.
Vanuatu ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 16 September 2005 and the treaty entered into force on 1 March 2006.
In July 2005, Venezuela provided for the first time a timetable for clearance of the antipersonnel mines laid around its six naval posts. In May 2006, Venezuela declared that it would not initiate clearance operations before 2007 because Navy combat engineers needed demining equipment and additional training.
Yemen elaborated its views on key matters of interpretation and implementation related to Articles 1 and 2 of the Mine Ban Treaty, taking strong positions mirroring those of the ICBL and many other States Parties. A UN monitoring group reported the transfer of unspecified types of mines by Yemen to the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia in July 2005. Area reduction through technical survey released more than 100 square kilometers of mine-affected and suspected land in 2005. Clearance operations released another 1.8 square kilometers. One deminer was killed during clearance operations. In March 2006, a socioeconomic and livelihood study was started to assess the socioeconomic returns from mine clearance. Mine risk education reached 191,262 people in 92 communities during 2005. Casualties doubled in 2005, compared to 2004. Several survivor assistance and disability organizations withdrew from Yemen in 2005-2006, and national organizations faced funding difficulties.
In 2005, the Zambia Mine Action Centre was restructured, which limited its operations. A three-year strategy was developed with the goal of clearing mines and unexploded ordnance from 41 dangerous areas by 2007. Lack of progress led to revision of the program targets and, in May 2006, Zambia drafted the Mine Action Completion Plan, which aimed to meet its 2011 Article 5 deadline. In March 2006, Zambia announced free healthcare for people living in rural areas, including mine survivors, abolishing fees introduced in the early 1990s.
There were two isolated instances of farmers using antipersonnel mines to protect crops. Clearance of the Victoria Falls-Mlibizi minefield was completed in October 2005. A total of 25,959 mines were destroyed in the minefield, including 6,959 in 2005. In May 2006, Zimbabwe reported that only half of its minefields had been cleared, leaving a significant challenge in meeting the 1 March 2009 treaty deadline. Mine risk education in mine-affected areas resumed in 2006. In 2005, 14 new casualties including seven children were recorded. Seven Zimbabweans were also involved in landmine accidents in Afghanistan and Taiwan in 2005.
In October 2005, the President of Indonesia formally gave his approval to start the ratification process for the Mine Ban Treaty. A draft ratification law is under review.
The Marshall Islands voted in favor of the annual UN General Assembly resolution promoting the Mine Ban Treaty, after abstaining in earlier years.
Documents for Poland’s ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty have been undergoing interministerial consultations. Poland declared a stockpile of 984,690 antipersonnel mines at the end of 2005; it dismantled 12,990 expired stockpiled mines in 2005. In 2005, Polish military teams carried out 7,698 responses to mines and explosive remnants of war, clearing 6,138 antipersonnel and antivehicle mines and 39,160 explosive remnants. In addition, the police disposed of 281 grenades, 828 fuzes and detonators, 1,642 items of unexploded ordnance and 26,029 pieces of ammunition.
The UN reported in 2005 that Armenian authorities have decided to submit to the UN Secretary-General, on a voluntary basis, the annual transparency reports required by the Mine Ban Treaty and CCW Amended Protocol II. Armenia completed a landmine impact survey, and teams from the Ministry of Defense demined 125,000 square meters of land. UNICEF conducted trainings in mine risk education in April 2006, and started to develop a mine risk education strategy. In 2005, five people were injured by mines and unexploded ordnance, a decrease from the 15 casualties reported in 2004.
For the first time, Azerbaijan voted in favor of the annual UN General Assembly resolution calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. Azerbaijan said it may provide a voluntary Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report. In 2005, Azerbaijan demined almost seven square kilometers of land, similar to productivity in 2004. During the first quarter of 2006, almost 2.3 square kilometers were demined. Reported casualties increased in 2005 from 32 to 59 owing to a single UXO incident that killed three people and injured 23 others. Two survivor assistance projects began in April-June 2006. Pensions for war-disabled people were increased in April 2006.
Both the military junta and non-state armed groups have continued to use antipersonnel mines extensively. The Myanmar Army has obtained, and is using an increasing number of antipersonnel mines of the United States M-14 design; manufacture and source of these non-detectable mines—whether foreign or domestic—is unknown. In November 2005, Military Heavy Industries reportedly began recruiting technicians for the production of the next generation of mines and other munitions. The non-state armed group, United Wa State Army, is allegedly producing PMN-type antipersonnel mines at an arms factory formerly belonging to the Burma Communist Party. In October 2005, the military junta made its first public statement on a landmine ban since 1999. There were at least 231 new mine casualties in 2005. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-France closed its medical assistance program and withdrew from Burma, due to restrictions imposed by the authorities.
