Landmine Monitor 2001

Asia-Pacific

Mine Ban Policy

Fifteen of the thirty-nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. In this reporting period (since May 2000), four nations became States Parties. Bangladesh and Maldives ratified, on 6 and 7 September respectively, becoming the first countries in South Asia to do so. Nauru acceded on 7 August and Kiribati acceded on 7 September. Other States Parties in the region include: Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Niue, the Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Thailand.

Another five countries have signed, but not yet ratified the treaty: Brunei, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu. Cook Islands reported that it is in the process of completing the domestic process necessary for ratification.

Nineteen states remain outside the Mine Ban Treaty, the largest number of non-signatories in any region of the world. This group includes some major antipersonnel mine producers and stockpilers, such as China, India and Pakistan, and some highly mine-affected countries such as Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Of the 15 States Parties, five have enacted domestic implementing legislation. In Malaysia implementing legislation entered into force in June 2000; Australia, Cambodia, Japan, and New Zealand had enacted implementing legislation in previous years. Bangladesh and Kiribati reported that steps to enact legislation are underway. The Philippines is expected to draft domestic implementing legislation later in 2001.

Eight States Parties have submitted their initial Article 7 transparency measures report (Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Niue, and Thailand); all but Fiji, Malaysia, and Niue submitted annual updates. The Philippines submitted a very brief report that did not meet all of the reporting requirements detailed in Article 7. Samoa and Solomon Islands have not submitted their initial reports due in August 1999 and December 1999, respectively. Initial Article 7 reports are due on 28 August 2001 from Bangladesh, Kiribati and Maldives, and on 31 July 2001 from Nauru.

Sixteen countries in the region attended the Second Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2001, including seven non-signatories: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Since then, Japan has served as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance, Malaysia as co-chair of the SC on Stockpile Destruction, Australia as co-rapporteur of the SC on Stockpile Destruction and Thailand as co-rapporteur of the SC on General Status and Operation of the Convention.

Twenty-three states from the region voted in favor of the pro-Mine Ban Treaty UN General Assembly Resolution 55/33V in November 2000, including non-signatories Bhutan, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Tonga. Among the 22 countries abstaining, eight were from the Asia-Pacific: China, India, Marshall Islands (a treaty signatory), Micronesia, Burma, Pakistan, North Korea and Vietnam. Other countries from the region were either absent or unable to vote.

Use

Antipersonnel landmines have continued to be used in six conflicts during the reporting period. Government forces and at least eleven ethnic groups in Burma (Myanmar) continue to lay landmines. Bangladesh and Thailand have accused Myanmar forces of laying mines illegally across their borders. In Nepal, there are now serious indicators that government police forces are using antipersonnel mines against Maoist rebels; the rebels are increasingly using homemade mines. In Sri Lanka, both the government forces and rebel LTTE are using antipersonnel mines in the on-going conflict. In the Philippines, three rebels groups (Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyat and the New People’s Army) used antipersonnel mines or improvised explosive devices. The opposition Northern Alliance in Afghanistan continued to use antipersonnel mines. Militants in Kashmir repeatedly use improvised explosive devices, which function as antipersonnel landmines. In addition to these six conflicts, since March 2001 it appears that rebels in Aceh, Indonesia, have used homemade mines to target vehicles.

Production and Transfer

Eight of the 14 current producers globally are from the Asia-Pacific region: Burma (Myanmar), China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Singapore and Vietnam.

Pursuant to their obligations under CCW Amended Protocol II, India and Pakistan stated that they ceased the production of non-detectable mines on 1 January 1997. It appears Pakistan is engaged in new production of both hand-emplaced detectable mines and remotely delivered mines that meet CCW Amended Protocol II standards. India has designed for production a detectable version of its hand-emplaced, non-metallic M14 mine.

The South Korean Ministry of Defense reported that 7,000 KM18A1 Claymore-type mines were produced in 2000. Singapore has confirmed that it continues to produce antipersonnel mines. Australia revealed that it produced antipersonnel mines in the past, but stopped production in the early 1980s.

Rebels groups and non-state actors are believed to produce homemade antipersonnel mines in Burma, Kashmir, Nepal, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

There was no evidence of any antipersonnel mine exports or imports in the Asia/Pacific region. India, Pakistan and Singapore have a moratorium in place. China has a moratorium on the export of antipersonnel mines that are incompatible with CCW Amended Protocol II. Vietnam made a declaratory statement that it has never exported and will never export mines.

Stockpiling and Destruction

Some of the biggest mine stockpiles globally are in the Asia-Pacific region: China (110 million), Pakistan (6 million), India (4-5 million) and the Republic of Korea (2 million). Other countries holding stockpiles include non-signatories Burma (Myanmar), North Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam; signatories Brunei and Indonesia; and States Parties Bangladesh, Japan and Thailand.

