Landmine Monitor 2003

Major Findings

It is abundantly clear from the wealth of information in Landmine Monitor Report 2003 that the Mine Ban Treaty and the ban movement more generally are making tremendous strides in eradicating antipersonnel landmines and in saving lives and limbs in every region of the world. Significant challenges remain, however.

The reporting period for Landmine Monitor Report 2003 is May 2002 to May 2003. Editors have where possible added important information that arrived in June and July 2003. Statistics for mine action and landmine casualties are usually given for calendar year 2002.

+ Widespread international rejection of antipersonnel mines

As of 31 July 2003, a total of 134 countries were States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, and another 13 had signed but not yet ratified, constituting more than three-quarters of the world’s nations. Since the last Landmine Monitor report, nine countries joined the treaty including Afghanistan and Cyprus, which are both mine-affected. A number of other governments took significant steps toward joining and were poised to ratify or accede.

- Universalization challenges

Forty-seven countries, with a combined stockpile of some 200 million antipersonnel mines, remain outside of the Mine Ban Treaty. They include three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, Russia, and the United States), most of the Middle East, most of the former Soviet republics, and many Asian states.

+ Fewer governments using antipersonnel mines

In this reporting period (since May 2002), at least six governments used antipersonnel mines, compared to at least nine governments in Landmine Monitor Report 2002 and at least 13 governments in Landmine Monitor Report 2001. As of July 2003, only two governments—Myanmar and Russia—were using antipersonnel mines on a regular basis. Government forces in Afghanistan, Angola, and Sri Lanka used antipersonnel mines in the previous reporting period, but not the current period. Like Afghanistan, Angola is now party to the Mine Ban Treaty.

- Possible antipersonnel mine use by Mine Ban Treaty signatories

Landmine Monitor cannot definitively conclude that any of the 13 signatory governments used antipersonnel mines in this reporting period, but it has received ever-more compelling reports of use of antipersonnel mines by the Burundi Army. There are also serious allegations of use by government forces in Sudan. Both governments deny any mine-laying.

- New and continued use by governments

The only government to be added to the list of mine users was Iraq, as Saddam Hussein’s forces used antipersonnel mines in the lead-up to and during the 2003 conflict in Iraq. The governments of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Russia have all acknowledged using antipersonnel mines in this reporting period. It is also clear that government forces in Myanmar (Burma) continued to lay mines. There have been credible reports of use by Georgia, but the government denies it.

+ Fewer Non-State Actors using antipersonnel mines

Opposition groups are reported to have used antipersonnel mines in at least eleven countries: Burma, Burundi, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia (Abkhazian forces), India, Nepal, Philippines, Russia (Chechen forces), Somalia, and Sudan. This compares to reports of use by non-state actors in at least fourteen countries in the previous reporting period.

+ Commitments by Non-State Actors

In the reporting period, two groups in Iraqi Kurdistan and 15 factions in Somalia signed the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment for non-state actors, agreeing to implement a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines.

+ Decreased production

At least 36 nations have ceased production of antipersonnel mines, including thirty States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, and six non-signatories (Finland, Greece, Israel, Poland, Serbia and Montenegro, and Turkey). Taiwan has also stopped production. In several countries that have not formally stopped, there appears to have been no production for a number of years, such as in the US (since 1997), South Korea, and Egypt. Russia stated that for the past eight years, it has not produced its most common blast mine (PMN series) or its scatterable PFM-1 “Butterfly” mines.

- Ongoing production

Landmine Monitor identifies fifteen countries as producers of antipersonnel mines, although it is not known how many were actively producing mines in this reporting period. Nepal for the first time admitted that it has produced antipersonnel mines, making it the first addition to the ranks of the producers since Landmine Monitor reporting started in 1999.

+ De facto global ban on trade in antipersonnel mine

Global trade in antipersonnel mines has dwindled to a very low level of illicit trafficking and unacknowledged trade. There were no confirmed instances of antipersonnel mine transfers, as the de facto global ban on trade held tight. Several countries outside the Mine Ban Treaty formally extended or reconfirmed their moratoria on exports of antipersonnel mines, including Belarus, China, Israel, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey and the US.

+ Millions of stockpiled antipersonnel mines destroyed

Some four million stockpiled antipersonnel mines have been destroyed since the last Landmine Monitor report, bringing the total to more than 50 million in recent years. Another eighteen Mine Ban Treaty States Parties have reported completing destruction of their stockpiles, destroying almost 10.8 million mines: Brazil, Chad, Croatia, Djibouti, El Salvador, Italy, Japan, Jordan, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Portugal, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkmenistan, and Uganda. Another twelve States Parties are in the process of destroying their stockpiles. With one notable exception, it appears States Parties are meeting their respective four-year deadlines for destruction of stockpiled antipersonnel mines that began on 1 March 2003.

- The case of Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan reported that it completed its stockpile destruction by its 1 March 2003 deadline, destroying almost 700,000 mines in an eighteen-month period. However, it also reported that it plans to retain 69,200 mines for training. The ICBL believes that 69,200 mines is an unacceptable, and likely illegal, number as it is obviously not the “minimum number absolutely necessary,” as required by the treaty. The ICBL has expressed its view that retention of such a number of mines in fact means that Turkmenistan did not fully destroy its stocks, and is therefore in violation of a core treaty obligation.