In December 2005, China voted for the first time in favor of the annual UN General Assembly resolution calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. From the late 1990s to 2005, China destroyed nearly
2.2 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines that had either expired or did not comply with CCW Amended Protocol II. China launched a new project to clear landmines from its border with Vietnam, and conducted mine risk education in nearby villages. It provided a three-month training course in Thailand, and sent a demining battalion to Lebanon in April 2006 to support the UN. One mine casualty was reported.
The National Council for Human Rights organized a landmine conference in December 2005, the first major landmine event to be held in Cairo since April 2000. The conference recommended that Egypt reconsider its stance on the Mine Ban Treaty and former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali called on Egypt to accede. The ICBL’s Diplomatic Advisor met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and senior defense officials; the Foreign Minister said that Egypt was no longer insistent on the legal question of user responsibility for mine clearance. There were reports of use of landmines by militants in 2005. Media reported that in April 2006, the Ministry of International Cooperation and the UN Development Programme would initiate a demining project; this has not been confirmed. In 2005, there were at least 16 new casualties, and by the end of June 2006, a further 15 casualties were recorded.
At the Sixth Meeting of States Parties, Finland reiterated its commitment to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty by 2012 and destroy all stockpiled antipersonnel mines by 2016.
At the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in May 2006, Georgia said that its position on non-accession to the Mine Ban Treaty was being reconsidered. It re-stated its commitment not to use, produce, import or export antipersonnel mines. Georgia hosted a workshop on confidence-building and regional cooperation through mine action in Tbilisi in October 2005, the first government-sponsored international landmine event in Georgia. There were reports that Georgian combat engineers cleared mines in South Ossetia in 2005. At least 31 new casualties were reported in 2005, a decrease from 2004.
Non-state armed groups have continued to use mines and improvised explosive devices in many parts of India. India participated as an observer in all three major Mine Ban Treaty meetings in the reporting period. The government of Canada undertook the first high-level advocacy mission to India in March 2006. India undertook demining to allow delivery of relief across the Line of Control to Pakistani earthquake victims. There were at least 336 casualties from mines and improvised explosive devices in 2005, and 271 from January to May 2006.
In 2005, UNDP revised its proposal for assistance to mine action, and awaited response from Iran’s mine action center as of May 2006. In January 2006, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining signed an agreement to provide mine action training. Iran and Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2005 to clear landmines from their border. A mine risk education committee was formed in December 2005, which developed a strategy and action plan. At least 109 new mine/UXO casualties were recorded in 2005.
Iraqi officials have continued to express strong interest in joining the Mine Ban Treaty. Opposition forces have continued to use improvised explosive devices in great numbers, as well as antivehicle mines. Coalition forces have discovered many caches of antipersonnel mines. Reduced international funding for Iraq (down by half from 2004) plus deteriorating security significantly hindered mine action in all but the northern regions; some contracts and operations ended early. The National Mine Action Authority reported a sharp drop in mine clearance in 2005. The authority’s second director general in two years was replaced in October 2005. The Iraq Landmine Impact Survey completed surveying 13 of Iraq’s 18 governorates in April 2006, but suspended survey in Tikrit and Diyala due to lack of security. As of May 2006, the survey had recorded 565 casualties in two years (over 20 percent were children) and 7,631 less recent casualties. In 2005, there were at least 358 casualties, an increase from 2004, and likely an underestimate as there is no effective casualty surveillance in Iraq.
The Israel Defense Force destroyed 15,510 outdated stockpiled mines in 2005. Israel extended its moratorium on the export of antipersonnel mines for three years in July 2005. Clearance operations were conducted in the northern part of the Jordan Valley in 2005, following the displacement of mines as a result of flooding.
An official told Landmine Monitor that Kazakhstan is preparing to destroy its stockpile of antipersonnel mines, most of which are expired.
Republic of Korea
South Korea reported a stockpile of 407,800 antipersonnel mines, instead of the two million it indicated previously. South Korea produced Claymore-type mines for the first time since 2000. It exported Claymore mines to New Zealand in December 2005. South Korean troops started clearance of three minefields in the Civilian Control Zone and seven military bases in the south. In 2005, there were at least 10 new landmine casualties.
The Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended accession to the Mine Ban Treaty, and a draft accession law was submitted to the National Assembly. Kuwait voted in favor of the annual pro-ban UN General Assembly resolution for the first time since 1998. In 2005, eight new casualties caused by mines and unexploded ordnance were reported, a significant decrease from the 20 casualties reported in 2004. From January to May 2006, there were seven new casualties; all were foreign nationals.
A project for survey and marking of mined areas and for mine risk education was started by Danish Demining Group in partnership with Border Guards and local NGOs.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
In July 2005, Laos confirmed its intention to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty in the future. Donor concerns over the institutional structure led to a drop in financial support in 2005; the government appointed the National Regulatory Authority’s first director in December. UXO Lao reported a sharp increase in productivity in 2005, demining 15.7 square kilometers of land. Two demining organizations received authorization for clearance operations in 2005 and one more in early 2006. There were 164 new casualties in 91 incidents (54 percent were children), fewer than reported than in 2004. Two studies were conducted, on the impact of the scrap metal trade on casualties from unexploded ordnance, and on victim assistance.
For the first time, Lebanon voted in favor of the annual pro-Mine Ban Treaty UN General Assembly resolution in the First Committee; it was absent from the final vote. An internal review process that could lead to accession was underway. Lebanon was considering submission of a voluntary Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report. The ICBL undertook a special advocacy mission to Lebanon in June 2006. Two square kilometers of mine-affected land was cleared in 2005, and a further 3.9 square kilometers of mined and mine-suspected land was released through survey. The National Demining Office drafted a mine action policy giving itself responsibility for management of the mine action program and involving civilian institutions in priority-setting. A nationwide technical survey started in 2005; 9.8 square kilometers of suspected area had been surveyed by May 2006, resulting in the cancellation of 7.2 square kilometers as not contaminated. Mine risk education was delayed by the security situation, but resumed in late 2005. There were 22 new casualties in 2005, a significant increase from 2004.
Mongolia has initiated its step-by-step approach to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty in 2008. Amendments to the Law on State Secrets are being prepared in order to exclude landmines from the secrecy list and place details regarding the number of stockpiled antipersonnel mines in the public domain. Army engineers disposed of more than 1,000 items of explosive ordnance in 2005. One civilian was reported injured by unexploded ordnance in 2005.
Morocco voted in favor of the annual UN General Assembly resolution supporting the Mine Ban Treaty for the second consecutive year. It announced at the Sixth Meeting of States Parties its intent to submit a voluntary Article 7 transparency report. Between April 2005 and April 2006, 289 mines and items of unexploded ordnance were marked and 7,074 items of explosive ordnance, mostly Polisario’s stockpiled antipersonnel mines, were destroyed. In 2005, there were at least nine new casualties.
On 26 May 2006, the government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) agreed to a bilateral cease-fire and a Code of Conduct that includes non-use of landmines. Prior to the cease-fire, both sides continued to use landmines and/or improvised explosive devices. The UK suspended training for the army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit in February 2005, but resumed in August 2005 and delivered new equipment. Casualties from all kinds of explosive devices appeared to be lower in 2005 than 2004; efforts were made by NGOs to create a nationwide casualty data collection system. The majority of casualties were children. Mine/explosives risk education gathered pace, involving many local and international organizations.
Pacific Islands (Micronesia, Palau, Tonga, Tuvalu)
In May 2006, Palau expressed its hope to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty by the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in September 2006. Micronesia completed a review of the Mine Ban Treaty and was drafting accession legislation to submit to congress. In December 2005, Micronesia for the first time voted in favor of the annual UN General Assembly resolution calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty.
Non-state armed groups used antipersonnel mines, antivehicle mines and improvised explosive devices extensively in Baluchistan province, and to a lesser extent in Waziristan and other areas of Pakistan. Mine risk education was carried out by NGOs and to some extent by Pakistani authorities in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and in Pakistani Kashmir; the British NGOs Islamic Relief and Response International started new mine risk education projects in 2005-2006 in Pakistani Kashmir. In 2005, there were at least 214 casualties from mines, unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices, an increase from 195 in 2004. In 2006, casualty rates continued to increase, with at least 263 casualties as of 14 May.
