SECURITY: Mixed report on mine action progress

Friday, December 2, 2011

BANGKOK, 2 December 2011 (IRIN) - Landmine clearance and donor support for mine action reached an all-time high in 2010, but more countries – four – deployed antipersonnel mines than in any year since 2004, according to NGOs.

In addition, Kasia Derlicka, director of the 90-plus country network, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, said money for survivors was still insufficient.

The movement has come a long way over the past 20 years in stigmatizing landmine use and creating an international mine ban norm, even among non-signatories… but the way ahead is still long.”

She spoke to IRIN from the ongoing Meeting of States Parties in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to assess progress on wiping out cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines.

From contamination to clearance, highlights from the meeting and the Landmine Monitor 2011 report include:
 

  • A total of 159 governments – 80 percent of the world’s nations – have signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Finland is the newest signatory as of 28 November. Thirty-seven states, including China and the United States, have not joined.
     
  • Landmine action attracted record monies in 2010 – US$637 million – but the percentage allocated to survivor assistance has stagnated over the past decade at 9 percent;
     
  • Annual total clearance of mined areas reached a record high in 2010 - at least 200sqkm - resulting in the destruction of more than 388,000 anti-personnel mines and over 27,000 anti-vehicle mines, mostly in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq and Sri Lanka;
     
  • Israel, Libya and Myanmar have laid antipersonnel mines thus far in 2011. Syria laid new mines along the Lebanese border in October 2011, after the Landmine Monitor 2011 report went to print. None of these countries has joined the treaty;
     
  • Non-state armed groups in Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar and Pakistan laid new mines in 2010 – down from six countries in 2009;
     
  • Requests for landmine clearance deadline extensions “have become the norm rather than an exception”, the report says. Requests must be submitted to a committee of members of the Mine Ban Treaty before the annual meeting. Twenty-seven countries - half of the most affected member states - have thus far requested extensions. None has been denied;
     
  • Eighty-seven states have completely destroyed their landmine stockpiles, including Iraq as of June 2011. Belarus, Greece, Turkey and Ukraine failed to meet the four-year deadline in 2010 to destroy their stockpiles as set by the Mine Ban Treaty;
     
  • Myanmar addressed the meeting for the first time as an observer on 29 November, saying landmine use deserved “careful consideration” , while defending the country’s right to mine;
     
  • A total of 4,191 new casualties - 75 percent civilian - was recorded in 2010, a 5 percent increase from 2009. Half the reported casualties occurred in the Asia-Pacific region, with Afghanistan being the most mine-affected country worldwide;
     
  • More attention has been given to survivors’ access to health and rehabilitation services, but such improvements were partly offset in places where armed conflict made it more difficult for survivors to access those services.