The resounding success of the campaign to ban landmines has led to an entirely new approach called humanitarian disarmament, which is spearheaded by civil society and has led to four international treaties and, to date, two Nobel Peace Prizes.
Landmine Monitor 2019, a twenty-year review and the 21st annual edition, continues to monitor the inexorable progress toward a mine-free world. The stigma against landmines remains strong. Despite no states joining in the reporting period, 164 countries are bound by and are dutifully implementing the treaty’s provisions, with most of the 33 countries that remain outside of the treaty abiding nonetheless by its key provisions.
Only a small number of non-state armed groups (NSAGs) use the banned weapon, often in the form of improvised mines. These have again resulted in a high number of casualties in 2018, with the majority of victims being civilians, more than half of whom were children. As countries continue to work to clear mine-contaminated land, the Monitor identifies much that remains to be done, including to support the needs of landmine survivors and their communities. Countries both within and without the regime are contributing significant resources toward mine clearance and other mine action activities, affirming the impact that this first humanitarian disarmament treaty continues to have after more than two decades.
There are 164 States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty; the Marshall Islands is the last signatory that has yet to ratify.
- The most recent countries to join the treaty were Sri Lanka and the State of Palestine in December 2017.
From mid-2018 through October 2019, Landmine Monitor has confirmed new use of antipersonnel mines by the government forces of one country—Myanmar, which is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty.
NSAGs used antipersonnel mines in at least six countries during the reporting period: Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen.
- There were as yet unconfirmed allegations of new antipersonnel mine use by NSAGs in Cameroon, Colombia, Mali, Libya, Philippines, Somalia, and Tunisia.
2018 was the fourth year in a row with exceptionally high numbers of recorded casualties due to landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW)—including improvised types that act as antipersonnel mines (also called improvised mines), cluster munition remnants, and other ERW.
- In 2018, the Monitor recorded 6,897 people were killed or injured by mines/ERW—3,059 people were killed, 3,837 people were injured, and for one casualty the survival status was unknown.
- The continuing high total was influenced by casualties recorded in countries facing armed conflict and large-scale violence, particularly Afghanistan, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Syria, and Ukraine. Accurate data gathering for active conflicts, however, remains challenging.
- Although the 2018 total was less than those of the three previous years, it was still almost double the lowest determined annual number of 3,457 casualties in 2013.
- For the third consecutive year, in 2018, the highest number of annual casualties was caused by improvised mines (3,789). This was also the year with the most improvised mine casualties recorded to date.
Casualties in 2018 were identified in 50 states and other areas, of which 32 are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, and in three other areas.
- The vast majority of recorded landmine/ERW casualties were civilians (71%) where their status was known, a slight decrease in the ratio over recent years.
- In 2018, children accounted for 54% of all civilian casualties where the age was known, an increase of seven percentage points from the 2017 annual total, and 12 percentage points on 2016.
- As in previous years, in 2018, the vast majority of child casualties where the sex was known were boys (84%).
- The Monitor has recorded more than 130,000 mine/ERW casualties since its global tracking began in 1999, including some 90,000 survivors.
Support for Mine Action
Donors and affected states contributed approximately US$699.5 million in combined international and national support for mine action in 2018, a decrease of $95.1 million (12%) compared to 2017.
- This represents the second-highest combined total of international and national mine action funding ever reported in Monitor data, going back to 1996.
In 2018, international donors contributed $642.6 million to mine action in 43 states and three other areas, a decrease of $53.7 million (8%) compared with 2017.
- This puts an end to the two years of sustained growth observed in 2016 and 2017, while still representing the second-highest level of international support ever recorded by the Monitor.
- The top five mine action donors—the United States (US), the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK), Norway, and Germany—contributed 71% of all international funding, with a combined total of $458.1 million.
- Mine action in five states—Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Croatia, and Lao PDR—received $351.2 million, or 55% of all international support in 2018.
- International support for victim assistance in 17 countries as well as global activities totaled $44.7 million in 2018, compared to $27.7 million in 2017.
- Although this represents an increase in volume of $17 million (61%), as a proportion of all international support provided it remains near the upper end of the 4–7% range observed since 2013.
- Half of all dedicated victim assistance went to just four countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria; while a continuous decline was recorded for most of the other recipients (nine out of the 17 recipients of victim assistance funding received less support in 2018 compared to 2017).
- Donor support explicitly dedicated to victim assistance remains difficult to track and improved reporting on the allocation of international support by donors was still needed.
The Monitor identified only eight affected states that reported providing $56.9 million in national support for their own mine action programs, a decrease of $41.4 million (42%) compared with 2017.
Contamination and Clearance
Sixty states and other areas are contaminated by antipersonnel mines as of October 2019. There has been no change from 2018.
- This includes 34 States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, 22 states not party, and four other areas.
- No State Party completed clearance in 2018.
- Six States Parties that have already declared Article 5 completion or declared no contamination under their jurisdiction or control, currently have or are suspected to have residual contamination. Algeria and Burundi declared residual contamination and destroyed mines found within the year and are therefore in compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty. Djibouti, Kuwait, Moldova, and Namibia are all suspected of having contamination but have not made formal declarations.
- In 2018, new use of antipersonnel mines was reported in States Parties Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Yemen.
- Massive antipersonnel mine contamination (defined by ICBL-CMC as more 100km2) is believed to exist in States Parties Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Cambodia, Chad, Croatia, Iraq, Thailand, Turkey, and Yemen. One state not party, Azerbaijan, and one other area, Western Sahara, are also believed to have extensive contamination.
