The achievement of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and On Their Destruction(1) has been hailed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as "a landmark step in the history of disarmament" and "a historic victory for the weak and vulnerable of our world."(2) Developed and negotiated in just one year's time, signed by 122 nations in Ottawa, Canada in December 1997, it has been considered a remarkable achievement by most all observers. Yet those most closely involved, both outside and inside of government, were quick to point out that the work had just begun -- mammoth tasks lay ahead, including rapid ratification by states to ensure early entry-into-force (befitting a global crisis) and universalization of the treaty (bringing recalcitrant states on board), as well as the most daunting undertakings of destroying the tens of millions of mines already in the ground, and providing adequate assistance to landmine survivors and mine-affected communities.
More than a year later, it is clear that very substantial progress is being made. The world is embracing the new, emerging international norm against the antipersonnel mine (APM). This introductory section to the first Landmine Monitor Report will give an overview of the status of universalization and ratification efforts, then look at progress on the three pillars of the ban movement: Banning Antipersonnel Mines (use, production, transfer, and stockpiling); Humanitarian Mine Action; and Survivor Assistance.
One hundred and thirty-five countries have signed or acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty as of 31 March 1999, including 13 since the Ottawa signing conference on 3-4 December 1997. Those 13 are: Zambia, Belize, São Tomé and Principe, Bangladesh, Chad, Sierra Leone, Jordan, Albania, Macedonia (which acceded), Equatorial Guinea (which acceded), Maldives, Ukraine, and Lithuania. Considering the time that this issue has been before the international community, this number of signatories is exceptional. Bangladesh was the first South Asian nation to sign, Jordan the third Middle East nation, and Ukraine the second former Soviet republic. Ukraine has the world's fifth largest stockpile of antipersonnel mines.
Every country in the Western Hemisphere has signed except the US and Cuba, every member of the European Union except Finland, every member of NATO except the US and Turkey, 40 of the 48 countries in Africa, and key Asian nations such as Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Heavily mine-affected states have signed, including Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bosnia, and Croatia. Major past producers and exporters have signed, including Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
Still, some fifty countries have not yet signed the treaty. This includes three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, Russia, and China. It includes most of the Middle East, most of the former Soviet republics, and many Asian nations. Major producers such the US, Russia, China, India and Pakistan are not part of the treaty. Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Eritrea are the most heavily mine affected countries that have not signed. For the first two, however, there is no internationally recognized government capable of signing.
Yet, virtually all of the non-signatories have endorsed the notion of a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines at some point in time, and many have already at least partially embraced the Mine Ban Treaty. The United States reversed policy and announced in May 1998 that it would sign the treaty -- but only in 2006 and only if it is successful in developing alternatives to APMs. Russia has stated its "willingness to accede to this instrument in the foreseeable future." China said in 1998 that it supports "the ultimate objective of comprehensive prohibition" of antipersonnel mines. Likewise, India said in 1998 that it "remains committed to the goal of the eventual elimination of landmines."
Ratification(3) / Entry into Force
Seventy-one nations have ratified the Mine Ban Treaty as of 31 March 1999 -- more than half the signatories. Article 17 provides that the treaty shall enter into force on the first day of the sixth month after the 40th instrument of ratification has been officially deposited. Burkina Faso became number forty on 16 September 1998, triggering an entry into force date of 1 March 1999. This is believed to be the fastest entry into force of any major treaty ever. The exceptional pace of ratification has been due largely to the First Forty campaign of the ICBL (described below) and dedicated efforts by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNICEF, and governments such as Canada and Norway.
Regionally, 17 of 40 signatories in Africa have ratified; 19 of 33 in the Americas; 8 of 18 in Asia/Pacific; 24 of 39 in Europe/Central Asia; and, 3 of 5 in Middle East/North Africa.
Statements and actions on the part of several signatory countries have raised the possibility that these nations are not committed to ratifying the treaty in the near future. Among them are: Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Rwanda, Sudan; Colombia; Bangladesh, Brunei; Greece, Lithuania, and Poland. (See individual country studies).
The Mine Ban Treaty is now binding international law. For the first forty nations that ratified, they are now required to report to the Secretary-General on their implementation measures by 27 August 1999 (Article 7), to destroy their stockpiled mines by 1 March 2003 (Article 4), and to destroy mines in the ground in territory under their jurisdiction and control by 1 March 2009 (Article 5).
For those who were not among the first forty ratifiers, the treaty enters into force on the first day of the sixth month after the date on which that State deposited its instrument of ratification. That State is then required to make its implementation report within 180 days, destroy stockpiled mines within four years, and destroy mines in the ground within 10 years.
BANNING ANTIPERSONNEL MINES
Global Use of Antipersonnel Mines
Article 1. General Obligations. 1. Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances: (a) To use anti-personnel mines;.... (c)To assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.
The most disturbing finding of this first Landmine Monitor Report is that at least three treaty signatories, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal, apparently used antipersonnel mines in 1998, after signing the treaty. (See below, and see Country Reports).
The current global landmine crisis is largely the result of the huge increase in the number of mines laid in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. U.S. government mine experts in 1993 estimated that more than 65 million antipersonnel landmines were emplaced in the previous fifteen years, an average of more than four million per year.(4) In the mid-1990s, the United Nations and the US government estimated that some 2.5 million mines per year were being planted, while only 80,000 per year were being removed through mine clearance.(5) The notion that mines were being laid at a much greater rate than being removed was one that few disputed.
Today, that notion apparently no longer holds true. In its 1998 Hidden Killers report, the U.S. State Department said, "Landmines are not being planted at as high a rate as estimated in 1994, certainly well below 2.5 million each year. By most expert assessments, more landmines are in fact being taken out of the ground than are being planted."(6) The US did not provide estimates of numbers laid or removed, but it appears that we have turned the tide in the battle against mines, and that it is possible to solve the AP mine crisis in years not decades.
As the country reports in this Landmine Monitor Report attest, nowhere in the world in 1998 and early 1999 were mines being laid on a very large scale and sustained basis. This is arguably attributable mainly to the global movement to ban the weapon and the stigmatization of its use. It is not a reflection of a decrease in global warfare, or of the development of a new weapon system to replace the APM in the arsenals of governments or guerrilla groups.
It seems certain, however, that at least three treaty signatories, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal, used antipersonnel mines in 1998, after signing the treaty. (See country studies for details). Angola continues to use them to this day. While the ICBL condemns any use of AP mines, it is particularly appalled at these governments' disregard for their international commitments. Though Angola and Guinea-Bissau have not ratified the treaty, and it had not yet entered into force for Senegal,(7) the use of mines by a signatory can be judged a breach of its international obligations. Under Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, "a state is obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the purpose of a treaty when...it has signed the treaty." Clearly, new use of mines defeats the purpose of the treaty. In the complicated conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, there have been allegations of other signatories and ratifiers using mines since December 1997, but none are confirmed, and all are denied by the accused governments: Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Though Landmine Monitor is still gathering and assessing information, it appears likely that during the period December 1997 to March 1999, there was new use of antipersonnel mines in the following:
Angola: government and rebels
Guinea-Bissau: government, rebels, Senegalese forces
Somalia: various factions
Colombia: various rebel groups
Afghanistan: opposition forces
Burma: government and various rebel groups
Sri Lanka: government and rebels
Georgia: partisans (in Abkhazia)
Turkey: government and rebels
FR Yugoslavia: government and rebels
Middle East/North Africa
Lebanon: Israel and non-state actors in occupied south Lebanon
There have also been frequent allegations of new mine use in this period in: (1) Democratic Republic of Congo by government, rebels, and foreign armies (Angola, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe); (2) Eritrea by government forces; (3) Sudan by government and rebels; (4) Afghanistan by Taliban; (5) Georgia by Abkhazian partisans; and (6) Tajikistan by rebels.
