Landmine Monitor 2001

Africa

Mine Ban Policy

Of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 35 are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. This is an increase of eight countries since publication of theLandmine Monitor Report 2000. The countries that ratified or acceded to the treaty in this reporting period are, in chronological order: Gabon, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Congo-Brazzaville (accession), Cape Verde, and Guinea-Bissau.

Another seven countries have signed but not yet ratified the Mine Ban Treaty: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, São Tomé e Príncipe, and Sudan. Three of those report that domestic steps are completed, or nearly completed, for ratification: Angola, Cameroon, and São Tomé e Príncipe.

Six countries in the region remain outside the Mine Ban Treaty: Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Nigeria, and Somalia. The DR Congo reports that domestic procedures for accession have been completed.

Three States Parties have passed domestic legislation implementing the Mine Ban Treaty, all in this reporting period: Mali, Mauritius, and Zimbabwe. Eleven other countries indicate that implementation legislation in the process of being enacted. Landmine Monitor is unaware of any steps underway to enact domestic implementation legislation in: Benin, Cape Verde, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania.

Compliance with the requirement to submit Article 7 transparency measures reports has improved in the last year. Benin, Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe have submitted their initial Article 7 reports, and in some cases the required annual updates. Botswana, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Seychelles, Togo, and Uganda have not yet submitted their initial reports, some of which were due in August 1999.

No country from the Africa region voted against or abstained in voting for UN General Assembly Resolution 55/33V in support of the Mine Ban Treaty in November 2000. Three non-signatories voted in favor of the resolution: Comoros, Eritrea and Nigeria. Twenty-one of the 108 governments participating in the Second Meeting of States Parties in Geneva were from Africa. Since the Second Meeting, Zimbabwe has served as co-chair of the Intersessional Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention. Participation in the intersessional meetings by African states increased recently due to increased sponsorship efforts. African governments that attended at least one Standing Committee meeting were Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, and Zambia.

In November 2000, Djibouti hosted a conference on landmines for the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden states. In February 2001, Mali hosted the Bamako Seminar on the Universalization and Implementation of the Ottawa Convention in Africa, attended by 45 African governments.

Use

In this Landmine Monitor reporting period, since May 2000, there were confirmed new uses of antipersonnel mines, or credible allegations of new use, in at least eight conflicts: (1) in Angola by both government forces and UNITA rebels (with use by both in Namibia as well); (2) in Burundi by rebel and/or government forces; (3) in the Democratic Republic of Congo by government and rebel forces; (4) in the Ethiopia-Eritrea border conflict by both sides; (5) in Senegal by MFDC rebels; (6) in Somalia by various factions; (7) in Sudan by government and SPLA/M rebels; and (8) in Uganda by LRA rebels.

Landmine Monitor received reports that indicate a strong possibility of use of antipersonnel mines by Ugandan forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo in June 2000. Uganda became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty in August 1999. The Ugandan government has denied that it used antipersonnel mines in the DRC. There have also been serious allegations of use of antipersonnel mines by Rwandan forces in the DRC in June 2000. Rwanda was a Mine Ban Treaty signatory at the time; it became a State Party on 1 December 2000. Rwanda denies any use of antipersonnel mines.

Mine Ban Treaty signatory Angola has acknowledged continued use of antipersonnel mines. There are strong indications that two other signatories used antipersonnel mines: Ethiopia (until the end of its border conflict with Eritrea in June 2000), and Sudan (ongoing use against SPLA/M and other rebel forces). Both governments deny any use of antipersonnel mines. Eritrea for the first time admitted to use of antipersonnel mines during its border conflict with Ethiopia from May 1998 to June 2000.

In Burundi, which is a treaty signatory, antipersonnel mines have continued to be used, and there have been allegations of use by both government and rebel forces, but Landmine Monitor has not been able to establish responsibility for the mine use. In August 2000, the government of Burundi, for the first time known to Landmine Monitor, accused rebel forces of using antipersonnel mines. This came in response to Landmine Monitor’s report of serious allegations of use by the Burundi army. The government has subsequently frequently accused rebels of planting mines.

In February 2001 the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the first time known to Landmine Monitor denied current or past use of antipersonnel mines.

Production and Transfer

Landmine Monitor received new allegations regarding production of antipersonnel mines in Uganda, but is not in a position to confirm or deny these allegations. Uganda denies any new production.

The use of antipersonnel mines in the region has raised concerns about illicit cross-border transfers of antipersonnel mines, but Landmine Monitor has not been able to document specific cases.

