Landmine Monitor 2001

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Website: www.icrc.org

The contribution of this paper does not necessarily imply the association of the ICRC with views or statements made in other chapters of Landmine Monitor.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is pleased to have been invited to contribute to the third edition of Landmine Monitor. The Landmine Monitor has established itself as an important reference point for research on the world-wide landmine problem and the implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-personnel mines (the "Ottawa treaty"). It will certainly continue to be an essential resource for future work in these areas.

1. INTRODUCTION

In 2000, the Ottawa Treaty celebrated the first anniversary of its entry into force. Today, the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel (AP) mines have been outlawed by nearly two thirds of the world's governments. By the end of 2000, 109 countries were party to the Ottawa treaty, compared to 90 at the end of 1999.[2]

Efforts to rid the world of these weapons have begun to bear fruit. Significantly, governments have increased funding for programmes for mine/UXO-clearance, mine/UXO-awareness and assistance to victims. This has brought relief to both victims and their communities in some densely mined countries around the world. Lives and limbs are being saved, victims have greater access to improved treatment and rehabilitation, and millions of mines that were ready for deployment will now never find their way into the ground.

Notwithstanding these achievements, AP mines remain a menace and continue to bring suffering to civilian populations in many parts of the world. It is imperative to ensure universal adherence to and compliance with the treaty's provisions if efforts to eradicate the scourge of mines are to succeed. States party to the Ottawa treaty must meet their obligations fully by undertaking mine clearance, destroying their stockpiles within the deadlines set, and providing aid to landmine survivors. They must also adopt legislation to provide for the punishment of those who flout the treaty's provisions.

Throughout 2000, the ICRC maintained its pivotal role in promoting universal adherence to and full implementation of the Ottawa treaty by taking part in and hosting a broad range of regional and international initiatives, and by offering technical assistance and advice. The ICRC also sustained its efforts to extend assistance, including curative care and physical rehabilitation, to thousands of war-wounded includingmine victims. In view of the AP mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) which remain scattered in present and former battlefields around the world, the ICRC increased its mine-awareness programmes in order to inform the thousands of civilians living in such areas of the dangers they are exposed to.

2. HUMANITARIAN DIPLOMACY: PROMOTING UNIVERSALIZATION AND IMPLEMENTATION

Since the adoption of the Ottawa treaty, the ICRC has taken every step to ensure that the treaty has an impact on the ground. Addressing the problem caused by AP mines dictates that the treaty be ratified universally and its provisions be implemented fully.

Throughout 2000, the ICRC sought to make the Ottawa treaty a universal reality. It provided technical assistance and advice for several countries around the globe on the drafting, adoption and amendment of national legislation to punish war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law instruments, such as the Ottawa treaty.

In addition, the ICRC organized or participated in national and regional meetings in various regions of the world. The ICRC thus convened a meeting on AP mines in Abuja, Nigeria, for military and ministry of foreign affairs officials from that country. Participants from the Gambia, Ghana and Liberia also attended the meeting. It also supported the organization of a regional Conference on landmines in the Middle East and North Africa, organized by the National Centre for Middle East Studies, under the auspices of the League of Arab States, in Cairo, Egypt.

In addition to ICRC-organized events, representatives of the institution participated in the following meetings on AP mines:

  • a conference in Minsk, organized by the Belorussian NGO, Support Group Centre for Associations and Foundations;
  • a regional conference on land mines hosted by the Government of Djibouti;
  • a conference organized by the ICBL's (International Campaign to Ban Landmines) Non-State Actors Working Group, in Geneva, Switzerland;
  • a meeting of experts organized in Berlin by the German Parliament's subcommittee on disarmament;
  • a meeting convened in Ljubljana by the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • a pan-African Seminar on universalization and implementation of the Ottawa treaty in Bamako, Mali.

In all its efforts, the ICRC also encouraged adherence to amended Protocol II of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons[3] (CCW), which remains an important instrument regulating anti-vehicle mines, booby traps and other devices not covered by the Ottawa treaty.

