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Comments Received by Landmine Monitor

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Country: United States
Date Received: 30 Nov 2001

United States Department of State

Assistant Secretary of State
for Political-Military Affairs

Washington, D.C. 20520

Ms. Mary Wareham
Coordinator, Landmine Monitor
c/o Human Rights Watch
1630 Connecticut Ave NW #500
Washington, DC 20009

Dear Ms. Wareham:

Thank you for sending the Landmine Monitor Report 2001: Toward a Mine-Free World. As the previous two reports, this report represents a tremendous research effort and brings together in one place relevant information on landmines from almost every country in the world. My staff and I frequently consult the Landmine Monitor Reports. You and your colleagues are to be congratulated on your hard work.

As you know, the U.S. Government, and the State Department in particular, is committed to addressing the humanitarian threat posed by landmines worldwide. The magnitude of our humanitarian action program is evidence of our concern for the thousands of innocent men, women and children who lose their lives and limbs to landmines each year. Indeed, the United States is a world leader in humanitarian mine action eforts. U.S. Government assistance has supported mine action programs in over 40 countries with eduation, training, equipment, and support to landmine survivors. Since 1993, the United States has contributed more than $500 million to humanitarian mine action efforts. We are determined to maintain both our leadership role and financial support for global humanitarian demining in the years to come.

Lincoln P. Bloomfield. Jr

Country: Dominican Republic
Date Received: 26 Sep 2001

The following text was included in the Dominican Republic's MBT Article 7 transparency report, submitted 26 September 2001.


Si se acepta como válida la idea de que el Monitor de Minas no es un Sistema de verificación técnica ni un mecanismo de inspección oficial del Tratado para la Prohibición de las Minas de 1997, no hay dudas de que es un poderoso instrumento para pedir cuentas a los Gobiernos en relación con sus obligaciones sobre las Minas Antipersonal.

Esta importante iniciativa, especialmente de los actores no gubernamentales, constituye una valiosa guía complementaria a los informes de los Estados Parte, que nos permite contar con la más amplia información posible por países y regiones en todo el planeta tras el objetivo de un mundo sin minas.

Uno de los grandes aportes del Monitor de minas, entre otras cosas, es que no sólo facilita la transparencia y la cooperación, que de por si son variables esenciales para lograr el citado objetivo, sino que promueve y facilita el debate de la mayor parte de la comunidad internacional organizada en relación con la Política de cada Estado sobre la Prohibición, Empleo, Producción, Transferencia, Almacenamiento, remoción, así como la orientación y asistencia a los supervivientes de las Minas.

Otras de las bondades del Monitor de las Minas 2000, es que logra superar las posibles lagunas habidas en el primer informe anual de la Primera Reunión de los Estados parte de la Convención de OTTAWA, como también evaluar y sistematizar las informaciones inicialmente recopiladas a fin de garantizar métodos de investigación y mecanismos de información comunes para el Monitor.

En conclusión, podemos señalar que este último informe Monitor de Minas Terrestres es la expresión de un extraordinario esfuerzo colectivo que permite exponer ante la opinión pública mundial con objetiva profundidad y detalles los peligros que rigurosas estadísticas por país y región.

Asimismo, entendemos que el Monitor de Minas, a pesar de los éxitos obtenidos respecto de su primera edición, es un proceso dinámico que tendrá que actualizarse permanentemente, corrigiendo y mejorando, tal y como se expresa en la parte introductoria del mismo.

Country: Eritrea
Date Received: 30 Aug 2001

The State of Eritrea
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

31 August 2001


The Ministry of Foriegn Affairs of the State of Eritrea presents its compliments to the Landmine Monitor Unit, Human Rights Watch, and has the honor to acknowledge receipt of its faxed communication, dated 17 July 2001. While regretting the delay, due to circumstances beyond its control, of a response to its previous communication, the Ministry wishes to inform Eritrea's position on the matter as follows:

  1. It has been confirmed by all interested third parties that Eritrea, although not a signatory t othe Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and On their Destruction, had scrupulously adhered to its provisions and had not used land mines during the first two (2) stages of the Ethiopian aggression.
  2. It has been verified and confirmed by the third parties, that Ethiopia, a signatory to the Convention, had systematically and massively used land mies not only during its aggression but also after the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities and Comprehensive Peace Agreement
  3. Eritrea started using ant-personnel mines only during the thrid aggression in mid-2000 to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity after it became evident that it would be futile to respect the convention when Ethiopia, a signatory, was cynically violating it.
  4. Eritrea has already fulfilled its obligations under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement by submitting to the United Nations Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) all the necessary maps and information on landmines, on the other hand, Ethiopia has been using all pretexts and excuses to not submit complete information as it is requested to do by the Peace Agreement with a view to obstucting the return of Eritrean peasants to their lands in time for the sowing and planting season.
  5. Eritrea has now signed the Convention but wishes to remind the Landmines Monitor, Human Rights Watch, and other well-meaning groups, that is now evident that the convention shall be still-born if severe mandatory sanctions are not taken against first violators like Ethiopia which render the principle Pacta Sunt Servanda meaningless. Since other states will be forced to protect themselves against such first violators.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea avails itself of this opportunity to extend to the Landmine Monitor and Human Rights Watch the assurances of its highest consideration.

