Landmine Update #1, April 2000

24 April 2000
With this landmine Update, the ICBL is reviving its quarterly newsletter, followed by a list of new resources available and calendar ( ) of upcoming events. This edition covers January - April 2000. As of 24 April there are 137 signatories/accession and 94 ratifications ( ) or accession to the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction. The UN has received forty-one Article Seven reports submitted to the UN Secretary General and the Department of Disarmament Affairs has posted them to the Internet.Article Seven also requires annual updates covering the last calendar year, to be reported by 30 April each year. To date two countries that have already submitted a first report, have also done their second report (Mexico and Switzerland.) For further information and regular Reporting Updates search "transparency reports" on
As the ICBL continues to work for universalization and effective implementation of the 1999 Convention, the first quarter of 2000 has been eventful. The second anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention 1 March 2000 galvanized campaigners into action worldwide as events were held in over 35 countries. Letters urging ratification were sent by ICBL, ICRC and UNICEF, embassy visits and demarches conducted as well as the numerous public and media events organized.
The intersessional work programme was established at the Maputo First Meeting of States Parties (FMSP) ( ) in May 1999. The intersessional work programme strives to "consolidate and concentrate global Mine Action efforts (without duplicating existing efforts) and to highlight the role of the Convention (Mine Ban Treaty or MBT) as a comprehensive framework for Mine Action.
The five Standing Committees of Experts (SCEs) on Victim Assistance, Socio-economic Reintegration and Mine Awareness; Mine Clearance; Stockpile Destruction; Technologies for Mine Action and General Status and Operation of the Convention (also known as Committee 5) have each met at least once (September & December 1999 and January & March 2000). Action points have been identified and work on them is ongoing. The last round of SCE meetings will take place from 22 - 30 May 2000 in Geneva.
JANUARY 2000: SCE Meeting on General Status and Operation of the Convention ("Committee 5")This SCE is important because it is tasked with pulling together the work and recommendations of all the SCEs into a coherent whole to feed into the Second Meeting of States Parties (SMSP). Committee 5 is also the only place to deal issues of great concern to the campaign that fall outside of the topics of mine clearance, victim assistance and stockpile destruction, like definitions (AVMs with AHDs), stocks retained for training, etc.
Some crucial progress was made on a number of the issues the ICBL has identified as top priorities. The ICBL highlighted five issues that were discussed: antivehicle mines with antihandling devices (definitions), mines retained for training/development, comprehensive Article 7 reporting, national implementation measures, and foreign stocks/transit and joint/operations.
The ICBL Mine Action Working Group, as well as its member mine clearance organizations, made concrete and informative interventions during the five thematic topics of:
  • Standards and Criteria
  • Measures of Impact and Benefit
  • Planning and Prioritization
  • Coordination
  • Building National Capacity

The ICBL Victim Assistance Working Group, as well as its member organizations, made concrete and informative presentations and interventions during the SCE on the five Network Groups and additional group on mine awareness established at the September SCEs:
  • mine awareness (ICBL and ICRC);
  • victim assistance draft reporting forms (Handicap International and ICBL);
  • victim assistance guidelines (Mexico and Nicaragua);
  • victim assistance portfolio (ICBL);
  • data collection (GICHD);
  • donor coordination (Sweden).

Even though much progress was made, not enough was concretely done in terms of identifying needs and gaps and available resources or articulating ACTION POINTS to forward to the Second Meeting of States Parties. Work is ongoing in the areas of victim assistance listed above.The Intersessional work is a way to measure progress made in the Full implementation of the mine ban treaty.
Please contact the ICBL Government Relations Liaison ( ) and the Working Group Chairs ( , and ) if you want to be involved. For further information visit and for "Action Points" and other related documents please visit the ICBL website ( .
Following is a list of landmine-related events by country.
ALBANIA - Ratified 29 February 2000.