Russian officials confirmed to Landmine Monitor in June 2006 that Russian forces continued to use antipersonnel mines in Chechnya. CCW Amended Protocol II entered into force for Russia on 2 September 2005. Clearance teams undertook over 300 tasks in 2005 to deal with explosive remnants from World War II, destroying 40,000 explosive items, including 10,500 mines. Landmine Monitor identified 305 new casualties in at least 82 incidents in 2005.
The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) reiterated its intention to join the Mine Ban Treaty. There apparently has been ongoing use of antipersonnel mines by various factions in different parts of the country. In May 2006, the UN arms embargo monitoring group reported that the government of Eritrea had delivered 1,000 antipersonnel mines to militant fundamentalists in Somalia. In October 2005, the monitoring group reported that members of the TFG, including its president, and an opponent of the TFG had been involved in weapons transfers that included unspecified types of landmines. The monitoring group also stated that the governments of Ethiopia and Yemen had provided unspecified types of mines to factions in Somalia. The Somali region of Puntland completed a Landmine Impact Survey of three regions in 2005. The survey found 35 mine-impacted communities, equivalent to an estimated 6 percent of the communities of the three regions. At least 276 new mine/UXO casualties were recorded in 2005, a significant increase over the previous year. Police explosive ordnance disposal teams in Puntland reported the destruction of more than 3,000 items of unexploded ordnance between July 2004 and the end of 2005. Puntland Mine Action Center staff, jointly with EOD personnel, started providing mine risk education.
Since December 2005, suspected LTTE use of command-detonated Claymore mines has escalated greatly, and the Army has in a few instances alleged use of antipersonnel mines by the rebels. Eleven operators demined 19.5 million square meters of land in 2005, more than five times as much as in 2004, as a result of increased manual and mechanical clearance capacity and increased area reduction. However, renewed hostilities in early 2006 severely constrained demining operations in contested areas, resulting in much reduced clearance. Mine risk education expanded, reaching more than 630,000 people in 2005; 80 percent of schoolteachers in the mine-affected provinces have been trained in mine risk education. There were 38 new landmine/UXO casualties in 2005, significantly fewer than the 56 casualties in 2004.
In April 2006 the Syrian Army completed clearance operations in Hanoot Saida village in southern Golan, and in Hameedia village north of Quneitra city; 1,564 antivehicle mines were cleared and destroyed. UN forces cleared and destroyed six antipersonnel mines, 177 antivehicle mines and 34 items of unexploded ordnance in 2005. In 2005, there was a significant increase in reported casualties from mines and UXO over 2004 and 2003; there were at least 11 new casualties in 2005 and nine from 1 January to 22 May 2006. Following a mine incident on the Golan Heights in January 2006 in which five children were injured, the governmental committee, formed in 2004 to promote mine risk education in the affected border areas, was re-energized and activities were undertaken in schools.
United States of America
The US government spent over $95 million in fiscal year 2005 on humanitarian mine action programs, compared to over $109 million in fiscal year 2004, the biggest change being a significant decrease in special funding being allocated to mine action in Iraq. The Pentagon requested $1.3 billion for research on and production of two new landmine systems—Spider and Intelligent Munitions System—between fiscal years 2005 and 2011; these systems appear incompatible with the Mine Ban Treaty. Congress ordered a Pentagon study of the possible indiscriminate effects of Spider, thereby deferring the Pentagon’s decision expected in December 2005 on whether to produce Spider.
In October 2005 Uzbekistan reported it had cleared one fifth of its border with Tajikistan and several areas around Uzbek enclaves in Kyrgyzstan.
During the visit of a Canadian government delegation in November 2005 to promote the Mine Ban Treaty, officials from both the defense and foreign ministries insisted that Vietnam no longer produces antipersonnel mines. Several officials indicated that Vietnam will join the treaty at some point and stressed that it already respects the spirit of the treaty by not producing, selling or using antipersonnel mines. The pilot phase of the UXO and Landmine Impact Assessment and Technical Survey concluded in May 2005. Two NGOs ceased working in Vietnam at the end of 2005. UNICEF received five-year funding for mine action focusing on mine risk education and advocacy. There were at least 112 new casualties in 2005.
The amount of land cleared and reduced by HALO Trust in 2005—more than 2.5 square kilometers— was a record for the organization’s program in Abkhazia. During 2005, HALO declared the Gali region and the Gumista river valley near Sukhum mine impact-free. In 2005, 15 new mine/UXO casualties were reported, a significant increase from 2004 (six casualties).
