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Country Reports
BRAZIL, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Mine Ban Policy

Brazil’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations, Sebastião do Rego Barros Neto, signed the Mine Ban Treaty 3 December 1997. Brazil has not yet ratified the treaty but on 23 March 1999, ratification legislation was passed through the Lower House (Congress) and sent to the Senate with urgency.[1] Brazilian non-governmental organizations have been lobbying for speedy ratification.[2]

At the treaty signing, the Deputy Minister remarked that “every one of the countries that are signing the Convention here in Ottawa have had to make internal accommodations and adjustments in military doctrine with a view to making the ban a reality.”[3] Brazil was initially somewhat cool toward the Ottawa Process. It attended the October 1996 meeting which launched the Ottawa Process only as an observer. On 10 December 1996 it voted in favor of UN General Assembly 51/45S urging states to vigorously pursue an international agreement banning antipersonnel landmines (passed 156-0). On 20 December 1996 the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations sent a communication to its Canadian counterpart stating its commitment to a comprehensive ban agreement, but noting, “Brazil would accept to take part in eventual negotiations with an independent forum--as the one created with the Ottawa Process--if this forum had a massive support of the international community."[4]

By mid-1997 Brazil had embraced the ban treaty, and joined the Ottawa Process Core Group just prior to the Brussels Conference of 24-27 June. Brazil endorsed the pro-ban treaty Brussels Declaration and attended the Oslo negotiations as a full participant. During the Oslo negotiations, Brazil’s Ambassador Jose Viegas Filho played an key role in chairing the working group on international cooperation. Brazil supported the pro-treaty 1997 and 1998 UN General Assembly resolutions on landmines.

Brazil joined the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) on 3 October 1995 but has yet to ratify its amended Protocol II on landmines. On 23 March 1999, CCW Protocol II ratification legislation was passed through the Congress and sent to the Senate.[5]

To date, Brazil has not provided information to the OAS Landmines Register.[6]

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling and Use

Brazil is a former producer and exporter of landmines. It produced two types of antipersonnel landmines, the NM AE T1 and the T-AB-1.[7] In December 1997, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso said, “For years antipersonnel mines haven’t been produced in Brazil.”[8]

The NM AE T1 antipersonnel mine, which was produced by Brazil's Quimica Tupan South America, has been described as “one of the world's cheapest mines,” selling at approximately U.S.$ 5.80 per mine.[9] Quimica Tupan began to manufacture landmines in 1978.[10] The T-AB-1 was produced by Britanite Industrias Quimicas Ltda.[11] It appears that Brazil also has Claymore-type directional fragmentation mines, but it is not known if these were domestically produced or imported.[12]

According to the government, Brazil has not exported antipersonnel landmines since 1984.[13] In its speech to the opening of the 51st United Nations General Assembly on 23 September 1996, Brazil announced the adoption of a formal moratorium on the export of antipersonnel landmines for four years, renewable for the same period.[14]

There is no available information on Brazilian importation of AP mines. Likewise, no details are available on the size or composition of Brazil’s AP mine stockpile.

Brazil shares borders with mine-affected countries, but there is no evidence that Brazil planted mines on its borders, nor in the Brazilian Amazon, even though that area is affected by many conflicts involving the indigenous peoples, landowners, illegal mining and timber wood operations, drug cultivation and trafficking. But allegations of landmine use by landholders in North Parana to keep out the “landless” (Sem Terra) are currently under investigation by the Human Rights Commission of the Lower House of Deputies.[15]

Mine Clearance

Brazil is not mine-affected. In December 1997, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso said, “Brazil is a mine-free country. These ‘silent killers’ never found a fertile soil in national territory."[16]

Brazil has actively participated in international humanitarian mine action on a bilateral and multilateral basis. It has contributed $3,000 to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance,[17] but most of its contributions have been in-kind services.