Global Production of Antipersonnel Mines
Article 1. General Obligations. 1. Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances: (b) To develop, produce, otherwise acquire...anti-personnel mines; (c)To assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.
Landmine Monitor research did not uncover any evidence of new production of antipersonnel mines by treaty signatories. Treaty signatories Albania and Colombia were for the first time identified as producers, but both have stopped the manufacture of APMs.
In 1993 Human Rights Watch reported that, according to U.S. government estimates, global production of AP mines totaled at least 190 million antipersonnel mines for the twenty-five year period from 1968-1993, with the average declining to about five million per year in 1988-1993.(8) While it is impossible to even estimate the number of mines produced in any one year, it seems certain that in recent years global production does not begin to approach five million APMs per year.
The number of APM producers has dropped dramatically, from 54 to 16. The 38 who have stopped production include a majority of the big producers in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s -- those who bear much of the responsibility for the tens of millions of mines now in the ground. Eight of the twelve biggest producers and exporters over the past thirty years have signed the treaty and stopped production: Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom.(9) Other significant producers that have signed include Germany, Croatia, Chile, and Brazil.
Two non-signatories have stopped production: Israel (apparently in 1997) and Finland (in 1981). Of the 36 former producers who have signed the Mine Ban Treaty, seventeen had no production restrictions in place, even in terms of policy declarations, prior to signing the treaty.
Of the 16 who are still producers, eight are in Asia (Burma, China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Singapore, and Vietnam), three are in Europe (Russia, Turkey, FR Yugoslavia), three are in the Middle East (Egypt, Iran, Iraq), two are in the Americas (Cuba, US), and none are in Africa.
Several of the 16 producers have not actually manufactured AP mines in a number of years. They are still considered producers because they have refused to institute moratoria or make formal statements against production. The United States for example has not produced for two years, and Singapore is not thought to have produced for several years.
Also notable is that Russia in 1998 banned production of "blast" mines -- the most common type of mine that explodes from pressure. This would include the PMN mine, which, along with the Chinese Type 72, is the most frequently encountered mine around the world. The US has stopped production of all so-called dumb mines. As a result of the new restrictions in Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), production of non-detectable mines by CCW states parties is stopping, which would include the Type 72 by China.
According to the information provided to Landmine Monitor researchers, none of the former Soviet republics, except Russia, are producing antipersonnel mines. It has been reported that Ukraine and Belarus and perhaps other republics inherited and utilized AP mine production facilities from the Soviet Union, but they all deny any new production since gaining independence.
Even though production has stopped in many countries, Landmine Monitor researchers could find little evidence that nations are engaging in "programmes for the conversion or de-commissioning of anti-personnel mine production facilities," as called for in the Mine Ban Treaty.
Global Trade in Antipersonnel Mines
Article 1. General Obligations. 1. Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances: (b) To...otherwise acquire,...or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, anti-personnel mines; (c) To assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.
Article 3. Exceptions. 1. Notwithstanding the general obligations under Article 1, the retention or transfer of a number of anti-personnel mines for the development of and training in mine detection, mine clearance, or mine destruction techniques is permitted....
2. The transfer of anti-personnel mines for the purpose of destruction is permitted.
Landmine Monitor research did not find evidence of antipersonnel mine exports or imports by treaty signatories, though some allegations have been made.
When the world began to turn its attention to the landmine crisis in earnest, the export of mines was readily identified as one of the fundamental underlying problems contributing to the crisis. With few exceptions (most notably the former Yugoslavia), the nations most affected by antipersonnel mines were not themselves producers. All of the mines had been supplied from the outside. This was true of Cambodia, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Angola, and more. Though in some of these cases the problem was not so much the export/import of mines as the use of mines by foreign forces, the international community quickly coalesced around the notion that halting the export of mines would be a major step forward in checking the landmine crisis. Thus, the first significant steps in the movement to ban mines, both on the national and international levels, dealt with export, notably the US export moratorium in 1992 (soon followed by France and others) and the United Nations call for formal export moratoria (UNGA Resolution 48/75 K of 16 December 1993).
Based on the information collected for Landmine Monitor, there are 34 nations that have exported antipersonnel landmines in the past. Today, all of those nations with the exception of Iraq have at the least made a formal statement that they are no longer exporting. Twenty-two have signed the treaty and thus stopped exporting (though many had unilateral restrictions in place prior to signing). Among non-signatories, one has an export ban in place (USA), four have a moratorium in place (Israel, Pakistan, Singapore and Russia), and six have made declaratory statements that they no longer export (China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Vietnam, FR Yugoslavia).(10) It is possible, of course, that some of these nations continue to export APMs despite their public policy pronouncements.
Landmine Monitor researchers have not identified a single significant shipment of antipersonnel mines from one nation to another in 1998 and early 1999. This does not mean that no AP mines have been transferred; there are great difficulties in tracking mine trade. But the findings (or lack thereof) are consistent with the observations of military specialists that in fact there have been no major mine shipments of APMs dating back some 4 years. A de facto global ban on export already seems to be in place; a norm against APM supply seems to already have taken hold. The days when a country like Italy would ship millions of mines to Iraq over the course of just a few years appear to be over.
Thus, when critics say that the Mine Ban Treaty does not include major mine exporters, they are wrong on two counts: there are no major exporters today, and most of the major exporters of the past have signed the treaty.
In 1998 and again in 1999 some nations are attempting to get agreement to begin negotiations on an antipersonnel mine transfer ban in the Conference on Disarmament. In 1998 Australian Ambassador John Campbell was appointed Special Coordinator to examine the possibility of the CD taking up a mine transfer ban. He could not find a consensus. Another attempt is being made in 1999. In February, twenty-two nations made a joint call for the CD to re-appoint a Special Coordinator, "with a view to the early establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee" to negotiate a mine transfer ban.(11) The 22 were: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela. The ICBL has expressed its strong opposition to such negotiations in the CD, believing that the potential negative impact far outweighs the potential benefits. Foremost, the ICBL has argued that a proliferation of international legal instruments on AP mines, particularly limited ones, undercuts the establishment of an international norm against any possession or use of AP mines. An ICBL position paper on this issue is available.(12)
Global Stockpiles of Antipersonnel Mines
Article 1. General Obligations. 1. Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances:(b) To...acquire, stockpile, retain...anti-personnel mines; (c)To assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.
Article 4. Destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines. Except as provided for in Article 3, each State Party undertakes to destroy or ensure the destruction of all stockpiled anti-personnel mines it owns or possesses, or that are under its jurisdiction or control, as soon as possible but not later than four years after the entry into force of this Convention for that State Party.