Stockpiling and Destruction

Botswana, Gabon, Mauritius, Togo, and Zambia have stated to Landmine Monitor that they have only small stockpiles of antipersonnel mines for training, but have not provided the exact number of mines in stock. Burkina Faso, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, and Senegal have confirmed that they do not possess antipersonnel mines. Burundi revealed that its stockpile numbers less than 15,000 antipersonnel mines. Cameroon declared a stockpile of 500 antipersonnel mines for training purposes. Congo-Brazzaville indicates that its stockpile may number as much as 700,000-900,000 antipersonnel mines. Mauritania has decided to retain 5,918 antipersonnel mines for training purposes. Mozambique’s initial Article 7 report revealed the size of its stockpile for the first time: 37,818. Sierra Leone acknowledged a stockpile of approximately 900 antipersonnel mines. Tanzania is the only State Party yet to reveal whether or not it maintains any stockpile of antipersonnel mines, but it is assumed to do so. In addition to those States Parties, those believed to have stockpiles of antipersonnel mines include Mine Ban Treaty non-signatories Central African Republic, DR Congo, Eritrea, Nigeria and Somalia; and treaty signatories Angola, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

Zimbabwe completed the destruction of its stockpile in November 2000. Mauritania reports that it destroyed its stockpile of approximately 5,000 antipersonnel mines over the course of the past three years. Mali, Namibia, and South Africa previously destroyed their stockpiles. The eight States Parties in Africa that have not begun the destruction process include: Chad, Djibouti, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia. Three of these have only been States Parties a short time including Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Mine Action Funding

In 2000, it is estimated that mine action funding for Mozambique totaled about $17 million, an increase from 1999. Funding for Angola in 2000 is estimated at $13 million, a decrease from 1999. Others receiving mine action funding included Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia/Somaliland, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Mine action in the region is primarily funded by the European Commission, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Landmine Problem

In the region, twenty-six countries, plus Somaliland, are mine-affected. These countries include: Angola, Burundi, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Djibouti, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Landmine Impact Surveys were completed in Chad and Mozambique. In Somalia, an advance survey mission was conducted. The UK-based Mines Advisory Group has conducted an assessment mission to Uganda. The initial findings of the Mozambique Landmine Impact Survey were released in June 2001. It found that all ten provinces and 123 out of 128 districts in Mozambique are mine-affected. The survey identified 1,374 suspected mined areas, covering an estimated 562 square kilometers.

In 2000/2001 UNMAS carried out assessment or fact-finding missions to Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and Zambia.

Mine Clearance

Mine clearance is taking place in sixteen countries or areas, including Angola, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somaliland, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, with smaller-scale activities in Djibouti, Mauritania, Uganda, and Zambia.

During 2000 and early 2001, mine clearance operations were carried out in the following countries and regions in Africa: Angola, Chad, DR Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Somaliland, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

In 2000, the area of land cleared in Mozambique was 5 million square meters, including over 317 kilometers of road. A total of 6,679 mines and 993 UXO were cleared and destroyed. In 2000, 1,335 antipersonnel mines, 51 antitank mines, and 75,017 UXO were cleared and destroyed in Angola. The NGO HUMAID in Guinea-Bissau began demining operations in January 2000, and by early 2001, 1.4 million square meters and 202 kilometers of roads had been cleared. In Mauritania, 27 minefields had been identified, and some 3,200 antipersonnel mines and 2,300 unexploded shells destroyed. Mine clearance operations resumed in Rwanda in June 2000 and by January 2001, 2,966 mines and UXO were removed and 11,337 square meters of land were cleared for resettlement. In Southern Sudan, between September 1997 and March 2001 clearance teams have removed 2,816 antipersonnel mines, 411 antitank mines, and 88,019 UXO, recovering 2,972,024 square meters of land, along with 676 miles of road.

With French support, Benin is establishing a regional demining training center open to other African countries, which should become operational in mid-2002. In February 2001, a National Mine Action Center was inaugurated in Djibouti.

Mine Awareness

Mine awareness programs have been conducted in Angola, Burundi, DR Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Somaliland, Sudan (including in the south), and Uganda. In March 2001, in the DRC, HI Belgium launched a six-month mine action program to prepare, coordinate and implement a clearance and mine awareness program in the Kisangani area.

Mine Casualties

Twenty countries, and Somaliland, in Africa reported mine or UXO victims in this reporting period. Malawi is the only one to have reported casualties that had not done so in 1999. Several countries were dropped from Landmine Monitor’s previous casualty list, due to lack of tangible evidence to indicate new victims, although these countries remain mine-affected: Niger, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia. It should be noted that although Tanzania has recorded no new casualties in 2000-2001, the country does provide assistance to mine survivors coming over the border from Burundi. Specific, but admittedly incomplete, totals include:

  • In Angola, 840 casualties were recorded for 2000;
  • In Chad, approximately 300 casualties were reported over the past 24 months;
  • In Eritrea, 49 casualties were reported in May and June 2000;
  • In Ethiopia, there were 170 new casualties in just the Tigray region in 2000.
  • In Namibia, 139 casualties were reported in 2000;
  • In Senegal, the number of new casualties decreased slightly to 57 in 2000.
  • In Somalia, 147 casualties were reported in just two central regions in 2000;
  • In Somaliland, 107 casualties were recorded in 2000;
  • In Sudan, more than 321 casualties were reported between September 1999 and March 2001.

Survivor Assistance

In Angola, national authorities have adopted a new five-year plan for physical rehabilitation. In Mozambique, the recently created Council for Action on Disability will work closely with NGOs and international agencies to build capacity internally and move toward long-term sustainability of programs for the disabled. In Uganda, a new disability policy has been put in place.