On 10 November 1997, Brazil and Argentina signed a joint declaration supporting Mercosul. The agreement included a commitment to mine clearance efforts in South America.[18]

A “Declaration of Intent on Co-operation in International Demining Activities,” concluded shortly after the December 1997 signing ceremonies, commits Canada and Brazil to working together to help third countries remove landmines from their territories, and to assist victims of landmines, in particular their reintegration into society.[19]

The Brazilian Army has participated in mine clearance in Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala through the OAS programme. According to the Brazilian Army magazine, Verde Oliva: "In 1991 the general-secretary of the OAS, Brazilian Ambassador João Clemente Baena Soares, received a formal request from the government of Nicaragua to locate and destroy encrusted mines in Nicaragua's soil. Starting in 1993 the Programa Nicaraguense trained sappers of the Ejercito Popular Sandinista. The Brazilian Army participated in an international group of instructors and supervisors collaborating on mine clearance and training operations. From 1994 to 1997 the international group of instructors and supervisors were commanded by three Brazilian Army officers."[20]

The Brazilian Army assisted in mine clearance in Angola from September 1995 to July 1997 and Brazilian military personnel remain in Angola assisting the clearance program.[21] The Companhia de Engenharia da Força de Paz of the Brazilian Army cleared areas including the Luximbe River bank.

There have been some Brazilian landmine casualties from its participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations and mine clearance efforts.[22] Brazil has disability laws and a variety of rights for people with disabilities.


[1] Legislative Decree no. 4/99, MSC 0018/99.

[2] NGOs actively campaigning to ban landmines include: Servico Paz e Justica, SERPAJ (Peace and Justice Service) and Associacao do Jovem Aprendiz, AJA.

[3] Statement by Sebastião do Rego Barros Neto, Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations, Brazil to the Treaty Signing Conference, 2-4 December 1997.

[4] Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs document "Minas Terrestres Antipessoal" available in the official site:www.mre.gov.br/ndsg/acs/desarm10.htm

[5] Legislative Decree no. 3/99, MSC 1275/96.

[6] As of May, 1998 OAS Summary Table of Information Submitted by Member State for the Year 1997.

[7] U.S. Department of State, Mines of the World Internet: www.mineweb.org/mfacts/mfacts4/f445a.html and CD-Rom ORDATA, Version 1.0, Department of Defense of the United States of America

[8] http://www.planalto.gov.br/decminas.html

[9] Military Technology, October 1985, p.112

[10]Military Technology, October 1985, p.112

[11] Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993), Appendix 17 and Jane's Mines and Mine Clearance 1997-98, db. 882, db.779.

[12] "At the 12ª Brigada de Infantaria Leve of the Brazilian Army soldiers must utilize bullet proof suit, gas mask, ...and remote controlled horizontal action mines," in Revista Tecnologia e Defesa, number 69, 1996, p. 24. Internet: www.fabwp.org/ex12if-p.html. See also " The fire power of the Brazilian infantry is renewed and intensified. At the present time the prompt employment units have anti-vehicle Eryx missiles from Aerospatiale ...and remote controlled mines," in Revista Tecnologia e Defesa, number 76, 1998, reportagem especial Internet: www.tecnodefesa.com.br/76report.htm

[13] Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs document "Minas Terrestres Antipessoal" available in the official site:www.mre.gov.br/ndsg/acs/desarm10.htm. However, in another official document Brazil puts the date five years later: “Since 1989, there have been no exports of Brazilian landmines to any country.” See, U.N. General Assembly, “Moratorium on the export of antipersonnel landmines, Report of the Secretary General,” A/50/701, 3 November 1995, p. 12.

[14] Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs document "Minas Terrestres Antipessoal" available in the official site: www.mre.gov.br/ndsg/acs/desarm10.htm

[15] Richard Wangen, SERPAJ, Email Correspondence with Liz Bernstein, ICBL Co-coordinator, 18 March 1999.

[16] http://www.planalto.gov.br/decminas.html

[17] U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Landmine Crisis, September 1998, p. C-1.

[18] FHC e Menem Firmam Apoio ao Mercosul - Folha de S. Paulo, 11 Nov. 1997, pp. 1-12.

[19] “New bilateral agreements strengthen Canada-Brazil partnership,” Canada Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, 15 January 1998 ,No. 11.

[20]Data collected from the official Brazilian Army magazine: Verde Oliva. Brazilian Army official site:www.exercito.gov.br/revista_vo/vo160/engbras.htm and www.exercito.govbr/revista_vo/vo%20162/minas.htm

[21]Brazilian newspaper Correio Braziliense, 6 January 1999, pg.04.

[22] Statement by Sebastião do Rego Barros Neto, Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations, Brazil to the Treaty Signing Conference, 2-4 December 1997.