In the past year, a good deal has been written about early over-estimates of the number of mines planted in the ground globally. (See below) Lost in that discussion is a fact that emerges from Landmine Monitor research: the common estimate of the number of antipersonnel mines stockpiled by nations (100 million) appears to be dramatically low.
Landmine Monitor estimates that there are more than 250 million antipersonnel mines stored in the arsenals of 108 countries. These mines must be destroyed before they have a chance to get into the ground. The ICBL calls for a major effort to eradicate APM stockpiles, as well as those already planted -- to engage in preventive mine action.
The largest stockpiles are held by China (110 million), Russia (60-70 million), Belarus (unknown, but likely tens of millions), US (11 million), Ukraine (10 million), Italy (7 million) and India (4-5 million). Landmine Monitor research indicates that the biggest current stockpiles of treaty signatories belong to Ukraine, Italy, Sweden, Albania, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Greece. Italy, Sweden, UK, France, Spain, and Ukraine are in the process of destroying their mines. Japan is in the planning process. Albania and Greece -- neither of which has ratified the treaty -- are not known to have any plans for destruction.
Landmine Monitor research shows that more than 12 million antipersonnel mines have been destroyed in recent years.
Eleven treaty signatories have already completed destruction of stocks: Austria, Canada, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Namibia, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, and Switzerland. (Note: many of these are keeping a small number of mines for training, as permitted under the treaty).
Another nineteen signatories are already in the process of destruction: Belgium, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Mali, Moldova, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Yemen, Uganda, Uruguay, Ukraine, United Kingdom. Other signatories and ratifiers are in the planning process.
In addition, several non-signatories have recently destroyed significant numbers of AP mines. Perhaps most notably, the United States has destroyed 3.3 million AP mines as part of its commitment to eliminate use of dumb mines everywhere but Korea. Russia has destroyed 500,000 mines that were not compliant with new CCW requirements.
It appears that the vast majority of treaty signatories that have (or had) stockpiles of mines are opting to exercise the Article 3 exception that permits retention of mines for training purposes. While many nations have not yet revealed the number of AP mines to be retained, it appears many intend to keep between 1,000-5,000. Several intend to keep more: Belgium 6,240; Slovenia 7,000; Italy 8,000; Spain 10,000; Japan 15,000. During the Oslo negotiations, it was established for the diplomatic record that the number of mines retained for training should be in the hundreds or thousands, not tens of thousands.(13) The ICBL has repeatedly questioned the need for live mines for training.
HUMANITARIAN MINE ACTION
Non-governmental organizations and the United Nations have been involved in mine clearance since the late 1980s, emerging over the last decade as key actors in efforts to reduce the threat landmines pose to innocent civilians throughout the word. This has led to a new concept: humanitarian mine action, which is an integrated approach to removing landmines from the ground and reducing their disastrous impact on mine-affected communities. Nobody knows how many mines there are in the ground, and that number is not very relevant, despite the attention given to the issue. What is relevant is how many people are affected by the presence of mines, which are obstacles to post-conflict reconstruction and socio-economic re-development.
The Mine Ban Treaty and Mine Action
The Mine Ban Treaty is more than simply a ban on antipersonnel landmines. It obligates each state party to clear all mined areas within its jurisdiction or control within a ten-year period. A mined area is defined as "an area which is dangerous due to the presence or the suspected presence of mines." This definition includes areas which are suspected of being mined. This is an important provision, because the mere suspicion that an area is mined can often have the same effect as if it actually were mined, rendering it useless. Recognizing that it is likely not possible to clear the worst affected areas within this period, the treaty contains a provision that parties may apply for an extension of up to ten years, and renewals if necessary.
Article 6 on International Cooperation and Assistance states the right of each party to seek and receive assistance to the extent possible. It obligates states parties to share and exchange knowledge, equipment and technology, and those with the means to do so, are called upon to provide assistance for mine clearance and other mine action programs. This article implies a responsibility of the international community to provide funding and support for mine action programs in mine-affected countries with limited resources. The implementation of Article 6 will thus be crucial for the success of the Mine Ban Treaty, as it is through this mechanism that funds for Mine Action will be secured.
By providing an action-oriented, scheduled, legal framework for international co-operation on Mine Action, the Mine Ban Treaty represents a breakthrough in the struggle against landmines. Apart from the many obvious operational challenges that remain in removing the mines from the ground, the implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty is the main challenge for the mine action community in the coming years. From a mine-action-perspective, implementation and follow-up to the Treaty present an opportunity to bring the landmine crisis under control during the next decade, a major step towards the realization of a mine-free world.
At the same time, implicit in the challenge is the pull between providing humanitarian assistance while at the same time supporting the Treaty. When governments violate their Treaty obligations, what impact - morally if not legally - does this violation have in regard to Article 6? Does the international community provide mine action assistance, in effect sanctioning the violation of the Treaty, or does it withhold Article 6 assistance from treaty violators and thus penalize the civilian population? Obviously, this is a dilemma the international community must address.
The Numbers Issue
Landmines are a global problem, but the exact magnitude of the problem is difficult to measure. Nobody knows how many mines are in the ground, nor how many people are mine-affected, nor how large the areas are that could be considered "mine infested." At the same time, there has been a misconception that baseline data on the scope, impact and size of the problem is available to develop rational, concerted demining efforts. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Over the last four decades, large numbers of mines have been used in various conflicts in much of the world. The majority of these mines were randomly laid, with limited tactical rationale, and often deployed simply to terrorize and demoralize local populations. In such circumstances, mines can be found everywhere; in fields, in urban areas, along rivers, in orchards, surrounding villages and on transport routes. Contrary to common belief, mines are as often as not found in no predictable patterns, minefield maps are mostly non-existent or too old or inaccurate to use, and local awareness of the location of minefields is often poor.
This knowledge gap has resulted in debate over the number of landmines in the ground, with estimates varying from 60 million to 200 million mines. These numbers, in official government and United Nations documents, were an early attempt to try to put contours on a situation many were just beginning to grapple with. These "facts" repeated and reprinted became "reality," but now the international community is making a concerted effort to collect more accurate information to reshape the picture.
From the perspective of mine action, the actual number of mines in the ground is not as important as, for example, the number minefields and size and type of areas affected, and the number of people affected. In this context, debate over the number of mines in the ground is not all that relevant to the demining task at hand. At the same time, some concept of a total figure is important to give contours to the problem, and therefore, is useful to address. What is certain is that nobody knows an exact number of mines in the ground, and that uncertainty is actually a part of the problem.