To ensure the success of these efforts and promote a general understanding of the Ottawa treaty, the ICRC provided documentation, videos and, in many cases, its recently refurbished English-language landmine exhibition to be used as information tools. The ICRC developed an information kit to assist States in developing implementing legislation to give effect to the treaty.[4]

3. MINE AWARENESS

The ICRC continued its efforts to prevent mine accidents through its mine/UXO awareness programs. In 2000, working directly or through National Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies, it conducted mine awareness programmes in Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Ethiopia, Eritrea (by distributing material as an emergency measure), Lebanon, Nicaragua, the northern Caucasus region of the Russian Federation (including Chechnya), and the regions of Kosovo and Nagorny Karabakh.[5]In addition, data collection began in Iraq and on the Tajikistan/Uzbekistan border to determine whether there is a need for mine/UXO-awareness programmes.

In 2000, new mine awareness programs were started in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Lebanon, the Russian Federation (Chechnya), and the region of Kosovo.

A short summary of the programs in Azerbaijan and the region of Nagorny Karabakh, Ethiopia, Lebanon, and the Russian Federation/Chechnya is provided below.

AZERBAIJAN / NAGORNY KARABAKH

The ICRC mine/UXO-awareness programme launched in Azerbaijan in spring 1996 consisted of a public information campaign to IDPs and to population living on the front-line as well as a teacher training programme in affected areas. It was handed over to the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) in February 2000. This was a crucial step towards national capacity-building and integration of awareness and clearance activities.

In Nagorny Karabakh, a working group on mine/UXO issues, including representatives of the local media and the relevant ministries (defence, education, health, etc.), was set up in early 1999. A school programme, providing for the training of 72 teachers and the production of a mine-awareness puppet show, was designed and is being implemented by the ICRC in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education.

As concerns the adult population, the ICRC has not undertaken any major initiatives for adults as the Emergency Rescue Service for Community based Programmes (CBMA) and the Civil Defence are carrying out projects successfully. In response to suggestions by these two institutions, the ICRC supported their mine/UXO-awareness programme through a workshop with the local media on optimizing use of the media for the transmission of mine information to the general public, on television spots and fact sheets. The institution also supported the work of CBMA by providing 50 sign boards bearing mine-awareness messages and posted in various regions of Nagorny Karabakh. The feedback from the communities concerned is encouraging. A system for reporting mine sightings has been developed within communities, who report to the Civil Defence and Halo Trust.

ETHIOPIA

An assessment of needs was conducted in November 2000 to collect information on hazardous behaviour and attitudes and to determine how people perceive the dangers relating to mines/UXO. Mine-awareness pocket calendars, leaflets and posters were produced and distributed as an emergency measure in the Tigray area (Ethiopian side) and in the Eritrean territory occupied by Ethiopia.

The ICRC is now working with the Ethiopian Red Cross to provide support and training for its efforts to develop and implement community-based mine-awareness activities.

LEBANON

Since June 2000, the ICRC has been providing the Lebanese Red Cross Society (LRCS) with support in the development of a mine/UXO-awareness programme in response to the increase in casualties following the withdrawal of Israeli forces.

The ICRC has trained 12 mine-awareness instructors whose role is to train LRCS field workers at community level. In cooperation with the LRCS, 5,000 mine-awareness posters and 100,000 leaflets in comic-strip form, mainly targeting children, have been distributed to support community-based LRCS mine-awareness activities for adults and children.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION/CHECHNYA

An assessment mission carried out in early July 2000 highlighted the need for a mine/UXO-awareness programme in the northern Caucasus. Eight ICRC field officers were trained in the collection of information on mine/UXO casualties in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Daghestan. So far, six ICRC mine-awareness officers have been trained to run community-based mine/UXO-awareness activities specifically targeting children, teachers and adults in camps for displaced people. A puppet show has been used with children to highlight the dangers faced from mines and UXO, and in particular the safe behaviour to adopt. It is planned to begin mine-awareness programmes in Chechnya as soon as the situation permits.