Country: Russia
Date Received: 16 Aug 2001

Response to Landmine Monitor by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation. Sent by Faxed to Landmine Monitor Coordinator by Vassily V. Boriak, Counsellor, Embassy of the Russian Federation to the United States, 16 August 2001. Original in Russian, translated by Global Communications, LLC, Washington DC.

From May 2000 to date the Russian Federation has employed anti-personnel mines (hereinafter "APMs") in the Chechen Republic and on the Tajik-Afghan border but APMs have not been emplaced in Abkhasia (Georgia).

Mine barriers have been laid to blockade specific base areas used by [rebel] units and to close movement routes and convoy paths across the state border, using fragmentation-action anti-personnel mines with self-destruction mechanisms and control options that comply with requirements in the supplemented Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on 'inhumane' weaponry. Emplacement of mines in those areas is necessitated by the complexity of the situation in the North Caucasus and the Tajik-Afghan border, the severe deterioration of that situation and the rise of extremism and terrorism, particularly in the summertime.

An analysis of the strategic situation in areas where APMs are used shows that, given that sectors of the state border are located in complex physical and geographical conditions that render it impossible to technically equip them adequately and, in many cases, to equip them at all, the use of APMs is the only course of action and that it reduces attacks by fighter groups by 7-8 times and saves the lives of many Russian soldiers and officers.

In the course of its service and military action in these areas (the border is in total more than 2800 km long), the Border Service of the Russian Federation has intercepted 176 armed attempts to breach the border by fighter groups, contrabandists, drug-smugglers and parties illegally crossing the border, 223 items of small arms, more than 47,000 items of various types of ammunition and more than 3000 kg of narcotics.

Mines are emplaced primarily on sectors of the border where difficult physical and geographical conditions do not permit other forces or methods to be employed effectively, where there are virtually no local inhabitants and to protect and guard positions and places where border divisions are stationed.

Mines are emplaced in observance of requirements to prohibit or restrict the use of anti-personnel mines, booby-traps and other devices as set forth in the supplemented 'mine' Protocol II, with the exception of requirements in point 2a of Article 5 Restrictions on the use of anti-personnel mines other than remotely-delivered mines in that part relating to perimeter-marked areas: anti-personnel mines are marked and fenced along the entire perimeter of the area except the part of the perimeter on the side of the state border.

In light of the above it would not be in the interests of stable border protection in emergency areas for Russia to sign the Ottawa Convention at this stage and it is therefore not possible for it to do so.

Country: Uzbekistan
Date Received: 31 Jul 2001

Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Ms. Mary Wareham
Coordinator, An Initiative
of the International
Campaign to Ban Landmines

July 31, 2001

Dear Ms. Wareham,

Thank you for the letter of July 17, 2001 advising on upcoming publication of the third annual Landmine Monitor Report. Having attentively studied a draft regarding Uzbekistan policy your good offices kindly provided for comments and possible alterations, my authorities noted that along with reference to statements of Uzbek officials on the subject, there are quotations from the both local and international media. Since those cross-references contradict on several occasions, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate an official stance of Uzbekistan on this issue.

Although Uzbekistan has not acceded to the Ottawa Convention of 1997 on banning the use, stockpiling, production, distribution and transfer of landmines, the country at the same time de facto implements a number of its provisions, specifically:

  • Uzbekistan neither produces nor does it intend to produce landmines;
  • Uzbekistan does not stockpile landmines;
  • Uzbekistan neither spreads nor does it transfer landmines

The mining of certain areas of the state border by the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan is necessitated by the considerations of national security threatened by the incursions of armed international terrorist groups from outside. The landmining is not aimed against civilians, who according to the norms of international law are due to cross borders at specially assigned places. In this regard, at some border areas passage checkpoints have been established to ensure safe border-passage in accordance with international regulations and to avoid peaceful civilians being injured.

I would also like to attract your attention to discrepancy of rather technical nature, specifically in naming Uzbek Minister of Defense once Kadyr Guliamov, then Qodir Pulatov in the draft, while correct one is Kodyr Gulomov.

I appreciate your eagerness to prepare report as objectively as possible and hope that afore-mentioned comments and remarks are to be considered for further inclusion into the final text.

Please accept Ms. Wareham, my assurances of high considerations.