A point of departure for any analysis of the number of mines in the ground is to recognize that the numbers will never be anything but estimates. With the expansion of mine action programs in mine affected areas around the world, along with more comprehensive survey methods, it is likely that these estimates will become more accurate over time. Until now the best working estimate can be found in the U.S. State Department's 1998 report, Hidden Killers.(14) Case studies of 12 heavily affected countries, and updated information, led to a revised estimate of number of mines in the ground for each of the 12 countries (both a high and low estimate). From that number, a percentage was calculated to show the difference between the UN estimates and those in Hidden Killers. This formula gives a low estimate of approximately 59.7 million mines and a high estimate of approximately 69.4 million mines in the ground.(15)
These estimates represent a striking downward estimate of the global landmine contamination, from 80-110 million to about 60-70 million. One reason for this is more knowledge about the situation in the field, leading to reduced numbers. For example, the estimated number of mines in Kuwait after the Gulf War was approximately 7 million mines. In late 1995, after the termination of the major mine clearance programs, the total turned out to be 1.7 million mines.(16) Egypt has been presented as the most heavily mine infested country in the world, with an estimated 23 million mines. A survey undertaken indicated that apparently all munitions in Egypt had been designated as "mines." Further analysis of historical records showed that it was possible that around 1.5 million mines had been laid in Egypt's Western Desert, where the survey was conducted, with another estimated half million mines along Egypt's eastern borders. This gives a more conservative estimate of about 2 million, not 23 million, mines in Egyptian soil. The accuracy of either assessment cannot be confirmed, but the difference is striking.(17)
Numbers and the Real Impact
As discussed above, the actual number of mines in the ground does not necessarily determine the impact on a population. A far more important question is the number of people affected by the landmine threat in their daily lives. For most people living in mine affected areas, the mere suspicion that an area is mined can render it useless. In 1996 Norwegian People's Aid cleared a village in Mozambique, after it had been abandoned by the entire population of around 10,000 villagers due to alleged mine infestation. After three months of work, the deminers found four mines. Four mines had denied access to land and caused the migration of 10,000 people
The lives directly affected is also a horrific measure. The Landmine Monitor country reports indicate a decrease in the number of landmine victims in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia, Croatia, Eritrea, Mozambique and Somaliland over the past years. However, it is too early and data is too inconclusive to conclude that this decrease represents a global trend.
Focusing on mines alone is also an inaccurate indicator because this excludes unexploded ordnance (UXOs). Unexploded munitions, grenades and bombs often are an even larger problem than mines in areas where heavy and continuous fighting has occurred. Probably as many as 10 per cent of explosives used in armed conflicts do not explode, and these UXOs must be handled like mines, complicating the demining process. Demining agencies normally encounter a larger number of UXOs than mines in mine clearance operations and if these weapons were to be included with mines in global estimates, the level of global contamination would be hard to contemplate.
As for land denied by the presence of landmines, because of insufficient surveys of mined areas, there are no global estimates. Based on a recent, comprehensive survey in Afghanistan by the non-governmental organization Mine Clearance Planning Agency, there are around 860 square kilometers of mined areas affecting more than 1,500 villages. Of these mined areas 465 square kilometers have been classified as areas of high priority for clearance. These figures may or may not be exemplary of other mine affected areas. Clearly, surveys comparable to those in Afghanistan must be carried out in other heavily contaminated countries. But an equally more important question is how many people are affected in their daily lives by these mined areas?
Humanitarian Mine Action: Features And Principles
Humanitarian mine action is a comprehensive, structured approach to deal with mine and UXO contamination, including survey assessment, mine clearance, mine awareness, and victim assistance. These activities are carried out to reduce the threat posed by landmines to individuals and communities in mine infested areas, as well as to assist mine victims. Humanitarian mine action should work to create indigenous capacity in mine affected communities, because it is part of their long-term development.
Mine action includes four complementary parts: Different levels of survey, assessments and marking; mine clearance; mine awareness; and victim assistance. These four parts are complementary, but together they constitute both the necessary and sufficient requirements for a successful mine action strategy. A mine action project cycle can be divided into three phases, and all three must be fulfilled to ensure that the overall objectives of the programs are reached. These phases are: Pre-mine-clearance--identifying beneficiaries and clarifying all legal and entitlement aspects; mine clearance which starts after all issues in the first phase are resolved; and finally the post-mine clearance phase to ensure that the initial objectives of the project have been reached.
Mines represent a fundamental obstacle to the development of war torn societies and must be understood in a larger developmental context. In any humanitarian mine clearance operation, questions must be asked such as: What areas should be prioritized in order to help war torn societies on their road to sustainable development? Who will benefit from the mine clearance? What will happen to the cleared areas after demining is completed? For NGOs working in humanitarian mine action, the activities involved are not just about getting the mines out of the ground, but about doing so in a manner which facilitates post-conflict socio-economic development.
Three NGOs -- Handicap International, Mines Advisory Group and Norwegian People's Aid -- represent a substantial part of the world's humanitarian demining capacity. These agencies currently employ around 4,000 local experts in mine survey, mine marking, mine clearance and mine risk education programs in 20 heavily affected countries. Together the agencies have formulated a joint statement of principles to guide further work and development of methods related to humanitarian mine action. These principles include the following:
- the need for objective analysis of the requirements of affected communities, and the structuring and conduct of operations to meet these requirements;
- the need to take account of cultural sensitivities;
a need for a responsible approach to the welfare of personnel employed by these agencies involved in mine action;
- a commitment to the continued development of existing methods and to continued improvement of quality;
- a realistic and objective approach to new mine clearance technologies and methods;
- the need to avoid impractical, "quick-fix solutions;" and
- the need to support the principle of transfer of capacity to the affected communities.(18)
In general, from the perspective of these three NGOs, these principles outline the fundamentals of humanitarian mine action. They advocate an approach which emphasizes the appropriate sequencing of assistance to the affected communities, based on the generation of solid baseline data before projects are implemented. The reality is that too often this sequence is not followed. Mine action programs that focus on emergency situations sometimes end up trying to gather basic information for preplanning long after work has already started. Ideally, baseline data should be the result of a level one survey which picks up where an assessment missions ends, and seeks to get an overview of the situation before large scale mine awareness and mine clearance activities are initiated.
Commercial Contracting And Humanitarian Mine Clearance
There is a fundamental distinction between military and humanitarian mine clearance. In principle, military units can clear mines to the same standards as humanitarian mine clearance agencies. However, as one commentator put it, mine clearance can be quick or it can be thorough - it cannot be both.(19) The United Nations international humanitarian standard clearance rate is 99.6 percent of mines cleared. The UN standard was established to facilitate commercial contracting.(20)
Humanitarian mine clearance is a relatively new approach to the problem of landmine infestation that dates from mine clearance operations in Afghanistan and in Kuwait after the Gulf War.(21) Humanitarian mine clearance is evolving with respect to the actors involved and methods and technology used, but remains characterized by its aim of clearing all the mines in a minefield. The 99.6 per cent standard is not sufficient for humanitarian deminers because it leaves four mines in the ground for every one thousand cleared. Humanitarian mine clearance therefore operates with quite different parameters than that of commercial operators and the military, with minefields cleared to humanitarian standards and with security for deminers.
In principle, commercial contractors can work to the same standards as humanitarian agencies. It is a question of priorities: commercial contractors run the risk of making the same priorities as military units, prioritizing time over clearance rate, in order to increase profit. Humanitarian mine clearance agencies acknowledge the current need for commercial contractors, because the humanitarian mine clearance capacity is still not sufficiently developed to undertake mine clearance in many heavily infested areas. Commercial contractors can undertake mine clearance missions in areas where humanitarian agencies do not have capacity to clear specific areas.
