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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 60, September 2001

Opinion & Analysis

Monitoring Results: Landmine Monitor Report 2001

By Mary Wareham and Stephen D. Goose


From September 18 to 21, 2001, more than eighty governments and over 100 campaigners, including landmine survivors and deminers, gathered in Managua, Nicaragua for the Third Meeting of States Parties to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. They met following the tragic events in the US to collectively demonstrate their resolve to continue the fight against what they have long called a weapon of terror, the anti-personnel landmine (APL). They came for a "reality-check" to meet in this mine-affected country of Central America and discuss progress made and challenges remaining in the global effort to eradicate the anti-personnel mine. The Managua meeting marked the halfway point between the Mine Ban Treaty's entry into force in March 1999 and its First Review Conference, scheduled for 2004.

One of the key tools available to the Managua meeting participants was Landmine Monitor Report 2001: Toward a Mine-Free World, the third annual report of the unprecedented civil-society based verification initiative by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).1 This article examines some of the major findings of the 1,175-page report, which was released on September 12 in a dozen capitals around the world.

After the Party

Many expected, and a few even hoped, that the ICBL would disappear after December 1997, when the Mine Ban Treaty was opened for signature in Ottawa, Canada and when, just days later, the ICBL and its coordinator Jody Williams were awarded the Nobel Peace Prise for starting "a process which in the space of a few years changed a ban on anti-personnel mines from a vision to a feasible reality."2

Since that time, however, the ICBL coalition, together with its partners including pro-ban governments, United Nations agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, has been quietly and methodically working for full universalisation and effective implementation of the treaty. The ICBL and the ban movement are as energetic and engaged as ever, and constantly adapting and evolving to meet new challenges and needs.

The Mine Ban Treaty prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines, requires destruction of stockpiled mines within four years and of emplaced mines within ten years, and urges assistance for mine victims.3 It entered into force on March 1, 1999, becoming binding international law, after achieving the required 40 ratifications in September 1998. This is believed to be the fastest entry-into-force of any major multilateral treaty ever. There have since been two meetings of states parties, one in Mozambique in 1999 and the second in Geneva in 2000.

In June 1998, the ICBL established Landmine Monitor, an initiative to track and assess implementation of and compliance with the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and more generally to monitor the efforts of the international community to resolve the landmines crisis. This marks the first time that non-governmental organisations are coming together in a coordinated, systematic and sustained way to monitor a humanitarian law or disarmament treaty, and to regularly document progress and problems.

Landmine Monitor complements the states parties transparency reporting required under Article 7 of the Mine Ban Treaty. It reflects the shared view that transparency and cooperation are essential elements to the successful elimination of anti-personnel mines, but its establishment is also in recognition that there is a need for independent reporting and evaluation. Landmine Monitor is an effort by civil society to hold governments accountable to the obligations that they have taken on with regard to anti-personnel mines; this is done through extensive collection, analysis and distribution of information that is publicly available.

The main elements of the Landmine Monitor system are a global reporting network, a central database, and an annual report prepared for release to the annual meetings of states parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. One hundred and twenty-two Landmine Monitor researchers from 95 countries gathered information for the third report. While Landmine Monitor utilises the ICBL campaigning network, it has also drawn in other elements of civil society to help monitor and report, including journalists, academics and research institutions.

The Landmine Monitor research network represents participatory research in the sense that it draws largely on in-country research, collected by in-country researchers. Each research team is given freedom to structure their research agenda and several engage in field research, including landmine casualty surveys and public opinion polling as part of this research. The field research is not as far reaching or as comprehensive at the community-level as Landmine Monitor's counterpart, the Survey Action Center, which is currently conducting a series of landmine impact surveys in the most heavily affected countries.

Each annual Landmine Monitor report contains information on every country of the world with respect to landmine ban policy, use, production, transfer, stockpiling, mine clearance, mine awareness, and survivor assistance. Landmine Monitor does not only report on states parties and their treaty obligations, it also looks at signatory states and non-signatories as well. All countries - as well as information on key players in mine action and victim assistance in the mine-affected countries - are included in this report in the belief it will provide an important means to gauge global effectiveness on mine action and banning the weapon.