At least 140km² of land was reported clear of landmines in 2018, a decrease from the estimated 195km² cleared in 2017.
- Over the past five years (2014–2018), total clearance of landmines among States Parties is estimated to be about 800km², with at least 661,491 landmines destroyed.
- The largest total clearance of mined areas in 2018 was achieved in Croatia, followed by Cambodia and Afghanistan, which together accounted for more than 80% of recorded clearance. Over the last five years, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Croatia, and Iraq have cleared more than 83% of all land cleared by States Parties combined.
- In 2018, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen have all continued landmine clearance despite ongoing conflict or insecurity.
- In the last five years, States Parties have used non-technical and technical survey to release significant amounts of land, thus greatly decreasing their estimate of remaining contamination. Angola and Croatia have both released as much as 90% of previously suspected land. Cambodia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Zimbabwe have also used survey effectively to release suspected hazardous areas.
Thirty States Parties, one state not party, and one other area have completed clearance of all mined areas on their territory since the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force in 1999.
- Over the past five years (2014–2018), five States Parties have declared themselves mine-free: Algeria in 2017; Burundi in 2014; Mauritania in 2017; Montenegro in 2014; and Mozambique in 2017. No state was declared free of antipersonnel mine contamination in 2018.
- As of October 2019, 28 States Parties have deadlines to meet their Article 5 obligations, before and no later than 2025. Four States Parties have deadlines after 2025: Croatia (2026), Iraq (2028), Palestine (2028), and Sri Lanka (2028).
- Yemen (current deadline 2023) and BiH (current deadline March 2021) have both requested interim extensions to enable them to better define their remaining contamination. It is expected that both will submit further extension requests in March 2022 and March 2020 respectively.
- Six countries requested extensions to their Article 5 obligations in 2019: Argentina, Cambodia, Chad, Ethiopia, Tajikistan, and Yemen.
- Eritrea has a deadline to meet its Article 5 obligations on or before 1 February 2020, but has yet to submit an extension request, and has not submitted an Article 7 transparency report since 2014.
- Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Peru are likely to meet their Article 5 deadline obligations. It is also feasible that Chile, Ecuador, Jordan, Niger, Senegal, Serbia, Tajikistan, and the United Kingdom (UK) can complete clearance before 2025.
In 2018–2019, despite ongoing efforts, most States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty with significant numbers of mine victims lacked suitable resources and practices to fulfill the commitments they have made in the 2014–2019 Maputo Action Plan. Findings below relate to 33 States Parties with significant numbers of mine victims. The needs for assisting victims remain great, including in the newest States Parties Palestine and Sri Lanka.
- In most States Parties, some efforts to improve the quality and quantity of health and physical rehabilitation programs for survivors were undertaken.
- Nevertheless, following reductions in resources in recent years, many countries saw near-stagnation in the remaining core assistance services for mine/ERW victims. Survivor networks also struggled to maintain their operations as they faced decreased resources.
- Services remained largely centralized, preventing many mine/ERW survivors who live in remote and rural areas from accessing those services. Shortages of raw materials and financial resources were an obstacle to improvements in the physical rehabilitation sector in several countries.
- Only 14 of the 33 States Parties had victim assistance or relevant disability plans in place to address recognized needs and gaps in assistance.
- Approximately two-thirds of the States Parties had active coordination mechanisms, and survivors’ representatives participated in 18 of the coordinating processes among those 21 States Parties. State initiatives for capacity-building toward increased participation of mine victims were almost never reported.
- Significant gaps remain in access to employment, training, and other income-generation support activities in many of the States Parties where opportunities for livelihoods were most needed.
States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty have destroyed more than 55 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines, including more than 1.4 million destroyed in 2018.
- Oman completed the destruction of its landmine stockpile in September 2018.
- Greece and Ukraine remain in violation of the convention as both have missed successive deadlines to complete destruction of their stockpiles.
- Three States Parties possess more than four million antipersonnel mines remaining to be destroyed: Ukraine (3.5 million), Greece (643,267), and Sri Lanka (77,865).
In 1999, all states collectively (both treaty signatories and non-signatories) stockpiled about 160 million antipersonnel mines. Today, the global total of stockpiled antipersonnel mines could be less than 50 million.
Production and Transfer
Forty-one states have ceased production of antipersonnel mines, including four that are not party to the Mine Ban Treaty: Egypt, Israel, Nepal, and the US.
- The Monitor lists 11 states as landmine producers because they have yet to disavow future production: China, Cuba, India, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam. This list remains unchanged from the previous report.
- Those most likely to be actively producing during the past year are India, Myanmar, and Pakistan.
- NSAGs have produced improvised landmines in Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Yemen in the reporting period.
- In 2018 and early 2019, Houthi forces in Yemen were “mass producing” landmines, including victim-activated IEDs (improvised mines).
Landmine Monitor has not found evidence of state to state transfers of antipersonnel mines over the past 20 years. At least nine states not party to the ban have formal moratoriums on the export of antipersonnel mines: China, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and the US.
UNGA Resolution Voting
The pro-Mine Ban Treaty UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 73/61 was adopted in December 2018 by a vote of 169 in favor, none against, and 16 abstentions.
- This is a slight increase in votes in favor from the 2017 resolution (167) and maintains the lowest number of abstentions ever recorded.
A core of only 14 states not party have abstained from consecutive Mine Ban Treaty resolutions, most of them since 1997: Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Syria, the US, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.