What is needed, is a better regime to control and evaluate the quality of commercial mine clearance operations. The standard for the mine action community is described in the International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance and should be adhered to by any organization or contractor involved in such clearance operations.(22) These standards do not include most of the methods used by commercial contractors, such as mechanical mine clearance and the use of dogs. Additional steps to ensure the quality of implementation include the adoption of principles similar to those of MAG, NPA, and HI as stated in UN's policy document "Mine Action and Effective Coordination."(23)
In terms of cost-effectiveness in operations, it is instructive to compare the Kuwaiti experience (the most comprehensive commercial demining operation to date) with that of Afghanistan. The cost of mine clearance in Kuwait was $961,538 per square kilometer ($700 million/728Km²). It involved 4,000 expatriate deminers, 84 of whom were killed during the operation.. Uncleared mines were found during quality assurance inspections, and now large areas are being resurveyed and may need to be recleared.(24) The Mine Action Program for Afghanistan (MAPA), currently employs around 4,000 individuals. The vast majority are local staff, which means that a considerable indigenous mine action capacity has been developed. Approximately $90.1 million has been spent for mine clearance in Afghanistan since the start of the program in 1990. Around 145 square kilometers have been cleared in this period or $621,889 per square kilometer, or $339,649 less per Km² than in Kuwait.
Funding For Humanitarian Mine Action
The issue of funding for humanitarian mine action is complex, but one thing is certain; humanitarian mine action programs are underfunded, and often funding choices do not support the long-term integrated approach needed in sustainable humanitarian mine action. Some major donors, like the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, favor private and commercial enterprises in their contracting of humanitarian projects, either for political reasons or for alleged higher cost-efficiency. Already some key mine action NGOs, like the British MAG, are reporting the possible closure of programs due to lack of funds. Others are facing obstacles created by short-term funding priorities of donors, and highly detailed requirements on the use of the funds.
Another "numbers issue" in the movement to eliminate landmines is trying to determine exactly how much money has been spent on mine action over the last decade. During the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in Ottawa in December 1997, a total figure of US$500 million was pledged by various donors for mine action. The pledges were welcome - but they also were broad and unspecified, making them hard to track. There are increasing efforts to clearly map out where funds are going, and how much has been spent, and for what specific purposes. The research for this report is one such attempt, and the ongoing Landmine Monitor process will be an important tool in the years to come. But in attempting to compile - and understand the implications of - the figures, it is very clear that more transparency and standardization of reporting is essential.
One report prepared for the UN Mine Action Support Group showing bilateral donor mine action support as of mid-November 1998 lists donor figures for countries, projects funded and amounts. The total committed adds up to roughly US$430 million for mine action, but since the entries are not time-specific, and some are aggregate figures for several fiscal years, a complete understanding of the funding picture is distorted. Additionally, descriptions of projects funded are broad and unclear and do not provide criteria for any real analysis.
A Canadian Government report notes that ten donor countries have started 98 new mine action programs in 25 countries in the past 12 months, with no more detail.(25) On their website, the UN Voluntary Trust Fund indicates that US$49 million have been pledged and spent for mine action programs for the 4-year period between 1994-1998 The U.S. reports that it alone has gone from $10 million for mine action programs in five countries in 1993 to $92 million for 21 countries in 1998; but as many of the programs are military-to-military demining training it is unclear how much of the money actually goes to lifting mines out of the ground.
In short, the picture is confusing. With no common understanding for transparent reporting on funds for mine action, it is difficult to impossible to monitor the reality of funding for mine action programs. Without transparent reporting it becomes difficult at best to measure progress. As this is an important aspect of the implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, these issues must be addressed. So that data collected can generate measurable and comparable figures, reporting of funds for mine action should be transparent. At a minimum, such reporting should specify donor country/agency, recipient country, project description, implementing agency, and funding period; reports should also indicate what percentage of the funds actually apply to in-country programs.
There has been an increase in funding for humanitarian mine action programs after the Mine Ban Treaty, more donors are involved, and more funds are provided for the continuation of already existing programs, and for initiating new projects.
However, it is clear that the current funding is still insufficient. One suggestion to increase mine action support is that countries donate one per cent of their defense budgets for mine action projects. Between 1988 and 1998, the global annual average for defense spending was U.S.$74 billion.(26) One percent of that figure would provide U.S.$740 million for mine action annually. With such a commitment, the problem could truly be resolved in years, not decades.
Technology, Research and Development, Funding and Humanitarian Mine Clearance
The technology and methodologies available today for detecting and destroying landmines do not differ much from post-W.W.II reality. Available tools make mine clearance time-consuming and by many measures "inefficient." With the heightened awareness of the mine problem, many research and development projects have begun to compete for R&D monies pledged. But the "mantra" of humanitarian mine clearers is that any new technology must make demining "safer, faster, cheaper" and currently there are a number of efforts to find the ultimate solution to the problem. To date, none of the proposed hi-tech solutions have found their way into the field, although a few are promising.
There are a number of expensive and imaginative R&D projects which have raised some concerns in the humanitarian mine clearance community as they appear to be driven by interests other than humanitarian concerns. Hi-tech projects and solutions must be evaluated based on humanitarian needs, affordability and sustainability. The wide range of terrain in which mine action takes places makes it very difficult to design equipment in a laboratory or on the basis of limited field trials. It is highly likely that these devices, when ready for the field, will only be useable as an additional asset to the existing "tool box" of manual, mechanical and mine dog detection and clearance.
Humanitarian mine clearance agencies support the development of new technologies as long as these efforts do not divert funds from the ongoing mine action efforts. There should be donor transparency concerning investments in R&D for humanitarian mine action purposes, both in terms of the amounts spent and the guiding principles for their spending. Greater effort at co-ordination is needed to avoid duplication of R&D efforts and to ensure that humanitarian end-user requirements are being considered. In fact, in order to improve the effectiveness of their efforts, the R&D community should actively seek out and listen to the advice of the end users. Above all, the main focus must be on improving current methods in tandem with efforts to further develop and enforce the principles for humanitarian demining.
Lack of baseline data
As already discussed, there is too little information on the location of dangerous areas and minefields. For the international community to respond to this crisis in a rapid and cost-effective manner, a primary objective must be to acquire solid baseline data for the planning and implementation of humanitarian mine action. The baseline is normally established through different levels of mine surveys. To date, few of the most affected countries have been adequately surveyed. There are many reasons why this important first step has not been taken. First, many of the agencies involved in humanitarian mine action were initially undertaking emergency demining for refugee repatriation and other short-term objectives. The need for surveys has emerged as operations have entered longer-term commitments. Second, as a demining activity, surveys are not as easily understood or supported by the donors, compared to the very concrete activity of removing landmines.
As the work of humanitarian mine action has developed over the last few years, the need for coordinated surveys has become clear. In 1997, a group of NGOs met in Brussels to share experiences and establish proper methods and survey formats in order to get better baseline data for mine action operations. The result of this meeting was the establishment of the Global Level 1 Survey Working Group. This NGO initiative is one of the most important recent contributions to the future efforts in mine action world wide. (See Global Landmine Survey Program report in the appendices).
