© EDEN, June 2015Visitors examine global landmine use and other maps as part of a photo gallery and treasure hunt to raise awareness of the global landmine issue in Taiwan.
Status and Operation of the Mine Ban Treaty
In general, States Parties’ implementation of and compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty has been excellent. The core obligations have largely been respected, and when ambiguities have arisen they have been dealt with in a satisfactory matter. However, there are serious compliance concerns regarding a small number of States Parties with respect to use of antipersonnel mines and missed stockpile destruction deadlines. In addition, some States Parties are not doing nearly enough to implement key provisions of the treaty, including those concerning mine clearance and victim assistance.
At the Third Review Conference in June 2014, States Parties to the convention created a new Committee on Cooperative Compliance to consider whether a concern about compliance with the convention’s prohibitions contained in Article 1.1 is potentially credible and, if so, to consider any follow-up that might be appropriate for States Parties.
The chair of the Mine Ban Treaty’s Committee on Cooperative Compliance delivered a three-page report to the June 2015 intersessional meetings detailing its work and preliminary observations concerning allegations or reports of landmine use in States Parties. According to the report, between September 2014 and May 2015 the Committee met several times to consider past instances of alleged use of antipersonnel mines and assess the credibility of these allegations and the value of follow-up on them. In that period it met with the representatives of concerned States Parties Sudan, Ukraine, Turkey, and Yemen to engage each in a cooperative dialogue regarding allegations of use of antipersonnel mines.
The Committee did not recommend specific actions be taken by States Parties, but will continue its work to further follow-up on these and other allegations of use. Following the presentation of the report, Ukraine and Turkey addressed the allegations and Austria, Norway, Switzerland, UNMAS, the ICRC, and the ICBL welcomed the Committee’s work and the report’s observations. Austria condemned any use of antipersonnel mines by any actor and called on all States Parties concerned to clarify outstanding allegations of use at the earliest possible opportunity, take any necessary steps for full compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty, and immediately take all measures necessary to protect the civilian population from any more harm.
Use of antipersonnel mines by States Parties
In this reporting period, commencing in October 2014, there has been no confirmed use of antipersonnel mines by government forces of States Parties. Prior to Landmine Monitor 2013, there had never been a confirmed case of use of antipersonnel mines by the armed forces of a State Party since the Mine Ban Treaty became law in 1999. That is no longer the case since the confirmation by Yemen that a violation of the convention by its forces occurred in 2011.
Additionally, a number of allegations of mine use in previous years by the armed forces of South Sudan (in 2013 and 2011), Sudan (in 2011), Turkey (from 2009), and Cambodia/Thailand (2008 and 2009) warrant resolution by those governments and other States Parties.
A total of 156 of the 162 States Parties do not stockpile antipersonnel mines, of which 90 have officially declared completion of stockpile destruction and 65 have declared never possessing antipersonnel mines (except in some cases for training purposes). Tuvalu has not made an official declaration, but is not thought to possess antipersonnel mines.
Finland completed the destruction of its stockpile of one million mines on 18 August 2015 and was the only state to conclude destruction in the reporting period.
Six States Parties stockpile antipersonnel landmines, including three that failed to complete the destruction of their stockpiles by their four-year deadline:
- Oman declared a stockpile of 17,260 antipersonnel mines of Belgian, British, and German manufacture in its initial Article 7 transparency report provided in August 2015. It has committed to destroy the stockpile by the deadline of 1 February 2019.
- Poland signed a contract in March 2015 to destroy its remaining stockpile of 16,597 landmines in coordination with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency by June 2016. Poland’s stockpile destruction deadline is 1 June 2017.
- Somalia acknowledged that “large stocks are in the hands of former militias and private individuals,” and that it is “putting forth efforts to verify if in fact it holds antipersonnel mines in its stockpile.” Somalia has not reported the destruction of any stockpiled mines since the convention came into force for it. Somalia's stockpile destruction deadline is 1 October 2016.
- Belarus, Greece, and Ukraine remain in violation of Article 4 after having failed to complete the destruction of their stockpiles by their four-year deadline.
Collectively, States Parties have destroyed more than 49 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines, including more than 530,000 destroyed in 2014.
Five States Parties collectively possess more than nine million antipersonnel mines remaining to be destroyed: Ukraine (5,767,600), Belarus (2,861,636), Greece (452,695), Oman (17,260), and Poland (16,957).
The inability of Belarus, Greece, and Ukraine to complete their stockpile destruction is a matter of deep concern for States Parties, the ICBL, and the ICRC. The Cartagena Action Plan 2010–2014 calls on States Parties that missed their deadline to comply without delay and also to communicate their plans to do so, to request any assistance needed, and to provide an expected completion date. The Maputo Action Plan added a call for these states to provide a plan for the destruction of their remaining stockpiles by 31 December 2014.
