For the purposes of this report, those countries who have consented to be bound by the Mine Ban Treaty, but have not yet completed the six-month waiting period, are included in the States Parties Section.
MBT Signature and Ratification
There is near universal support for the Mine Ban Treaty in the Americas region. Thirty-three countries have signed the treaty; the United States and Cuba are the only non-signatories. As of 31 March 1999, nineteen countries of the region had ratified the ban treaty (in order of ratification): Canada, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Grenada, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Nicaragua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Dominica, and Guatemala.
Those who have signed but not ratified include: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The legislative process to ratify is currently underway in at least half of these nations.
The only country in the region where there is evidence that antipersonnel mines were being actively laid in 1998 and early 1999 is Colombia, where several rebel groups, notably the UC-ELN and FARC, have produced and used antipersonnel mines and improvised explosive devices for years.
APM Production and Export
As a result of the Mine Ban Treaty and domestic policies, seven countries in the region have stopped production of antipersonnel mines: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Peru. Colombia’s production, which ceased in 1996, had gone unrecorded by other governments and NGOs, prior to publication of the Landmine Monitor Report 1999.
The United States and Cuba remain the only APM producers in the hemisphere.
No country in the region is currently an exporter of antipersonnel mines. The U.S. turned its 1992 moratorium on exports into a permanent ban in 1997, and Cuba has formally stated that it does not export APMs. Treaty signatories Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Chile exported mines in the past.
Canada and El Salvador have destroyed their entire operational stockpiles of antipersonnel mines. Guatemala states that it has no APM stockpile. Partial stockpile destruction has taken place in Nicaragua, the United States, and Uruguay.
The following nations are believed to have stockpiles of APMs: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guyana, Nicaragua, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Peru has reported to the OAS that it has no stockpile of antipersonnel mines, but there are reports to the contrary. It is not known if Panama, Paraguay, and Suriname have APM stockpiles.
The following nations are believed to have never possessed antipersonnel mines: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
Landmine Problem and Mine Action
Uncleared landmines pose a continuing problem in the Americas. The most seriously affected countries are Colombia and Nicaragua. Others with a mine problem include Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru and Ecuador along their border, as well as the disputed Falkland/Malvinas Islands. The greatest number of mines, some 500,000 to one million, appear to be planted on Chile’s borders with Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. However, these mines seem to cause few civilian casualties. Both the US and Cuba have planted mines around the US Guantanamo Naval Base; the US has pledged to remove all of its antipersonnel mines from the area by the end of 1999.
Humanitarian mine clearance programs are underway in Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala (all in cooperation with the OAS and Inter-American Defense Board). Joint agreement was reached in late 1998 by Peru and Ecuador to demine their border. In November 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras, but only set back mine clearance efforts by a matter of months. All of the Central American countries should attain the goal of being mine free by the year 2000, with the exception of Nicaragua, where the target appears to have slipped to 2004, due to the hurricane and other factors.
A Memorandum of Understanding on a Joint Program for the Rehabilitation of Mine Victims in Central America was signed by Mexico, Canada and PAHO in January 1999. The initiative, financed with an initial grant of 3.5 million Canadian dollars will assess and begin to address the needs of war victims in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras.
The United States has provided more money to global mine action programs than any other nation, approximately $164 million. Canada is another significant mine action donor (approximately $37 million).