Challenges For Humanitarian Mine Action
Mine action is a new field which has had to respond to emergency aid issues, issues of individual rights and the demands of long term development. Great strides have been made, yet despite much forward movement, mine action efforts have come under recent criticism. Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the resources spent in producing concrete and measurable results in the affected communities.(27) However, the lack of pre-existing data on the scope, size and impact of the problem have made it difficult to establish parameters for the measurement of the effectiveness of mine action. Considerable work remains to be done in order to create generally accepted measures of success; and efforts need to continue to explain to the international community generally, and to the donor community in particular, why mine action is a long-term commitment.
There are a number of reasons for this present shortage of the so called socio-economic indicators. One is the relative youth of co-ordinated mine action efforts and the difficulties of translating how the mine-problem really affects people and communities world-wide into "measurables." The lack of baseline data has been a major factor and trying to calculate comparable figures across countries make such determinations that much more difficult. Other reasons for the lack of result parameters can be related to the fact that involved actors so far have been reluctant to use economic variables as a measurement of success in fear of putting a price on people's lives and limbs.
Furthermore; there are significant practical problems in trying to measure effects of demining. Comparisons between various demining operations is particularly difficult. For example, two teams clearing the same amount of square meters, but working under different conditions will inevitably produce different results. For these reasons, several complementary measurements of success should be used when evaluating the effectiveness of humanitarian demining.
In the history of mine action only one study of the socio-economic impact of mine action operations has been made: the Mine Clearance Planning Agency (MCPA) study in Afghanistan from October 1998.(28) In the near future, the mine-action community must take necessary measures for producing more studies like the Afghan study. Donors will require better indicators to measure the effect of mine-action programs, linked more closely to long-term development programs. Establishing fixed variables to serve this purpose is a complex process and should involve social scientists, economists and other academics in co-operation with the mine action community. This process is crucial to maintain future donor support and -interest in humanitarian mine action. Currently there is some activity and co-operation in this field between various NGOs involved in humanitarian work.
Mine awareness involves information programs to reduce the threat of landmines to affected communities. Through various educational mechanisms that focus on changing risk behaviour, and creating knowledge of safety measures, mine awareness seeks to reduce the number of landmine victims. Mine awareness is needed in mine affected areas, prior and parallel to demining programs. In heavily mined countries, demining can take years to complete. The local population must learn how to live their daily lives in mine and UXO infested areas until the threat is removed.(29)
There are some common elements noticeable in mine affected communities throughout the world but more significant are the differences. This means that all mine awareness campaigns have some common elements, but each campaign must be adapted to local needs, culture and traditions. Fieldwork must precede development of any mine awareness campaign, in order to adapt the content and form of messages to the needs of the local population. After conducting fieldwork and gathering information about behavior and victims in a given area, mine awareness messages can be tailored to the area and target group in question. While specific content might vary, universal points in any mine awareness campaign must include knowledge of the threat; means of protecting yourself and others from the threat; and how to react if you unknowingly enter a mined area.(30)
The dominant method for mine awareness is through direct contact with affected communities. This normally means training of local trainers who visit different communities where they conduct courses in refugee camps, villages, schools or in any other place where people can be gathered to participate in training. Normally materials include dummy mines and UXOs, posters with mine awareness messages and illustrations, leaflets, brochures, photographs, audio tapes, videos. Furthermore, mine awareness messages can be incorporated in theater performances, dance or games in which the target group can actively participate. The methods to be used in a specific mine infested area must be decided after fieldwork (needs-assessment), and various approaches should normally be tested on a part of the target group before a full scale mine awareness campaign is implemented.
Although the above mentioned steps remain the core activities, access to mass media is in most cases crucial for dispersing mine awareness messages. One way of doing this is by using posters with mine awareness messages along major transportation routes or handing out mine awareness brochures or leaflets to mine affected communities. Television and radio spots can also be used with success. Mass media has the advantage of reaching out to a vast number of people, at relatively low costs, but none of the mass media approaches combined can replace direct mine awareness courses in content and output with respect to learning. Mass media can best function as a support to a community based approach.
Several indicators can be used to measure the success of a mine awareness campaign. As is the case for mine clearance, the factors involved are normally efficiency of the mine awareness campaign in the disposition of funds and how they are spent, planning, training of instructors and implementation of information strategies. Information on program implementation is often gathered and submitted as a measure of success. More critical measures should be to what extent have people changed behavior patterns as a result of mine awareness, i.e., are target groups avoiding high-risk behavior, incorporating mine awareness messages they have learned in their daily lives, fluctuations in accident and injury rates. For accuracy in monitoring and evaluation, it is important to take into account other factors which may contribute to fluctuations in casualty statistics. The movement of refugees and internally displaced persons, security initiatives, ongoing demining, and the need for people to work the land during planting or harvest seasons influence mine accident rates, as does the level of mine awareness achieved by a population regardless of the presence or absence of an awareness program. If examined carefully and objectively, casualty rates can particularly provide important evidence of the overall effectiveness of a program.
ASSISTANCE FOR LANDMINE SURVIVORS
Just as with the number of landmines in the world, the number of landmine survivors remains difficult to definitively answer. Even more daunting is trying to get a complete picture of landmine casualties. Victim profiles vary from country to country - but what is consistent is that the vast majority of mine victims are civilians.
While mine victims are not a new phenomenon, what is new is the focus on landmine victims - landmine survivors - because of the dramatic growth in awareness of the problem generated by the global movement to ban antipersonnel landmines, remove the mines from the ground, and provide assistance to victims and victimized communities all over the world.
The ban movement is helping to generate a much broader understanding of the landmine problem - and the problems of landmine survivors and mine-affected communities as a whole. The ban movement has also provided a framework for dealing with all aspects of the landmine crisis - the Mine Ban Treaty. This first Landmine Monitor Report is helping to underscore the gaps in information about the mine-affected in the world.
The Mine Ban Treaty and Victim Assistance
The ICBL pressed hard to have language related to assistance to mine victims included in the Treaty. The Preamble recognizes the desire of states parties "to do their utmost in providing assistance for the care and rehabilitation, including the social and economic reintegration of mine victims…."
Article 6 of the Treaty requires that each state party "in a position to do so shall provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration, of mine victims and for mine awareness programs." Article 6 states the right of each party to seek and receive assistance to the extent possible for victims. This article implies a responsibility of the international community to support victim assistance programs in mine-affected countries with limited resources.