Malaysia destroyed its entire stockpile of 94,721 mines in January 2001 and decided not to retain any live antipersonnel mines for training and development purposes. Japan had destroyed 223,508 antipersonnel mines as of the end of February 2001. Thailand destroyed an additional 69,346 antipersonnel mines since January 2001. Australia destroyed an additional 6,460 antipersonnel mines that were “inadvertently omitted” from a previous inventory. Australia has decreased the number of mines retained from 10,000 to 7,845. Thailand will retain 5,000 antipersonnel mines instead of 15,600.

Landmine Problem

In the region, sixteen countries and Taiwan are mine- and UXO-affected. In Afghanistan, the total contaminated land is estimated at 724 million square meters. Cambodia is estimated to have 3,600 mined areas. In Laos, 15 out of 18 provinces are affected by UXO and landmines. The Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines reports that 37 districts are mine-affected, including eight highly affected. In Sri Lanka, the northern and eastern regions are severely affected; the escalation of the conflict is likely to have significantly increased the amount of contaminated land.

In Thailand, a national Landmine Impact Survey was completed, indicating that 27 provinces with total population of 503,682 were mine-contaminated. Most affected communities are located along the Cambodian border. Landmine Impact Surveys are underway in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Mine Action Funding

The major mine action donors from the region are Japan and Australia. In 2000, Japan provided US$11.9 million for mine action, a decrease from the previous year. After three years, Japan has contributed about 41% of its five-year 10 billion yen target for mine action. Australia committed or spent approximately US$6.8 million (A$12.9 million) in the 2000/2001 fiscal year, an increase from A$11.9 million in fiscal 1999/2000.

In 2000, mine action funding totaled about US$25.2 million in Cambodia, $17 million in Afghanistan, and $8.6 million in Laos. Funding problems in 2000 caused temporary suspension of most clearance operations in Cambodia and lay-offs of some clearance teams in Afghanistan.

Mine Clearance

In Cambodia, 32 million square meters were cleared in 2000. A total 23,469 landmines and 61,589 UXO were destroyed. A new regulatory authority, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority was established. In Afghanistan, mine clearance organizations cleared more than 24 million square meters of mined area and about 80 million square meters of former battle areas. A total of 13,542 antipersonnel mines, 636 antitank mines, and 298,828 UXO were destroyed during these clearance operations.

A total of 7.4 million square meters of land were cleared in Laos, including 80,538 explosive war remnants and 751 landmines. In Vietnam, the government has carried out clearance activity related to construction of the new Ho Chi Minh national highway, and clearance by non-governmental organizations has expanded. In Thailand, between July 2000-June 2001, the total number of mines/UXO removed was 934 mines, and 1,269 UXO. In South Korea, from June 2000 to February 2001, the army cleared 5,900 landmines. North Korea and South Korea agreed to build a transportation linkage across the Demilitarized Zone, requiring extensive mine clearance, but in March 2001 the program was suspended.

Mine Awareness

Mine awareness programs have continued in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Laos, and Sri Lanka, and smaller scale activities have been conducted in Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In Afghanistan, more than one million civilians reportedly received mine awareness education in various parts of the country. In 2000, the Cambodia Mine Action Center had 12 mine awareness teams that provided 1,305 courses in 903 villages. A total of 627,244 people were reached. In Pakistan the NGO Human Survival and Development launched the first mine awareness program in August 2000; as of December 2000, it had reached 24,076 people in about 147 villages of the Bajaur Agency.

Mine/UXO Casualties

Casualties were recorded in 16 countries in the Asia-Pacific: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Landmine casualties continued to decline in Afghanistan and Cambodia. In Afghanistan, an average of 88 casualties per month were recorded in 2000, compared to 130 per month in 1999. In Cambodia, 802 casualties were recorded in 2000, a decrease of 24% from the previous year.

In India, officials reported 844 civilian casualties to mines and IEDs in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2000. In Laos, 103 mine/UXO casualties were recorded. In 2000, the Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines collected data on 182 mine and IED casualties. In Thailand, the Landmine Impact Survey identified 350 casualties over the previous 24 months. There were significant mine casualties in Burma (Myanmar), Sri Lanka, and Vietnam as well, but concrete statistics are not available.

Survivor Assistance

Little has changed in the reported provision of services sinceLandmine Monitor Report 2000.In seven out of sixteen countries reporting casualties survivor assistance was described as inadequate. Twelve countries reported services in Physical Rehabilitation and Prosthetics while only six reported socio-economic and psychological support services. Pre-hospital care remains problematic in the region with many victims dying before reaching medical assistance. NGOs continue to play an important role in the delivery of services in all the countries reporting casualties.

In Cambodia, the Disability Action Council, together with affiliated members and relevant government ministries, issued the Cambodian Plan of Action, which provides an orientation strategy for the disability and rehabilitation sector. In Afghanistan, due to a budget shortfall in 2000, UNOPS/CDAP had to reduce its community rehabilitation program from 64 to 46 districts. China reported for the first time on Rehabilitation and Relief of Civilians Accidentally Injured by Landmines.