In June 2006, Russian officials confirmed that Russian forces continued to use antipersonnel mines in Chechnya. Chechen forces have continued to use improvised explosive devices extensively. Clearance teams cleared 5,000 items of explosive ordnance in Chechnya and Ingushetia, including 32 landmines cleared from railway lines. National NGOs supported by UNICEF, ICRC and Danish Demining Group/ Danish Refugee Council provided mine risk education in Chechnya and to displaced people in the northern Caucasus. UNICEF recorded 24 new landmine/UXO casualties, continuing the reduction in casualties in recent years. To make casualty data more accurate, changes were made to the data collection and recording system. UNICEF conducted the first training on trauma counselling for 22 child psychologists from Chechnya. ICRC secured treatment for Chechen refugees in Azerbaijan.
In 2005, demining operations cleared more than 4.3 square kilometers of land, a 10 percent increase on productivity in 2004, destroying 719 antipersonnel mines, 30 antivehicle mines, 977 cluster bomblets and 1,378 other items of UXO. In December 2005, Handicap International ended its demining activities in Kosovo after six years of operations. By the end of 2005, 15 dangerous areas still required clearance; of these, three contained a mine threat and the remaining 12 were contaminated with cluster bomblets. There were also 53 areas requiring a technical survey and possibly also clearance. At least one of the demining operators is convinced that this understates the residual contamination, and planned an assessment mission for mid-July 2006 to define the remaining threat from cluster munitions and landmines. In 2005, 11 new casualties were recorded, a decrease from 2004; all were caused by cluster bomblets or other unexploded ordnance, and most were the result of tampering.
In 2005, HALO demined more than 7.9 square kilometers of mined area by clearance and survey, and a further 13 square kilometers of land by battle area clearance. HALO also provided mine risk education to about 7,700 people. There were significantly fewer casualties reported than in 2004 when casualty rates peaked.
There were reports of Palestinian use of antivehicle mines in June and July 2006 during Israeli military action in Gaza. A UN mine action assessment in September 2005 criticized the Palestinian Authority for its lack of an effective response to the threat from landmines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices, which increased when Israeli settlers and military withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. There were 46 people killed and 317 people injured in 187 incidents in 2005, an increase from 2004. In early 2006, efforts were made to revitalize the National Mine Action Committee. Palestinian police explosive ordnance disposal teams conducted 1,162 explosive ordnance disposal tasks in 2005, compared to 939 in 2004.
In 2005, the two international demining NGOs Danish Demining Group and HALO Trust demined more than 18 square kilometers of land, the great majority of which was battle area clearance by HALO; 602 antipersonnel mines, 99 antivehicle mines, over 20,000 explosive remnants of war and large quantities of ammunition were destroyed. In March 2006, Danish Demining Group ceased all mine clearance in Somaliland. In 2005, 93 new landmine/UXO casualties were recorded; two-thirds were children and almost one-third were female; casualties occurred in all six regions. Mine risk education increased, reaching at least 30,000 beneficiaries from January 2005 to June 2006.
In June 2006, Taiwan enacted legislation that bans production and trade of antipersonnel mines, but not stockpiling and use, and requires clearance of mined areas within seven years. In September 2005, the President, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Vice President of the Legislative Yuan all signed statements committing to a ban on antipersonnel mines and demining. A contract awarded to MineTech International to clear mines on Kinmen Island was suspended after an explosion in April 2005 in which two deminers were killed and a third injured. A legislator said the Ministry of National Defense cancelled funding for demining in 2006 after the government proposed a major purchase of arms. Officials said demining would resume in 2007 and that the Ministry had proposed a NTD4.2 billion (US$131 million) budget to clear all remaining minefields after 2009.
In November 2005, the Polisario Front signed the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment renouncing antipersonnel mines. Polisario destroyed over 3,000 of its stockpiled mines in February 2006. Between April 2005 and April 2006, the UN mission in Western Sahara discovered and marked 289 mines and unexploded ordnance, and monitored the destruction of 7,074 items of explosive ordnance, mostly stockpiled antipersonnel mines. Landmine Action UK started an explosive ordnance disposal and technical survey project in mid-2006. Antipersonnel mines caused at least two casualties in 2005, and there were at least eight mine casualties from January to May 2006.