Shavkat Khamrakulov, Ambassador E&P

Country: Israel
Date Received: 31 Jul 2001

July 31, 2001

Mrs. Mary Wareham
Coordinator, Landmine Monitor
c/o Human Rights Watch
1630 Connecticut Ave. NW #500
Washington, DC 20009, USA

With regard to your letter of July 17, 2001, I have been requested by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Shimon Peres, to respond to the draft of the Third Landmine Monitor Report, as it pertains to Israel.

At the outset, Israel wishes to express its regret that the draft report was sent to it only on July 17th, 2001 when-according to your accompanying letter- the report "goes to print on August 1st, 2001." Clearly, such a short time-frame does not permit serious investigation into all allegations made in the report or their reference to the relevant authorities in Israel.

Notwithstanding the above, Israel is of the view that the draft report is unbalanced and biased, a fact which is manifested by the heavy reliance on statements and propoganda originating from politically motivated bodies and entities (such as the Al-Haq organization), that are known to have repeatedly made in the past false and baseless allegations against Israel. Such baseless allegations affect the credibility of the draft report and we believe that it would be innappropriate to include them.

The following are a few examples of the erroneous and one-sided reporting:


On May 10th, 2001, a brutal terror attack was committed by a Palestinian terrorist group with a view of harming Israelis. In the attack a bomb, hidden in a bush, was detonated by remote control when a civilian tractor approached. "Hizbullah Palestine" claimed responsibility for the attack, which resulted in the killing of two workers (of Romanian nationality) and the injuring of a third. This vicious attack in Kisufim was referred to in your report as the explosion of "...some type of explosive device or mine," without any indication to the perpetrators of this violent attack. Furthermore, the information was placed under the heading of "Israel/Use", thus suggesting that the incident was somehow connected or planned by Israel.


The report quotes the Palestinian National Security Information Center which claims that "since September 2000 the IDF has laid antipersonnel landmines in areas within "Zone A" in the Gaza Strip, and in areas adjacent to Israeli settlements and military sites." This allegation is completely untrue and unfounded and is nothing more than propaganda.

Israel is highly aware of the grave humanitarian consequences caused by the indiscriminate use of land mines. Accordingly, the Government of Israel, attaches particular importance to actions, aimed at preventing and minimizing human suffering in this regard, which are compatible with accepted international norms and standards.

Minefields laid by the IDF are, as a matter of routine, fenced and warning signs in Hebrew, Arabic and English, are placed. Additionally, the IDF conducts safety inspections on a regular basis and transfers the appropriate information to civilian authorities. In accordance with this policy, minefield information was indeed handed over to the Palestinians when territories were transferred to their control.

As previously stipulated, the short time-frame allocated by the ICBL for the Israeli response does not allow for a complete and thorough response, Israel expects to see a final report which reflects an objective and professional approach, and a correction of basic factual elements such as the accurate date of the entry into force of the Amended Protocol II for Israel and the name of the Israeli-Navy commander.

As you are well aware, Israel has decided to become party to the Amended Mines Protocol II despite the unique circumstances prevailing in the Middle East. Having decided to join this instrument, Israel fulfills its obligations to the fullest extent, and strongly rejects allegations to the contrary which appear in the ICBL draft report.

We look forward to improved cooperation in the future between the ICBL and the Government of Israel.


Meir Itzchaki
Arms Control Division
Regional Security and Arms Control Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Country: Sudan
Date Received: 29 Jul 2001

Humanitarian Aid Commission - Sudan

29 July 2001

To: Mary WarehamCoordinator - landmine MonitorC/O Human Rights Watch

to the above mentioned subject and to your letter Dated 25 May 2001 to
his excellency the minister of foreign affairs of Sudan, you mentioned
that Sudan will be identified in this report as a government that
alleged to have used antipersonnel landmines, I would like to clarify
the followings:

  1. This allegation is totally unaccepted and untrue.
  2. The Sudan armed forces stopped using antipersonnel landmines since Sudan signed the Ottawa treaty and we are totally committed to that.
  3. That the Sudan armed forces have no stock on antipersonnel landmines.

I hope this will help to put the right and useful information in your 2001 landmine report.


Abdellati AbdelkheirDeputy Commissioner HAC-SudanPerson in charge of landmine file-Sudan

Country: Namibia
Date Received: 22 Jul 2001


135 East 36th Street
New York, NY 10016
Telephone: (212) 685-2003
Facsimile: (212) 685-1561

23 July 2001

Dear Ms. Wareham,

I have the honour to refer to your letter dated 25 May 2001, addressed to Hon. Dr. Theo-Ben Gouriab, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Namibia.