ANGOLA - The deteriorating security situation in Angola has seriously constrained all activities of international humanitarian organizations, including mine action. Reports of continued mine use by both the Angola government and UNITA have continued as have injuries by both anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. 24 April thirty people were killed and 17 others hurt when a truck and a four-wheel-drive hit two anti-tank mines in the province of Uige in northern Angola. The explosions followed two others involving mines and vehicles in February. Twenty-three people were killed and 19 were seriously injured in those blasts. A WFP worker was critically injured in March.
A UN humanitarian office (OCHA) assessment was published in April, based on an April field-mission led by UN Emergency Relief Coord. Carolyn McAskie. According to an IRIN article its many findings include: "The majority of displaced persons are dependent upon food assistance, unable to feed themselves due to a lack of agricultural land, seeds, tools, fertilizers & other not own essential items they need to survive including plastic sheeting, blankets, soap, buckets, & kitchen sets. None of the hospitals or health posts visited had sufficient essential medicines & many had no medicine at all. Children throughout the country have not been vaccinated against life-threatening diseases... Insecurity remains rife with landmines widespread around the perimeters of provincial capitals. The country's roads are either poorly maintained or too dangerous because of ambushes and land mines, while many air fields - often the only means of delivering humanitarian assistance - are badly damaged through overuse."
Zoraida Mesa, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Angola, said in a forward to the report: " The humanitarian situation is alarming. If current trends continue, the situation in Angola could deteriorate to the point of a crisis." The report suggests numerous practical responses, including halting of resettlement of populations to landmine-infested areas.
Campaign 1 March activity: Exhibition including ICRC mobile landmine exhibit including photos and handcrafts made by disabled. UNICEF and Angolan NGOs participated in the evening featuring exhibit displays and theatrical performances which were attended by the First Lady of Angola, Ana Paula dos Santos, wife of President Eduardo dos Santos. The event was covered by Angolan print, radio and television. For further information contact:
ARGENTINA - Campaign 1 March activity: Letter sent to Foreign Minister signed by Adolfo Perez Esquivel and press release. Contact:
ARMENIA - Armenian National Committee of ICBL and IPPNW hosted a 2-day seminar "The antipersonnel mines problem in the Caucasus and its coverage by mass media" with journalists and campaigners from Russia and the Caucasus 19-21 April.
AUSTRALIA - 1 March activity: Meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs. Postcards, letter writing and visits to embassies of four nonsignatory countries of the region. Exhibit of photos, posters and postcards to the embassies and a special petition to Australian parliament regarding the problem of landmines in Sri Lanka in Melbourne. Public event and media coverage. A Call for Posters. "Destroy-a-Minefield Week" 27 March Art Exhibition "Minefields" by George Gittoes 28 March to 13 April and regional centers afterwards. National Consultation and Committee meeting - 14-16 April 2000 Sydney. Destroy-a-Minefield Week and Hopscotchathon - fundraising for mine clearance: April onwards, all states. Contact:
AZERBAIJAN - First meeting of the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) was held in March.
Campaign 1 March activity: Meeting with participation of government representatives, Parliament deputies, political parties, national and international NGOs, donor organizations, embassies and journalists. Contact:
BANGLADESH - Campaign activities: A music evening was organized at Cox's Bazar public hall. The slogan was Songs for Mine Free World. The costs for the event were donated and 23 local singers participated including well known writers and poets. Contact:
1 March activity: Letters to heads of state. Press release. Discussion. Contact:
BELARUS - Hosted a workshop 6-7 March in Minsk on "Humanitarian Demining And Mine Stockpile Elimination" organized by the Belarusian NGO Support Center for Associations and Foundations (SCAF), in conjunction with the United Nations Representative Office in Minsk and the Belarusian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense. For an overview, please see and further information contact: SCAF at Tel/Fax +375-172- 105751 and email:
BELGIUM - 1 March activity: Launch of postcard campaign in 6 cities to send to President Clinton which collected 5000 postcards. Delivery of petitions by landmine survivors to US embassy, meeting with ambassador. Press release. Contact:
BOLIVIA - Submitted Article Seven Report.