Making Progress

The Landmine Monitor Report 2001 focuses on a reporting period from May 2000 to mid-2001. It finds that from the wealth of information contained in the report it is evident that the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the ban movement more generally are having a major impact globally.

The report documents the ever-growing number of governments joining the Mine Ban Treaty. When the ban treaty was opened for signature in December 1997, 122 governments signed. Currently 141 countries have joined, of which 120 countries are full states parties. Since the last Landmine Monitor report, twenty countries have ratified or acceded. Considering the relatively short time that this issue has been before the international community, the number of signatories and accessions - nearly three-quarters of the world's nations - is exceptional.

Landmine Monitor reports reduced use of the anti-personnel mine in recent years. In some instances, this is the result of stigmatisation of the weapon, but it also simply reflects reduced levels of conflict. Compared to the previous Landmine Monitor reporting period, the less intense fighting in Chechnya, and the end to conflicts in Ethiopia-Eritrea, Kosovo, and Democratic Republic of Congo, have meant decreased mine use globally. While the report covers every country, including those in conflict, Landmine Monitor does not send its researchers into conflict but makes every effort to establish the situation in-country by contacting available, credible sources who are also monitoring developments, such as media, diplomats, humanitarian aid workers, and other sources.

Landmine Monitor Report 2001 estimates that there were some 15,000 to 20,000 new casualties from landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in 2000, an encouraging decrease from the long-standing and commonly cited figure of 26,000 new victims per year. The decrease cannot be compared to the previous year's research but represents a decrease that has occurred over some time. Data surveyed includes official databases, government records, hospital records, media reports, surveys/assessments, and interviews. Important reductions in the number of new casualties were recorded in some heavily mined areas in 2000, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Croatia, and Kosovo.

According to Landmine Monitor, there has been a dramatic drop in production of anti-personnel mines, with the number of producers dropping from 55 to fourteen countries in recent years. In this year's report, Landmine Monitor removed Turkey and Yugoslavia, both non-signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty, from the list of producers. Both countries provided Landmine Monitor with written statements indicating they are not producing anti-personnel mines, and both are initiating the process of accession to the Mine Ban Treaty.

Landmine Monitor Report 2001 indicates an almost complete halt in trade of anti-personnel mines. Not a single significant shipment of anti-personnel mines (including by Mine Ban Treaty non-signatories) was identified in this reporting period, or indeed since 1998 when Landmine Monitor was launched. One commentator on defense issues noted the "virtual absence of mines - legitimate or otherwise - at arms shows and military equipment exhibitions this year [2000]."4 A few reports of seizures of illicit shipments of light weapons that have included some anti-personnel mines were found and Landmine Monitor believes that the anti-personnel mine trade has now been reduced to a relatively small amount of illicit trafficking.

As in its previous reports, Landmine Monitor Report 2001 tracks increased destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines. It has recorded more than 27 million anti-personnel mines destroyed by over 50 nations, including some five million in this reporting period. A total of 28 Mine Ban Treaty states parties have now completed destruction of their anti-personnel mine stockpiles, including eight since May 2000, and another 19 are in the process of destruction.

Landmine Monitor has identified more than US$1 billion in mine action spending in the past decade. For 2000, Landmine Monitor has identified $224 million allocated for mine action, an increase of about $19 million over 1999. However, this is far from a complete global total for mine action spending to date and in 2000. Left out of these totals is mine action funding from the European Community in order to avoid double counting. Also, where known, Landmine Monitor has not included funds for research and development into demining technologies and equipment in these totals, instead listing R&D funding separately. The totals also do not include in-kind (as opposed to cash) contributions from some donors.

According to the 2001 report, in the year 2000, eight of the largest humanitarian mine/unexploded ordnance clearance programs cleared a combined total of more than 185 million square meters of land, including in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Kosovo, Laos, and Mozambique.

Landmine Monitor Report 2001 notes that the first, groundbreaking national Landmine Impact Survey was completed in Yemen in July 2000; and additional national Landmine Impact Surveys have since been completed in Thailand, Chad and Mozambique. By systematically gathering information to gauge the social and economic impact that landmines have on communities, the impact surveys will lead to a prioritisation of community needs and help inform the allocation of mine action resources.