- At the June 2015 intersessional meetings, Belarus reported that all of its stockpiled antipersonnel mines other than those considered to be in an “unsafe condition” will be destroyed by 1 November 2016.
- In a statement released 31 December 2014, Greece stated that “it was reviewing all possible options in an effort to adhere to its initial intention to complete the destruction of all stockpiled anti-personnel mines by the end of 2015.”
- At the June 2015 intersessional meetings, Ukraine stated that PFM mines are ready to be destroyed at the incinerator located at the Pavlograd Chemical Plant but budgetary priority has been focused on national defense. Ukraine expressed its willingness for further negotiations for international funding for the destruction of its remaining stockpile. It destroyed 576 PFM mines in 2014, which had become unstable in storage and dangerous.
Mines retained for training and research (Article 3)
Article 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty allows a State Party to retain or transfer “a number of anti-personnel mines for the development of and training in mine detection, mine clearance, or mine destruction techniques…The amount of such mines shall not exceed the minimum number absolutely necessary for the above-mentioned purposes.”
A total of 72 States Parties have reported that they retain antipersonnel mines for training and research purposes, of which 38 have retained more than 1,000 mines and three (Finland, Bangladesh, and Turkey) have each retained more than 12,000 mines. Eighty-five States Parties have declared that they do not retain any antipersonnel mines, including 33 states that stockpiled antipersonnel mines in the past. A total of 43% of the States Parties that retain mines failed to submit an annual transparency report for calendar year 2014, which was due by 30 April 2015.
Due to this lack of information, it is not possible to present a total figure of mines retained for 2014 that would serve as a basis of meaningful comparison for previous years.
States retaining more than 1,000 antipersonnel mines
Note: N/R = not reported.
In addition to those listed above, an additional 33 States Parties each retain fewer than 1,000 mines and together possess a total of 14,288 retained mines.
Key updates from calendar year 2014 were:
- Oman submitted its initial Article 7 report, retaining 2,000 mines.
- Australia only retains mines without detonators, which are not defined as antipersonnel mines, meaning it no longer retains mines.
- The number of retained mines in Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom (UK) increased.
The ICBL has expressed concern regarding the large number of States Parties that are retaining mines but apparently not using those mines for permitted purposes. For these States Parties, the number of mines retained remains the same each year, indicating none are being consumed (destroyed) during training or research activities. No other details have been provided about how the mines are being used. Eight States Parties have never reported consuming any mines retained for permitted purposes since the treaty entered into force for them: Burundi, Cape Verde, Cyprus, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo.
Numerous States Parties have reported decreases in the number of mines retained, but only a few have explained the reductions in their transparency reports. Among the states that reduced the number of mines retained without explanation for calendar year 2014 were Brazil (2,037 fewer), Greece (345), Cambodia (80), Czech Republic (37), Slovakia (35), Spain (31), Belarus (24), and Thailand (19).
Three States Parties increased the number of their retained mines in the reporting period. The United Kingdom retained an additional 353 mines, Ireland increased by 59, and Denmark increased by 12.
While laudable for transparency, several States Parties are still reporting as retained antipersonnel mines devices that are fuzeless, inert, rendered free from explosives, or otherwise irrevocably rendered incapable of functioning as an antipersonnel mine, including by the destruction of the fuzes. Technically, these are no longer considered antipersonnel mines as defined by the Mine Ban Treaty:
- Afghanistan keeps no live landmines for its entire stock of 2,360 retained mines.
- Australia keeps no serviceable detonators for its entire stock of 459 retained mines.
- Canada reported it has transferred 84 mines from Afghanistan without fuzes.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina maintains a stockpile of 983 fuzeless mines.
- Gambia reported that all of its 100 retained mines were fuzeless.
- Serbia reported that 1,045 of its mines were fuzeless.
- Lithuania reported it has 269 mines with command-controlled fuzes, which are not covered under the treaty.
- Eritrea, France, Germany, Mozambique, and Senegal also reported that some of the mines they retained were inert or fuzeless, or were otherwise incapable of functioning as antipersonnel mines.
A total of 25 States Parties have over time used expanded Form D of their annual transparency reports to voluntarily report additional information on retained mines.
Article 7 of the Mine Ban Treaty requires that each State Party “report to the Secretary General of the United Nations as soon as practicable, and in any event not later than 180 days after the entry into force of this Convention for that State Party” regarding steps taken to implement the treaty. Thereafter, States Parties are obligated to report annually, by 30 April, on the preceding calendar year.
During the reporting period, October 2014 to October 2015, an initial report was submitted by Oman in August 2015. Tuvalu (due 28 August 2012) has never submitted an initial report. As of 27 October 2015, only 41% of States Parties had submitted annual reports for calendar year 2014.
