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Table of Contents
Country Reports
PORTUGAL, Landmine Monitor Report 1999

PORTUGAL

Mine Ban Treaty

Portugal signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 19 February 1999. Portugal first voiced its support for an immediate and total ban on antipersonnel mines on 3 May 1996 during the negotiations on the Landmine Protocol of the Convention on Conventional Weapons. At that time, it also announced an indefinite moratorium on landmine production, export, and use, except for training purposes.[1] In December 1996, it voted for the UN General Assembly resolution calling on states to pursue vigorously an international agreement banning antipersonnel mines. Portugal took part in all the Ottawa Process treaty preparatory meetings, endorsed the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration in June 1997, and was a full participant in the Oslo negotiations in September 1997. Portugal also voted in favor of United Nations General Assembly resolutions supporting the Mine Ban Treaty in late 1997 and 1998. Portugal is a state party to the CCW (2 June 1983), and ratified amended Protocol II on 31 March 1999. Portugal is not a member of the Conference on Disarmament. Speaking at the Mine Ban Treaty signing ceremony, Portugal’s representative said: “We accept that work in this field needs to be carried out also in other international fora, such as the disarmament conference. But, not only should it be complementary in nature, it should not imply any exceptions to the terms of the treaty which we are now signing.”[2]

Production, Transfer, and Stockpiling

Portugal has produced at least seven types of antipersonnel landmines, including the PRB M409, the M453, the M432, the M/996, the M421, the M412, the M/969.[3] Portuguese mines have been found in Angola, Iraq, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, and Zambia.[4] As noted above, in 1996 Portugal announced an indefinite moratorium on landmine production, export, and use, except for training purposes. Portugal has destroyed part, if not all, of its stockpile since then, while retaining an unknown number for training.

Humanitarian Mine Action

Portugal is not mine-affected. Portugal has donated $150,000 to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance, $100,000 of which was directed to demining in Angola. The Portuguese military also assists Angola with demining through a military exchange program.[5]

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[1]Country Profiles, United Nations Demining Database, http:www.un.org.Depts/Landmine/ (Ref. 3/10/99).

[2] Address by Dr. Luis Amado, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, on the occasion of the Treaty-Signing Conference for the Global Ban on Anti-Personnel Landmines, Ottawa, 3 December 1997.

[3]U.S. Department of Defense, “Mine Facts” CD ROM.

[4]Ibid.

[5]UN General Assembly, “Report of the Secretary-General: Assistance in Mine Clearance,” A/53/496, 14 October 1998, p. 29; United States Department of State, Hidden Killers, September 1998, pp. C-1, C-3, C-6.