4. DATA COLLECTION

An important aspect of ICRC mine awareness programs is the collection of data about mine incidents. In addition to providing information about the location of mined areas, this data is also necessary to understand the impact of mines on local communities and mine victims in order to better respond to their needs.

One of the most comprehensive ICRC data collection programs are in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Yugoslavia (Kosovo). InBosnia and Herzegovina, the number of mine/UXO victims has declined significantly, from3,161 in 1992-1995 to1,247 between 1996 and 2000, and then90 in 2000. It must be noted, however, that there was a rise in the number of people injured while venturing into areas they knew to be hazardous. Economic and social concerns are major factors in mine accidents, and as such the mine/UXO-awareness approach should focus on behavioural change and on integration with other development programmes: technical and economic solutions may help lower the incidence of mine/UXO injuries.

Below is a brief summary of some of the data collected by the ICRC in Bosnia and Herzegovina through December 2000.

  1. Injury by type of device
     
    1999
    2000
    Mine
    UXO (unexploded ordnance)
    IED (improvised explosive device)
    Unknown
    66
    14
    6
    9
    59
    26
    1
    4
  2. Incident by month
     
    1999
    2000
    January
    16
    3
    February
    9
    7
    March
    9
    12
    April
    10
    5
    May
    7
    8
    June
    4
    8
    July
    7
    11
    August
    3
    17
    September
    10
    2
    October
    5
    9
    November
    6
    5
    December
    9
    3
    Total
    94
    90
  3. Incident by gender
     
    1999
    2000
    Male
    92.4%
    93.3%
    Female
    7.6%
    6.7%

In Afghanistan, the ICRC began collecting data on mine/UXO casualties as of 1998. Presently, the ICRC is supporting UN co-ordinated surveying, demining and mine awareness through the sharing of data. This helps identify locations affected by mines and/or UXO and minefields which have not yet been surveyed and assists in the planning and prioritizing of mine clearance and mine awareness programmes. Data is collected in 11 different provinces. The primary sources of data are ICRC supported hospitals, clinics and first aid posts as well some selected clinics run by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, Aide Médicale Internationale, IbnSina, Healthnet and the Norwegian Assistance Committee, in order to broaden its geographical outreach and gain greater access to the victims treated in the 275 clinics which these institutions support. Information on approximately 2,812 mine/UXO victims was collected between March 1998 and December 2000.

In 1999, 30 people were injured by mines/UXOs inNagorny Karabakh. More than half of the victims (56.7%) were children. In 2000, the number of mine/UXO victims dropped to 15, including four children and four deaths. Data collection on mine/UXO victims was initiated by the ICRC together with local authorities, who are now fully in charge of information gathering. The ICRC database on mine/UXO casualties is still being used for data entry and analysis.

In Albania, the Albanian Red Cross Mine Awareness Instructors, supported by the ICRC, are collecting information on mine/UXO casualties. Between June and December 1999, 191 mine/UXO victims were recorded whilst 35 people were injured and killed in 2000.

5. MINE VICTIM ASSISTANCE

Providing aid and assistance to victims of war is one of the primary activities of the ICRC. The ICRC often provides medical and surgical care during and immediately following armed conflicts. In 2000, the ICRC continued to provide assistance (first aid, transport, curative care, and physical rehabilitation) for war-wounded, including mine/UXO victims, as well as training of civilian and military surgeons, in over 25 countries amongst which were Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tadjikistan, Uganda, and Yugoslavia.