Challenges Remaining

While this year's Landmine Monitor report is a "good news" story that validates the fact that the Mine Ban Treaty and the ban movement are already having a huge impact on the ground in alleviating the landmine problem, numerous challenges remain, as documented in the report.

Universalisation clearly remains the biggest challenge facing ban supporters. Some 52 countries have not yet joined the treaty. This includes three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, Russia, and the United States), most of the Middle East and the former Soviet republics, and many Asian nations. Yet virtually all of these non-signatories have endorsed the notion of a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel mines at some point in time, and many have already at least partially embraced the Mine Ban Treaty. Now that the treaty has entered into force states must accede and cannot simply sign the treaty with intent to ratify at a later date.

Landmine Monitor estimates that there are some 230-245 million anti-personnel mines stockpiled in the arsenals of about 100 nations, the vast majority of which are non-signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty. China has the biggest estimated stockpile (110 million) followed by Russia (60-70 million), United States (11.2 million), Ukraine (6.4 million), Pakistan (6 million), India (4-5 million), and Belarus (4.5 million). While the majority of states parties have completed or are in the process of completing destruction, seventeen states parties have yet to begin, and the deadline for many nations is in 2003.

The mine problem is not one that can be "fixed" quickly. Landmine Monitor research identifies 90 countries that are affected to some degree by landmines and/or UXO. New mine laying in FYR Macedonia and Uzbekistan has added them to the list of mine-affected nations. A new survey in El Salvador, which previously declared itself mine-free, has identified 53 mine and UXO affected sites.

Mine casualties continue. Landmine Monitor research indicates that there were new mine/UXO victims in 73 countries in 2000 and 2001 (through May). A majority (45) of these countries were at peace, not war. The greatest number of new victims in this time period appear to be found in Afghanistan, India, Angola, Cambodia, Northern Iraq, and, likely, Myanmar (Burma). Significant numbers of new victims are also found in Chechnya, Iran, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and, likely, Vietnam. There is a need for continued and sustained efforts in survivor assistance and strengthened government policy and practice for disability in these countries.

Despite the fact that global mine action funding increased in 2000, a number of mine action programs experienced serious problems, even crises, in funding. A key problem is a lack of long-term commitments from the donor countries. In Afghanistan, a severe shortage of funds in 2000 led to the laying off of a number of clearance teams. In Angola, some mine clearance organisations have struggled with reduced funding, erratic funding and/or donor reluctance to commit long-term in Angola. A number of organisations had to suspend programs in 2000 or 2001 due to lack of funding. Funding shortfalls in 2000 and 2001 have put the existence of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center at risk. Short-term funding was announced in April that will maintain the MAC structure until September 2001. In Cambodia, nearly all demining operations were suspended in October 2000 due to funding problems.

While, as of mid-2001, it would not appear that anti-personnel mines are being used on a massive scale in any conflict, Landmine Monitor Report 2001 finds that since May 2000, it appears likely that there was new use of anti-personnel mines in 23 conflicts by as many as 15 governments and at least 30 rebel groups/non-state actors. The most regular use is likely occurring in Russia (Chechnya), Sri Lanka, and Burma where both government and rebel forces are using anti-personnel mines.

Landmine Monitor reports that most of the use of anti-personnel mines in the reporting period was continued use in ongoing conflicts. However, changes regarding use from last year include: new use of mines in FYR Macedonia; Russian forces laying mines inside Tajikistan, a Mine Ban Treaty state party, on the Tajik-Afghan border; Uzbekistan laying mines on its borders with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; and Kyrgyzstan reportedly laying mines on its border with Tajikistan. Landmine Monitor now also believes it is likely that Nepalese forces, especially the police, are using mines against Maoist rebels, who regularly use homemade mines.

Six governments acknowledge use of anti-personnel mines in the time period. One, Angola, is a signatory to the Mine Ban Treaty. The other five are non-signatories: Eritrea, Myanmar (Burma), Russia, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan. Eritrea states that it has not used mines since the end of its border conflict with Ethiopia in June 2000. Use is ongoing for the other governments.