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA - Submitted Article Seven Report.Three children were killed in a minefield in Sarajevo 11 April. "The victims included an 11- year-old girl who screamed for help for hours as would-be rescuers watched, too fearful to go after her. Police identified the victims as Ema Alic, 11, Goran Biscevic, 12, and Haris Balicevac, 12" reported the Associated Press 11 April. Reports of the incident worldwide galvanized attention and horror. "Jusuf Jasarevic, the chief of the regional demining center in Sarajevo, said ...'some 1,818 minefields have been registered only around Sarajevo," he said. "But the public pays attention to the problem only when a tragedy like this occurs,'" noted AP on 12 April. News stories about the incident .
1 March activity: Delivery of copy of letter to Clinton signed by 1300 landmine survivors to US embassy. Contact:
BOTSWANA - Ratified 1 March 2000.
BRAZIL - 1 March Activity: Letters to heads of state of neighboring countries urging ratification and accession. Contact:
BULGARIA - 14 March the media reported that the Bulgarian parliament unanimously ratified an agreement with Turkey for the non-use of landmines and their removal from areas adjoining the countries' border.
CAMBODIA - Media reports in April noted that "Saying the nation's mine-clearing agency Cambodia Mine Action Centre has reformed, Cambodian leader Hun Sen called for a speeding up of international aid for removing the millions of mines left by three decades of war."
Campaign Activities: The Cambodia Campaign wrote that the campaign has changed its organization this year. Whereas previously campaign meetings were held in the capital, as well as meetings of other bodies related to mine action and victim assistance and disability issues. This year the campaign meetings are held in different mine-affected provinces each month." ICBL Ambassador Tun Channareth traveled to Fiji to a meeting of parliamentarians of Pacific Island nations. The trip, hosted by UNICEF, was intended to encourage ratification and accession by Pacific Island nations. Tun Channareth also traveled to Spain where he and Bishop Enrique Figaredo spoke at Comillas university in Madrid along with people who had suffered in Rwanda and Congo. 64 people were injured by mines last month (March.)
1 March Activities: Mine Awareness day: distribution of material explaining the national legislation banning landmines. Event and parade in Siem Reap. Letter to Clinton. Delivery of letter and signatures by survivors to US embassy. Brochure with report card for ASEAN countries. Press release. Local and regional coverage. Contact:
CANADA - Youth Mine Action Ambassadors visit to Bosnia. 1 March Activities: Mine Action: Week of Activities including an event at the Canadian Children's Museum in Ottawa. Launch of a new symbol for the campaign, butterfly pins (made by Jesuit Refugee Service in Cambodia). Re-launch of the Song Kosal Youth Against War Treaty with the objective of handing as many youth signatures as possible to the new US president. Speakers from Sudan, Somalia and Cambodia. Events in 5 cities including delivery of petitions to the US consul in Montreal and Quebec. Press Release. Youth Against War campaign continues. Contact:
CHILE - 1 March activity: National press conference. Contact:
COLOMBIA - 1 March activity: Letters to government officials, regional embassies, radio interview and press conference. Translation of ICBL press release into Spanish. Contact:
ECUADOR - Submitted Article 7 Report.
EGYPT - UN inter-agency assessment mission to Egypt in February. The report of their findings and recommendations has not yet been released.Africa/European Union Summit was held in Cairo 3- 4 April under the Aegis of the OAU and the EU. The Africa/Europe Summit Declaration contains no reference to the need for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty nor does it link its calls for demining and mine victim assistance to the framework provided by the treaty.
