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Country Reports
INTRODUCTION, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


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.


[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.