In the said letter, you have indicated that the third annual report of Landmine Monitor - "Landmine Monitor Report 2001: Towards a Mine-Free World," may identify Namibia as "a Government that is alleged to have used or assisted in the use of anti-personnel landmines". In this regard, the Government of the Republic of Namibia wishes to respond as follows:

a) Namibia signed the Convention on the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, (The Convention) on 3 December 1997 and subsequently ratified it on 21 July 1998.

b) Since the ratification of the said Convention, the Namibian Defence Forces has never used anti-personnel mines or assisted any other forces in the use thereof, both in its internal and international military operations.

c) Subsequent to the ratification of the Convention in July 1998, the Namibian Government completed the destruction of all APMs except those retained for training purposes, as permitted by the Convention.

d) The commitment of the Namibian Government to the enforcement of, and compliance with the provisions of the Convention, in particular ARTICLE 1 thereof, is further illustrated by the fact that the Government has destroyed all APMs Namibian forces have captured from UNITA arms depots during military operations along Namibia's border with Angola. The media were also invited to witness such destruction earlier this year.

The Government of the Republic of Namibia, therefore, for the reasons stated above, denies any use or assistance to use anti-personnel mines by its forces. Such an allegation would thus lack any factual basis.

I trust that the above information would be duly considered in the preparation of your report.

Yours Sincerely,
(Signed) Gerhard Theron
Charge d'Affaires, a.i.

Ms. Mary Wareham
Coordinator, Landmine Monitor
c/o Human Rights Watch
1630 Connecticut Ave NW #500
Washington, DC 20009, USA
Fax: 202-612-4333

Country: Singapore
Date Received: 15 Jul 2001

3501 International Place NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel. (202) 537-3100
Fax: (202) 537-0876

July 16, 2001

Ms. Mary Wareham
Co-ordinator, Landmine Monitor
c/o Human Rights Watch
1630 Connecticut Ave. NW #500
Washington, DC 20009, USA
Fax: (202) 612-4333

Dear Ms. Wareham

Third Annual Report of the Landmine Monitor

I refer to your letter dated 25 May 2001 informing us that the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is preparing its 3rd Annual Landmine Monitor Report.

We do not condone the indiscriminate use of APL's, especially against civilians. However, we believe that the legitimate security concerns and right of self-defence of states cannot be disregarded.

ST Kinetics is the only company in Singapore that produces APLs. The APLs produced are meant solely for use by our armed forces for self-defence purposes only. ST Kinetics does not export APLs as Singapore had, since Feb 1998, declared an indefinite moratorium on the export of all types of APLs.

We hope our inputs would be of assistance to you in putting together the 2001 Landmine Monitor Report.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed) Chan Heng Chee

Country: Georgia
Date Received: 10 Jul 2001

To: Mrs. Mary Wareham
Coordinator, Landmine Monitor
c/o Human Rights Watch
1630 Connecticut Ave NW #500
Washington, DC 20009, USA

Dear Mrs. Wareham:

Let me express our gratitude for your letter concerning preparation of the third annual report of Landmine Monitor. Georgia attaches great importance to the issue of banning antipersonnel mines and considers the above-mentioned report as a very crucial component in achieving such a noble goal as the mine-free world.

In reply to your inquiry I would like to state that the governmental structures of Georgia has neither tacitly nor openly supported Georgian partisans in their use of antipersonnel mines. The official position of Georgia in this repsect is widely known to the international society. Since the moratorium declared by President Shevardnadze in 1996 Georgia has been strictly abstaining from use, manufacture and import of antipersonnel mines.

In connection with the Landmine Monitor Report 2000 we would like to draw your attention on several issues which are a matter of deep concern for us.

First of all, the facts of referring to Georgia and Abkhazia as two independent states and subjects of international law are absolutely inadmissable for Georgian side. The prevalent and only form of mentioning Abkhazia in the official documents of such international organizations as United Nations, OSCE etc. goes as follows - "Abkhazia, Georgia."

Moreover, we consider the fact of placing the report from this Abkhazian region separately from the part dedicated to the current situation in Georgia as inadequate and contrary to the position of the international community that remains unambiguous in this respect and does not acknowledge the sovereignty of the separatist regime.

With regard to the number of landmine victims during the hostilities in Abkhazia, Georgia, the Head of Science and Technical Research Department of the General Staff of Georgian Armed Forces Colonel Tavadze, who was cited in the report, claims that the information stating 70% of casualties of hostilities being the landmine victims adduced in the report significantly differs from the one he brought indeed. In fact, the mentioned figure of 70% is likely to be quite far from the reality.

We would like also to note that according to the information received from the Ministry of Defence of Georgia and the State Department of the State Border Protection there is not any sort of minefields located on the Georgian side of the state border between Georgia and Turkey.

In reply to your suggestion, we would like to underline that Georgian side remains open to hold the meetings with the representatives of ICBL.

I very much hope that our comments and remarks will be taken into consideration and included in a new version of the report. As a conclusion, let me express the readiness of the Georgian side to aim every effort at enhancing our cooperation in the future.


Giorgi Burduli
First Deputy Minister