The construction and fitting of prostheses remain an important part of the assistance ICRC provides directly to mine victims. For the fourth consecutive year, the annual number of physically disabled people assisted, mainly with prostheses (16,442) and orthoses (11,005), increased. This was especially true of Afghanistan, where the production of orthoses exceeded that of prostheses. In total seven additional projects were assisted in: Ethiopia, Myanmar and Uganda. This increased the total number of assisted prosthetic/orthotic centres to 37 in 14 different countries. Each project provides rehabilitation services free of charge to war wounded, a majority of which are often mine victims, and other people in need. Such services include new protheses or orthoses, fitting, training and, in some cases, transport and accommodation during his or her stay.

In 2000, the ICRC produced record number of protheses. In total, 16,442 protheses were manufactured and of these 9,882 were for mine victims (see table below). Clinics in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia and Iraq produced the largest percentage of protheses for mine injured. This is not surprising given that these are among the most heavily mine-affected countries in the world.

In addition to the 37 programs it runs today, the ICRC continues to assist physical rehabilitation projects formerly operated by it, but which have now been handed over to local organizations, government ministries, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies or non-governmental organizations. Resources for this assistance comes from the ICRC-administered Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD). During 2000, 62 projects in 37 countries received assistance from the fund. These projects assisted all those in need of their services, including mine victims.

6. ISSUES RELATED TO TREATY IMPLEMENTATION

The fact that certain anti-vehicle mines with sensitive fuses or sensitive anti-handling devices can also be detonated by the presence, proximity or contact of a person has long been highlighted by the ICRC and organizations concerned with the global landmine problem and was considered in the context of negotiations of the Ottawa treaty, in subsequent meetings of States Parties and in the intersessional work carried out in Standing Committees since 1999.

In order to facilitate the discussion on this issue, the ICRC hosted a technical expert meeting in March 2001 with the following objectives:

  • identify specific technical measures which may be taken by States to minimize the risk that a person might activate the fusing mechanism of an anti-vehicle mine;
  • identify specific technical measures which may be taken by States to minimize the risk that a civilian might activate the anti-handling device of an anti-vehicle mine by accidentally disturbing it; and
  • identify best practices as regards the design and use of anti-handling and fusing mechanisms for anti-vehicle mines.

In May 2001, the ICRC submitted to the Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention a summary report of the meeting, highlighting the discussions and proposals made. The Standing Committee welcomed the identification by participants at the Expert Meeting of possible best practices regarding the design and use of certain fusing mechanisms on anti-vehicle mines, as indicated in the summary report.

The ICRC remains concerned with this issue and will continue to work with States and participants in the Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention to resolve it.

ICRC prosthetic/orthotic programmes: production statistics for 2000

 

Countries
First-time patients prosthetics
Prostheses*
Prostheses for mine victims
First-time patients orthotics

Orthoses*

Crutches
Wheel- chairs
Afghanistan
1,926
4,600
3,403
3,607
6,360
10,681
865
Angola
1,187
2,366
1,905
13
24
3,184
0
Azerbaijan
150
477
103
23
51
358
0
Cambodia
577
1,295
1,226
284
480
4,508
0
Ethiopia
538
1,252
617
662
1,100
1,051
73
Georgia
238
558
147
320
714
470
0
Iraq
1,994
2,807
1,487
962
1,446
0
0
Kenya
129
348
76
101
160
845
0
Myanmar
906
907
536
0
0
0
0
D.R.Congo
229
245
10
21
19
91
0
Sri Lanka
35
207
121
15
19
66
48
Sudan
402
767
134
352
513
1,067
0
Tadjikistan
361
397
38
0
0
273
6
Uganda
202
217
79
93
119
0
0

Totals

8,874

16,442

9,882

6,475

11,005

22,594

992

* Including first-time patients

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[2]As at 1 June 2001, 116 States were party to the Ottawa treaty.
[3]Amended Protocol II is part of the 1980 UN Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminatory Effects, and is more formally known as the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices.
[4]As at 31 December 2000, some 20 States had adopted national legislative measures to impose penal sanctions and respect for its provisions.
[5]In addition, ICRC mine awareness activities were conducted jointly with Halo Trust in Georgia.