Of the 94 States Parties that have failed to meet their most recent annual reporting obligation, 74 have failed to submit an annual transparency report for two or more years. Among the States Parties that did not submit reports for 2014 are five States Parties with Article 5 clearance obligations (Ethiopia, Niger, Palau, Somalia, and Yemen).
No state submitted a voluntary report in 2015. In previous years, Morocco (2006, 2008–2011, and 2013), Azerbaijan (2008 and 2009), Laos (2010), Mongolia (2007), and Sri Lanka (2005) submitted voluntary reports.
 The committee will also, “When appropriate, in close consultation with the States Parties concerned, clarify the situation, and if as a result it assesses that the concern is credible, make suggestions on steps that the States Parties concerned could take to ensure that the Convention remains strong and effective; For cases where the concern is credible, present preliminary observations at intersessional meetings if need be, and conclusions and recommendations at Meetings of the States Parties or Review Conferences; Remain transparent and accountable, including by reporting on activities at both intersessional and Meetings of the States Parties or Review Conferences.” “Decisions on the Convention’s Machinery and Meetings,” Maputo, 27 June 2014, p. 5, www.maputoreviewconference.org/fileadmin/APMBC-RC3/3RC-Decisions-Machinery-27Jun2014.pdf.
 Mine Ban Treaty Committee on Cooperative Compliance, “Activity Report and Preliminary Observations,” June 2015, www.apminebanconvention.org/fileadmin/APMBC/IWP/IM-June15/IM-June2015-Cooperative-compliance-activity-report.pdf.
 Statement of Austria, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meeting, Geneva, 26 June 2015, www.apminebanconvention.org/fileadmin/APMBC/IWP/IM-June15/2e_COOPERATIVE_COMPLIANCE_COMMITTEE_-_Austria.pdf.
 Guinea-Bissau apparently still needs to destroy a small quantity of antipersonnel mines that were discovered after its 1 November 2005 deadline had passed.
 Oman listed a stockpile of 1,556 No. 7 (UK); 12,560 PRB M409 (Belgium); and 3,144 DM31 (German) antipersonnel mines. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, August 2015 (in Arabic, translation by the Monitor), www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B8954/(httpAssets)/957868F552AB98BAC1257E9E0054ABAC/$file/Oman+Initial+2015.pdf.
 Statement of Poland, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, June 2015, www.apminebanconvention.org/fileadmin/APMBC/IWP/IM-June15/2f_STOCKPILE_DESTRUCTION_-_Poland.pdf.
 Mine Ban Treaty Initial Article 7 Report (for the period 16 April 2012 to 30 March 2013), Sections B, E, and G, www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B8954/(httpAssets)/0421E458A87D2CA5C1257B4A004C41CE/$file/Somalia+2012.pdf.
 Belarus and Greece had a deadline of 1 March 2008, while Ukraine had a deadline of 1 June 2010.
 Preliminary Observations of the President of the Fourteenth Meeting of the States Parties, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 23 June 2015, www.apminebanconvention.org/fileadmin/APMBC/IWP/IM-June15/IM-June2015-Stockpile-Destruction-2f-corrected.pdf.
 Statement of Ukraine, Intersessional Meeting of the Committee on Cooperative Compliance, Geneva, 26 June 2015, www.apminebanconvention.org/fileadmin/APMBC/IWP/IM-June15/2e_COOPERATIVE_COMPLIANCE_COMMITTEE_Ukraine.pdf.
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 1 April 2015, www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B8954/(httpAssets)/6EFB9D23D790FA91C1257E62005235CE/$file/Ukraine+2014.pdf.
 No Article 7 reports for four of the remaining five States Parties could be found: Central African Republic, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The fifth, Tuvalu, has yet to submit their initial Article 7 report.
 States Parties retaining less than 1,000 mines under Article 3: Angola (972), Zambia (907), Mali (900), Mozambique (900), Jordan (850), Argentina (841), Honduras (826), Mauritania (728), United Kingdom (724), Portugal (694), Italy (624), South Africa (576), Cyprus (500), Bhutan (490), Zimbabwe (450), Nicaragua (448), Togo (436), Slovenia (361), Congo (322), Ethiopia (303), Cote d’Ivoire (290), Lithuania (269), Uruguay (260), Cape Verde (120), Eritrea (101), Ecuador (100), Fiji (93), Rwanda (65), Ireland (59), Senegal (50), Benin (16), Guinea-Bissau (9), and Burundi (4).
 Afghanistan, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Gambia, Germany, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Japan, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Romania, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Zambia. Some States Parties on this list only used some voluntary elements of Form D.
 Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroun, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, DR Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Namibia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Niger, Niue, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zambia.