Data Collection - Landmine Victims and "the Numbers Issue"
Concrete information on mine victims remains difficult to obtain. While the desire of the international community to more effectively address all the complex issues related to the landmine epidemic has resulted in increased efforts to systematically collect data on mine victims, information still is seriously lacking. At this point in time, the ICRC remains the single most complete source, having collected data since 1979 through 45 projects launched in 22 countries.(31) Since 1979, the ICRC has manufactured over 120,000 prostheses for more than 80,000 amputees. In 1997, of the 11,300 prostheses made, 7,200 were for mine victims. Still, according to the ICRC:
"There is a general lack of credible data on countries affected by mines. In places such as hospitals there may be a concentration of mine victims. However, data collected from hospitals concerns survivors of mine injuries; data concerning those killed and the impact on the victim's family must be sought from elsewhere. Most accurate data has come either from the ICRC hospitals or specific study teams who have performed epidemiological surveys in affected countries….Such specific studies are not easily funded (they are not considered as "aid") and gathering data may be a difficult and possibly dangerous task. Information may be intentionally withheld because of its political or military implications…Accurate collection of data is the first step in addressing an epidemic. This epidemic is no different."(32)
The country reports in the Landmine Monitor have pulled together a range of information on mine victims and assistance programs. This first report indicates, for example, that the number of victims is dropping in a several high-risk countries. These include: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia, Croatia, Eritrea, Mozambique and Somaliland. Certainly this is encouraging information, but the reasons for the decreases need to be analyzed. The country reports offer some possible explanations, but research is not systematic, and the explanations are often speculative or non-existent. In some cases, such as Cambodia, the decrease might be attributable to the fact that the fighting has greatly diminished as much as to anything else. In other cases, it might be in part the impact of mine awareness programs; or how demining programs have been prioritized and carried out, e.g., focusing on demining sites for relocating refugees before their return diminishes casualties. A clear understanding of why the decreases have happened is important to program planning, in particular in order to apply lessons learned to other situations and diminish the number of mine incidents.
The insistence on clear data overall is not an esoteric exercise. It has practical implications. Statistics are important for the development of assistance programs and the specificity of information gathered has an impact on the types of programs considered. For example, if a significant proportion of the mine victims of a country are children, assistance programs should be different than if the number is relatively small. Better data leads to better use of scarce resources.
At the same time, there has been concern expressed that data collection -- in particular surveys of mine survivors -- can do more harm than good if they proliferate and are not closely linked to action that is tangible to the survivor community.
Landmine Survivors: Needs and Assistance
The baseline data on mine casualties and survivors may be lacking, but the basic needs of mine victims everywhere are well known. These include:
emergency medical care
amputation surgery and post-op care
wheelchairs and crutches
assistance for non-amputee mine victims (blindness, deafness, other)
combating social stigma
returning victims to economic productivity
While the complexity of needs facing landmine survivors are known to many, the majority of resources provided for victim assistance go toward medical and physical rehabilitation. Far fewer resources support psychological rehabilitation and socio-economic reintegration despite the fact that without this support, landmine survivors too often lead isolated and unproductive lives. As one ICRC doctor reports, "The focus of rehabilitation has continued to be on the physical aspects of disability. Physical rehabilitation goes some way to supporting young amputees psychologically. However, the need to furnish additional psychological assistance and help with finding a place in society has largely been neglected. Little data exists on what happens to mine amputees later in life. In some countries, amputees form gangs and turn on the society that has rejected them; in others, there is an unofficial family or clan-based form of support for handicapped people.(33)
Landmine Monitor country reports clearly indicate that the bulk of the limited resources allocated to mine victim assistance are for the immediate medical and prosthetic needs of the survivor; and of course, in many instances, in many devastated countries even these needs are not met. In Angola, for example, it is estimated that over 5,000 new prostheses are required every year just to cope with the existing amputees - and this is more than twice the number currently being produced in the country. But in country after country, Landmine Monitor research shows a dismal outlook for landmine survivors:
Angola: "[Amputees] future will consist of being cared for by their families….."
Somaliland: "The majority of mine victims do not receive any post-operative assistance….in October 1998…in a single day, the Somaliland Red Crescent Society saw sixty amputees who needed help with obtaining mobility devices."
Sudan: "Basic infrastructure and public services in southern Sudan are practically non-existent." "Psychological and social support facilities for mine victims are inadequate if available at all….."
Colombia: "Social and economic reintegration programs for landmine and war-disabled are virtually non-existent in Colombia."
Nicaragua: "While there is some social security available, most victims receive support from their families."
Laos: "There is no standard follow-up for amputees receiving prostheses from the six centers functioning in Laos."
Azerbaijan: "Psycho-social or physical rehabilitation programs are almost nonexistent."
Croatia: "There are no prosthesis workshops in Croatia…Mine victims do not receive any special treatment compared to other disabled."
Trying to analyze the funds that are allocated for mine victim assistance programs is no easier than it is for mine action programs. Even when there are centralized efforts to gather data, as with the UN Mine Action Support Group's informal gathering of information on bilateral donor support for mine action projects, a definitive analysis of the data is not possible because there are no standardized criteria for reporting. The UNMASG fact sheet, one of the most comprehensive collections of information to date, offers data through November of 1998 - but does not indicate time period covered, which may vary from country to country listed and which do not make clear the time periods covered by their donations.(34) The same lack of consistency and transparency in reporting support for mine victims that plagues mine action support makes a clear picture almost impossible at this point. This is another area where the ongoing Monitor system will press for clarity.
But while the overall picture might be confusing, one aspect is very clear and that is that assistance to victims, as reported by the donors themselves, is significantly less than funding for mine clearance programs. The UNMASG fact sheet looks at bilateral support to 35 countries, from 16 donor countries and the European Union. Donors indicated whether money was, in broad brushstrokes, for mine clearance, training, mine awareness, or victim assistance. Of approximately $410 million in bilateral support, about $23.6 million went toward support of mine victims, in one form or another. This fact sheet is only one indicator, and clearly one full of gaps and confusions, but it does give a sense of proportions allocated to victim assistance and mine clearance by the major donor countries in the world on mine action.
Addressing Survivor's Needs
Assistance to victims is generally part of a country's overall health and social services systems, such as they are. In the countries most devastated by conflict, basic medical and social services, which are generally weak under the best of circumstances, are usually weakened even more or collapse completely. In such cases mine victims suffer as do all those seeking assistance. In some countries, the ICRC, NGOs, UN agencies and others have stepped in and become the only source of care for landmine survivors and other war victims. But the needs of landmine survivors are long-term. Countries should be supported in developing their own health and social services sector to be able to handle the problem for years to come - just as with the mine clearance part of the equation.
Ideally, disability issues should be dealt with in the mandates of several ministries--education, labor and employment, social welfare, interior, finance--not only the health sector. Such an integrated approach is necessary if the range of issues related to rehabilitation and reintegration of landmine survivors are to be addressed. In its support for such integrated care, the international community needs to find ways to ensure that people with disabilities have a voice in the decision-making processes that affect their lives and the lives of their families. Where international agencies have had to step in and offer services, they should work to make the programs local and autonomous, just as is the goal of humanitarian mine clearance agencies. The long and the short of it is the international community needs to do more - and it needs to do it better.
Another aspect of this part of the problem is the definition of "victim." Individuals physically injured by landmines must be a focus of assistance because they have suffered most violently and most directly. At the same time, it is recognized that a broader definition of victim is possible, and often desirable, and can include families of the physically injured and mine-affected communities as a whole. But using a broader definition for program planning should benefit families and communities without taking away from the complex needs of the survivors themselves. For example, a very broad-based community development program in a heavily mine-infested area should not be considered "assistance to mine victims" unless there are explicit provisions to address the disability-related issues in that community. Broad based community development programs have traditionally ignored the problems of persons with disabilities (whether they be amputees or others)and such stigmatized and marginalized groups do not benefit unless they are explicitly built into the planning of the program.(35)
The new focus on the problem of landmines should be channeled toward victim assistance planning being integrated into national policies. Landmine survivors should not be segregated from other war victims or persons with disabilities. Support from the international community must focus on local capacity-building and medical-physical rehabilitation should be seen as a precursor -- and not the end point --of complete rehabilitation and true socio-economic reintegration of survivors into the larger community. While there are no guarantees against stigmatization of landmine survivors and other people with disabilities, an indigenous, long-term integrated approach can begin to address the problem. Finally, the international community must consciously work to ensure that its own programs and support do not encourage or add to the stigmatization of landmine victims and their families.