+ Stockpile destruction by non-States Parties

Russia reported for the first time that it destroyed more than 16.8 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines between 1996 and 2002, including 638,427 in 2002. It had previously reported destruction of about 1 million antipersonnel mines. Ukraine, a Mine Ban Treaty signatory, completed the destruction of nearly 405,000 mines between July 2002 and May 2003. As a signal of its support for the Mine Ban Treaty, non-signatory Belarus destroyed 22,963 PMN-2 antipersonnel mines in 2002.

- Millions of mines stockpiled by non-States Parties

Landmine Monitor estimates that there are approximately 200-215 million antipersonnel mines currently stockpiled by 78 countries. Non-signatories account for all but about 10 million of those mines, including China (estimated 110 million), Russia (estimated 50 million), US (10.4 million), Pakistan (estimated 6 million), India (estimated 4-5 million), Belarus (4.5 million), and South Korea (2 million).

- Failure to meet transparency reporting requirement

Fifteen States Parties have not submitted their initial transparency measures reports as required by Article 7 of the Mine Ban Treaty, including Angola, Eritrea, Guinea, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Suriname. These states have also not officially declared the presence or absence of antipersonnel mine stockpiles, and their compliance with the destruction requirement.

+ Voluntary transparency reporting by non-States Parties

In this reporting period, Latvia and Poland submitted voluntary Article 7 transparency reports, each revealing details of their antipersonnel mine stockpiles. Greece also provided stockpile information publicly for the first time. These steps followed the examples set by Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine.

+ Increased mine action donations

Mine action funding has totaled over $1.7 billion since 1992, including $1.2 billion since the Mine Ban Treaty was opened for signature in 1997. For 2002, Landmine Monitor has identified $309 million in mine action funding by more than 23 donors, a 30 percent increase from the previous year. In 2001, Landmine Monitor reported that global mine action funding had stagnated. Donors that increased their mine action contributions in 2002 included Japan ($49.4 million spent), European Commission ($38.7 million), Norway ($25.2 million), Germany ($19.4 million), and the Netherlands ($16 million). Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, and Switzerland also recorded increases. Non-States Parties Greece and China also increased assistance significantly. One donor—Japan—is responsible for well over half of the increase in mine action donations in 2002.

- Donor decreases in mine action funding

Mine action funding fell for four of the biggest donors: the United States (down $5.5 million); Denmark (down $3.8 million); Sweden (down $2.6 million); and the United Kingdom (down $1.4 million).

+ Increases in funding received

Among the mine-affected countries, the biggest increases in mine action funding in 2002 were registered in Afghanistan ($50 million increase), Vietnam ($12 million), Angola ($7.7 million), Cambodia ($6.3 million), and Sri Lanka (about $5.5 million). Among the major recipients, no significant decreases were reported except where expected in Kosovo.

- More funding needed

More than two-thirds of the 2002 funding increase went to a single country, Afghanistan. Even greater increases in mine action funding will be needed in the future to cope fully with the global landmine problem and to enable Mine Ban Treaty States Parties to meet their ten-year deadlines for mine clearance.

+ Expanding mine action programs

The number of mine-affected countries reporting organized mine clearance operations increased in 2002, and there were substantial increases in the amount of land cleared in many countries. Landmine Monitor recorded humanitarian mine clearance in at least 35 countries and instances of limited mine clearance in 32 countries. Costa Rica declared itself mine-free in December 2002. Peace agreements and cease-fires in Angola, Sri Lanka, and Sudan enabled the expansion of mine action activities. Landmine Monitor recorded mine risk education programs in 36 countries in 2002 and 2003.

- Still too many mine-affected countries

Landmine Monitor research identifies 82 countries that are affected to some degree by landmines and/or unexploded ordnance, of which 45 are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. No mine clearance was recorded in 16 of the affected countries and no mine risk education activities were recorded in 25 countries.

+ Fewer new mine victims in some countries

The reported landmine casualty rate declined in 2002 in the majority of mine-affected countries. Where an increase was reported in 2002 this generally appears to be due to population movements within affected areas (Cambodia), or to a new or expanded conflict (India and Palestine). In other mine-affected countries, the increase appears to be largely the result of improved data collection: Burma, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Pakistan, and Thailand. It is likely that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 new landmine casualties each year, a significant reduction in the long-standing and commonly cited estimate of 26,000 new casualties each year. However, the lack of reliable reporting in some countries, and the underreporting of casualties in many countries, must be acknowledged.

- Continued casualties means more mine victims needing assistance

In 2002 and through June 2003, there were new landmine casualties reported in 65 countries; the majority (41) of these countries were at peace, not war. Only 15 percent of reported casualties in 2002 were identified as military personnel. In 2002, the greatest number of reported new casualties were found in: Chechnya (5,695 casualties recorded), Afghanistan (1,286), Cambodia (834), Colombia (530), India (523), Iraq (457), Angola (287), Chad (200), Nepal (177), Vietnam (166), Sri Lanka (142), Burundi (114), Burma/Myanmar (114), and Pakistan (111). Significant numbers (over 50) of new casualties were also recorded in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Laos, Palestine, Senegal, Somalia, and Sudan.

- Inadequate assistance to landmine survivors

In many mine-affected countries the assistance available to address the needs of survivors is inadequate and it would appear that additional outside assistance is needed in providing for the care and rehabilitation of mine survivors. In this reporting period, Landmine Monitor has identified at least 48 mine-affected countries where one or more aspects of assistance are reportedly inadequate to meet the needs of mine survivors.