Most disturbingly, Landmine Monitor has received reports that indicate a strong possibility of use of anti-personnel mines by Uganda, a Mine Ban Treaty state party, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in June 2000. Uganda became a state party to the Mine Ban Treaty in August 1999. The Ugandan government has denied that it used anti-personnel mines in the DRC.

Landmine Monitor believes that it is likely that two Mine Ban Treaty signatories, Ethiopia and Sudan, used anti-personnel mines. There are serious, but unconfirmed, allegations about use by Rwanda in the DRC in June 2000 when it was a treaty signatory (it is now a state party) and Burundi, another treaty signatory. All four of these governments deny use.

Landmine Monitor also believes that it is likely the following non-signatories used anti-personnel mines: DR Congo, Israel, Nepal, and Kyrgyzstan. Officials from DR Congo and Nepal have denied use. Israel acknowledged use of anti-personnel mines in South Lebanon prior to its withdrawal in May 2000, and appears to have continued to use mines in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, allegedly in one instance without proper fencing and marking as required by CCW Amended Protocol II.

In addition to the instances of use noted above, there was ongoing use of mines in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance opposition forces, in Kashmir by militant groups, in the Philippines by three rebel groups, in Senegal by rebel forces, in Uganda by rebel forces, in Somalia by various factions, in Georgia/Abkhazia by non-state actors, and in Yugoslavia by non-state actors.

Next Steps

Over the coming year, the ICBL and others will use the Landmine Monitor report findings to show that progress continues to be made on the elimination of anti-personnel mines, but also to point out that much work remains to be done. They will use the report to highlight its major concerns with regard to compliance by states parties and signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty.

With respect to use of anti-personnel mines, Landmine Monitor believes that the serious and credible allegations of use by Uganda in the DR Congo merit the urgent attention of states parties, who should consult with the Ugandan government and other relevant actors in order to seek clarification, establish the facts, and resolve these questions regarding compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty. With respect to Russia's laying of anti-personnel mines inside Tajikistan, Landmine Monitor believes that this would likely constitute a violation of the Mine Ban Treaty if it is shown that the government of Tajikistan acquiesced to this use. Article 1 of the Mine Ban Treaty states that a state party may not "assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a state party."

With respect to use of anti-personnel mines by signatories to the ban treaty, Landmine Monitor notes that the use of anti-personnel mines by a signatory can be judged a breach of its international obligations. Under Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, "A state is obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty when...it has signed the treaty." Clearly, any new use of mines defeats the object and purpose of the treaty.

Landmine Monitor Report 2001 also details other special issues of concern in implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty which were examined by the Third Meeting of States Parties. These include the issues of joint operations (Article 1), anti-vehicle mines with anti-handling devices (Article 2), mines retained for training (Article 3), stockpiling and transit of foreign anti-personnel mines (Articles 1, 2, and 4), Claymore-type mines (Articles 1, 4 and 7), transparency reporting (Article 7) and national implementation measures (Article 9).


As was the case in previous years, Landmine Monitor acknowledges that its ambitious third report has its shortcomings and describes the initiative as a work in progress, a system that will be continuously updated, corrected and improved. It welcomes comments, clarifications, and corrections from governments and others, in the spirit of dialogue and in the search for accurate and reliable information on a difficult subject.

While much work remains to be done before the campaign's work can consider being completed, observers continue to be astonished at the vigour, consistency and accuracy of the ICBL's continued work. In less than three years, the ICBL has managed to publish three comprehensive Landmine Monitor reports, which have been hailed by governments, media and others as the essential reference source on the landmines. Landmine Monitor Report 2001 is proof that the movement to ban landmines is alive and still kicking.

Notes and References

1. To access the report, go to http://www.icbl.org/lm/2001/ or email lm@icbl.org.

2. Statement by the Nobel Committee, 10 October 1997.

3. Formally, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. Also referred to as Ottawa Convention. It was negotiated in Oslo, Norway in September 1997, and opened for signature in Ottawa, Canada on 3 December 1997.

4. Jane's Mines and Mine Clearance 2000-2001, Fifth Edition, pp. [22]-[23].

Stephen D. Goose and Mary Wareham are both employed by Human Rights Watch. Goose is the Chief Editor of Landmine Monitor Report 2001 while Wareham is the Global Coordinator of Landmine Monitor.

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.