If increasing aid has become a major challenge, a certain number of initiatives over the last two years have been taken to draw up recommendations and standards for action. Some examples include the "Berne Manifesto," initiated by WHO, UNICEF, the ICRC and the Swiss government. The ICBL's Working Group on Victim Assistance, created in February 1998 and made up of nearly 25 NGOs, has also formulated "Guidelines for Care and Rehabilitation of Survivors." (See ICBL Victim Assistance Working Group report for a copy of the guidelines).
Accurate data gathering and tracking of corresponding assistance will not fill the gap between the needs of the victims around the world and the paucity of resources allocated to aid them. In April 1998, the Victim Assistance Working Group of the ICBL developed a matrix of costs associated with comprehensive rehabilitation of the individual landmine survivor. Members of the Working Group used their own field experience and survey results from WHO, UNICEF, the American Red Cross and others and generated a figure of $9,000 per survivor. The figure is derived from estimated costs of various types of assistance ranging from first aid, emergency medical care, and prosthetics and physical rehabilitation to psycho-social support and vocational training and employment referral support.
It is estimated that the number of landmine survivors in the world is 300,000; thus, the total figure for their comprehensive support would be approximately $3 billion. The ICBL has called upon the international community to provide these funds within a ten year period. The U.S. government has challenged the international community to raise one billion annually over the next decade to create a mine-free world. Certainly the survivors of this global crisis should be part of the challenge. A world free of mines, but not free of the suffering of their victims is hardly a goal to strive for.
1. The ICBL generally uses the short title, Mine Ban Treaty, though other short titles are common as well, including Ottawa Convention and Ottawa Treaty.
2. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Address to the Signing Ceremony of the Antipersonnel Mines Convention, Ottawa, Canada, 3 December 1997.
3. Throughout this report, the term ratification is used as a short-hand for "consent to be bound." The treaty allows governments to give consent to be bound in a variety of ways, including ratification, acceptance, approval or accession -- all of which give binding legal status beyond signature.
4. U.S. Army Foreign Science and Technology Center, letter to Human Rights Watch, 1 November 1993, (assessing global production and trade of antipersonnel mines), p. 1.
5. U.S. State Department, Hidden Killers, December 1994, p. 1. UN officials have since indicated that the number planted was a rough estimate, and based on very extensive mine laying in the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia at the time.
6. U.S. State Department, Hidden Killers, September 1998, p. v.
7. Senegal ratified on 24 September, in the midst of the conflict in Guinea-Bissau where it was laying mines. The treaty entered into force for Senegal on 1 March 1998, after a cease-fire took effect.
8. US Army Foreign Science and Technology Center letter to Human Rights Watch, 1 November 1993. FSTC stressed that the estimates were rough, but believed to be very conservative.
9. Based on Landmine Monitor research findings and on information provided by the U.S. Army Foreign Science and Technology Center, letter to Human Rights Watch, 1 November 1993.
10. Russia's moratorium and China's declaratory policy only apply to export of non-detectable and non-self-destruct mines, in keeping with CCW restrictions. However, neither nation is known to have made a significant export since 1995.
11. Statement by Bulgarian Ambassador Petko Draganov to the Conference on Disarmament, undated but February 1999.
12. ICBL, "Antipersonnel Landmines and the Conference on Disarmament," written by Stephen Goose, Human Rights Watch, Chair, ICBL Treaty Working Group, released in Geneva 1 March 1999.
13. See ICBL Statement to the Closing Plenary of the Oslo Diplomatic Conference, 18 September 1997.
14. U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: the Global Demining Crisis, (Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of State Publication 190575, 1998); see also UN Landmine Database: www.un.org/Depts/Landmines/index.html
15. The percentage was arrived at by taking the difference, in turn, between the UN estimate and the Hidden Killers 1998 low and high estimates, then averaging the sum of these two and taking the result as a percentage of the UN estimate. The Hidden Killers derived a 30 percent reduction in the number of landmines from the UN estimate, by averaging the percentage difference for the 12 countries. It should be noted that this flat 30 percent factor is hardly a factor that is accepted in the mine action community.
16. Eddie Banks, Brassey's Essential Guide to Anti Personnel Landmines, (London: Brassey's,1997), p. 6.
17. Colin King, (ed.) Jane's Mines and Mine Clearance,(Surrey: Jane's Information Group Limited, Third edition, 1998-99),p. 13.
18. Handicap International, Mines Advisory Group and Norwegian People's Aid, Portfolio of Mine-related Projects 1998-.
19. Mike Croll, The History of Landmines (Great Britain: Leo Cooper Barnsley, 1998), p. 92.
20. Don Hubert, "The Challenge of Humanitarian Demining", in Cameron, Maxwell A. et al To Walk Without Fear. The Global Movement to Ban Landmines, (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 315.
21. Patrick Blagden, "The Evolution of Mine Clearance Operations Since 1991," in Barlow, Dennis et al., Humanitarian Demining Information Center. James Madison University, Sustainable Humanitarian Demining: Trends, Techniques & Technologies, (Verona, Virginia: Mid Valley Press, 1997).
22. United Nations International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance Operations, (New York: Mine Clearance Policy Unit, DHA, United Nations).
23. See http://www.un.org/Depts/Landmines/index.html
24. Ibid, pp. 320-21.
25. Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, One Year Later: Is the Ottawa Convention Making a Difference?, Ottawa, Canada, 2 December 1998, p. 2.
26. See SIPRI Yearbook 1998.
27. "It's Not a Pretty Picture," Newsweek, International Issue, 8. March 1999.
28. United Nations Mine Action Program for Afghanistan, Socio-Economic Impact Study of Mine Action Operations Afghanistan, Interim Report by Mine Clearance Planning Agency, October 1998.
29. An important point of departure for a mine awareness program, is to define the most common causes of mine accidents in the area in question. For a comprehensive list, see UNICEF, International Guidelines for Mine Awareness Education, Final Draft, 26 January 1999. This much-needed initiative by UNICEF seeks to explore some common elements that need to be addressed in order to do a mine awareness campaign. A problem has been that mine awareness campaigns have often been poorly structured and ad hoc, not involving mine affected communities themselves in the awareness process. See also the UNICEF activity report in the appendix.
31. ICRC website: www.icrc.org
32. Dr. Robin M. Coupland, Assistance for Victims of Anti-personnel Mines: Needs,Constraints, and Strategy, (Geneva: ICRC, August 1997), p. 5.
33. Ibid, p. 15.
34. "Mine Action Bilateral Donor Support," 16 November 1998, provided by the government of Norway.
35. A parallel example: UNICEF funds programs which do not only target children, but they require clear baseline indicators, external evaluations, etc. that the programs do indeed benefit children.