Findings from the 2011 Landmine Monitor for Africa

This week, the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty (11MSP) is being held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and last week, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines released the 2011 edition of the Landmine Monitor (The Monitor).  These two events create an opportunity to review recent news in the mine action community.

There has been some good news. In one of the first announcements at the 11MSP Burundi declared itself to be landmine-free (Monsters and Critics).  South Sudan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty as its first major interaction with the international community (The Monitor).  The Monitor reported that in 2010, the total number of persons killed or injured by landmines in Africa had declined from 629 to 615 with more than half of the mine-affected states on the continent reporting fewer casualties than the previous year.  That good news has been over-shadowed by the bad news.  More casualties were reported in seven mine-affected states (Angola, Eritrea, Mozambique, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan) in 2010 than in 2009.  New landmine usage has been reported as conflicts broke out or escalated in Libya, South Sudan and Somalia meaning that landmine casualties can be expected to increase in 2011 from 2010.  Despite the fact that for the first time in four years new countries (Finland, South Sudan and Tuvalu) have acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty, global landmine use is higher than it has been since 2004 (The Monitor).  

Only one state in Sub-Saharan Africa, Somalia, remains outside the Mine Ban Treaty, whilst three North African states, Egypt, Libya and Morocco, have failed to accede to the Treaty; all four countries maintain stockpiles of anti-personnel mines.

Nigeria declared itself to be landmine-free, the 18th state to do so globally, joining Gambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tunisia and Zambia as landmine-free African states.

Angola and Chad have more than 100 square kilometers contaminated by landmines and the unofficial regions of Western Sahara and Somaliland are also mine-affected.

Sudan, Angola and Mozambique cleared more than 13 square-kilometers of mine-affected areas in 2010, an increase over 2009’s 12 square-kilometers.

Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea and the Republic of Congo have all submitted requests for extensions of their demining obligation deadlines.  Of the African states that have already received deadline extensions for demining, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Mozambique are on-track to meet their new deadlines; Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe are all falling behind on their schedules and Chad’s progress is unclear. 

Angola, Chad and DRC conducted nationwide assessments of victim assistance needs as part of the process of drafting a national victim assistance plan.  Uganda, DRC, Mozambique and South Sudan have developed (with various degrees of approval and implementation) national victim assistance plans and Burundi and Chad have begun the process of drafting plans.

20 African states received more than $100,000 in international contributions in 2010 for mine action assistance. Angola was the largest African recipient, receiving $45.7 million in 2010, Sudan was next with $27 million and DRC was 3rd with $13.2 million.  These three nations were the only African states in the top ten recipients globally, a chart easily topped by Afghanistan which received $102.6 million. Only 9% of all mine-action assistance globally went to funding victim assistance (The Monitor).

Michael P. Moore, November 29, 2011.

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