The Arab Regional Conference on Landmines was held in Cairo 9-11 hosted by the National Middle East Studies Center. The ICBL issued a press release on the last day which "deplored the manipulation of the Final Declaration of the regional conference on landmines and called on Egypt and all non-signatory countries to follow the true path to the ban on antipersonnel mines by joining the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty... The ICBL wishes to disassociate itself from this conference and its recommendations which included approval of the continued use of antipersonnel mines and which called for negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament"
ECUADOR - UN inter-agency report on the landmine problem in Ecuador released. For further information see
EUROPE - 1 March activity: European Parliament : Human Rights Watch Brussels organised a successful meeting at the European Parliament CFSP(Common Foreign Security Policy) Contact Group Briefing on Antipersonnel Landmines with presentation of ICBL activities, Landmine Monitor and an assessment of European Policy on APMs. Mr Chevallard from the Commission presented the draft of the European new regulation on APLs that normally had to be agreed on by the Commission on March 1st but which has been delayed (1-2 weeks). French MEP Carlotti and Finnish MEP Wuory presented questions they asked to the Commission and Council (as the result of action by European country campaigns). Oral questions answered by the Commission in Strasbroug March 14th. Contact: or
FINLAND - 1 March activity: Letters and Press Release encouraging the new government to sign the treaty as the new President, Ms. Tarja Halonen, takes office on 1 March and supported the treaty in her previous post as Foreign Minister. Contact:
FRANCE - 1 March activities: 1. Launch of national post card campaign, sent to 460 000 contacts and distributed through Handicap International volunteer teams, stating that France does not fulfill its commitment to eradicate APMs (its contribution is considered to be equivalent to 1FF per year per inhabitant). The campaign calls on the French government (Prime Minister Jospin) to double France's support for victim assistance and mine clearance and to take the lead in the fight for Victims Rights. 2. A press conference was held in Paris, February 29th with coverage in the two major daily newspapers (Le Monde and Lib?ration) and radio interviews. 3. Letters to and visits to embassies of signatories and non signatory states. 4. ICBL press release was translated and sent to 100 French speaking media contacts in Africa. Contact:
GEORGIA - In April the Georgia CBL hosted a roundtable of representatives of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia Campaigns to Ban Landmines "Caucasus: Future without mines" with particular attention paid to the development of the "Refugees against mines" movement in the region. For further information contact or
GERMANY - 1 March activity: Roundtable, organised together with the UKWGLM and MAG, to inform actors from UK's international development community about the Bad Honnef Framework. Press release. Contact:
GUATEMALA - 1 March activity: Delivery of copy of letter to Clinton and survivors' signatures to US embassy in Guatemala. Contact:
GUINEA-BISSAU - Media reports 5 March OCHA "Although the war has ended mines continue to maim and kill. Twenty-three fatalities and 14 other incidents caused by mines and unexploded ordnance have been reported since June 1998, OCHA quoted ANDES, a local NGO, as saying in its latest update covering the period 16 January to 20 February."
HONG KONG - 1 March activity: Letters to 27 Foreign Ministers of Asian signatory states who have not yet ratified and non-signatories. Press release and coverage in local press. Contact:
INDIA - Campaign activities: March National Workshop in New Delhi and 1 March activity: Workshop and photo exhibition. Contact:
IRELAND - 1 March activity: Alistair Hogson, a double amputee survivor of a landmine explosion in Northern Ireland 8 years ago, starts training on 1 March to attempt to become the 1st person in the world to qualify as a skydiver as a double amputee. Contact:
ITALY - Submitted Article Seven Report.
JAPAN - A kick-off demonstration of the destruction of stockpiled APM took place 17 January 2000, at the gymnasium of the Air Self-Defence Force Base, next t o the Aebano Explosion Test Center of ACI (Asahi Chemical Industry Co.,Ltd), about 500 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.
Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who signed the MBT in 1997 while serving as foreign minister, and Defense Agency chief Tsutomi Kawara attended the ceremony to launch the operation. About 100 other people attended the ceremony and monitored the operation. Representatives of the Japan campaign to ban landmines and the media were present. Japan announced plans to destroy the remaining stockpiled antipersonnel mines before the end of February 2003, in accordance with the treaty. Japan will retain 15,000 APM for training and research.
1 March activity: Letters to embassies in Japan of signatories who have not yet ratified. Press release. Symposium on cluster bombs 9 March. Campaign Contact:
MAURITIUS - Campaign Activities: Activities with Rotary Club and youth events. 1 March 1 Activities: Press release and media articles. Contact:
MEXICO - Submitted Second Article Seven Annual Report.
MOZAMBIQUE - As is well known, severe flooding has battered Mozambique during this quarter. According to the mid-April report of the government disaster agency, the Instituto Nacional Gestao de Calamidades (INGC), about 2 million people in Mozambique remain affected by the floods. The full impact of the flooding on the country's well established mine action programmes remains mostly unknown at this point. It is not yet possible to evaluate the impact of the floods that have devastated the southern and central region of the country, including the mine-affected provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala and Manica. In the areas where the flood is receding, there is still little mobility with few villagers returning home. In addition to mines, many other life-threatening problems confront Mozambique as a result of the flooding including the threats of increased malaria and cholera.
To date, no injuries directly related to landmines in the floods is known, yet it is still too early to rule out that such injuries might have occurred as people moved around. Indeed the greatest danger to populations by mines may come as the return home and begin to rebuild their lives and communities. Local landmarks will have changed and already established mine field marking will have been destroyed by the flooding. On 15 March, a four-month emergency mine action programme was initiated supported by the National Institute for Mine Clearance (IND), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Accelerated Demining Program (ADP), Handicap International (HI), Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) and other mine action operators. At the SCE on Mine Clearance in March Mozambique requested special attention given the recent floods, and noted that $2,800,000 was needed for the moment for mine action in this emergency phase. For further information please consult:

NAMIBIA - There have been numerous incidents of new use reported in Namibia. Most of these incidents have been attributed to the Angolan warring parties, the Angolan government forces and the Angolan rebel movement, UNITA. A Namibian Police report of 10 April detailed "anti-personnel and landmine related incidents which injured 23 persons and resulted in the death of another 3" in Kavango Region from 20 January through 2 April. Media reports 25 April cited 10 landmine-related incidents in the Kavango region in the preceding 10 days.
Campaign Activities: The Namibian Campaign has issued various Press Releases and reports about the situation, including one on 1 March that highlighted concern over the incidents of new use, and garnered local and regional press coverage. Contact:
NEPAL - Campaign activities: Series of meetings in April with political parties, students, professional, women's and religious organizations. 1 March activity: Letters to the Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs' Minister, embassies, all parliamentarians and various government offices. Contact:
NETHERLANDS - Submitted Article Seven Report.
NEW ZEALAND - Submitted Article Seven Report.
1 March activity: Letter to US Ambassador urging the USA to sign the Treaty. Contact:
NAGORNO-KARABAKH - Launched Nagorno-Karabakh Committee for ICBL in April.
PHILIPPINES - Ratified 15 February 2000.
POLAND - article in Gazeta Wyborcza.
PORTUGAL - Submitted Article Seven Report.
ROMANIA - Some embassy visits. Contact:
RUSSIA - Reports of mine use by both Chechen rebels and Russian forces in Cechnya. Most recently, according to media reports from Moscow Itar Tass on 9 April "Minefields Will Separate Russia From Georgia - The military leadership and border services of Russia and Georgia have adopted the decision to mine several stretches of the border between the two countries. The operation is being conducted in order to put a stop to supplies of weapons and ammunition to the territory of Chechnya and also to prevent Chechen gunmen from crossing over to Georgia for recuperation or medical treatment." The ICBL has condemned this and written open letters to Putin and the Chechen rebel leadership urging halt to mine use.
Campaign 1 March activity: Broadcasts of programs on landmines and the Treaty process on local television. Contact:
SEYCHELLES - Ratified in April 2000.
SIERRA LEONE - Public Lecture on Landmines, the Environment and Sustainable Peace in Sierra Leone hosted by Save Heritage And Rehabilitate the Environment For further information contact SHARE at
SRI LANKA - 28 April the United Nations suspended part of its operations in northern Sri Lanka, including calling back a 10-member team from the U.N. Development Program involved in clearing mines, a UNDP spokesman told T