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Country Reports
SWAZILAND, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


The Kingdom of Swaziland signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and deposited its instrument of ratification on the 23 December 1998, the fifty-eighth country to do so. Swaziland voted in support of the pro-ban 1996 UN General Assembly resolution on landmines. During the government statements session of the February 1997 Fourth International NGO Conference on Landmines in Maputo, Mozambique, a Swazi government official, J.M. Dube, High Commissioner to Mozambique, called for a ban "with immediate effect.”[1] During the May 1997 OAU Meeting in Kempton Park, Dr Timothy L. Dlamini, Principle Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed Swaziland’s full support for the Ottawa Process stating that the government “is convinced that the use, development, production and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines should be banned with immediate effect.”[2]

Swaziland supported the landmines resolution by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in June 1997 which was based on the Kempton Park "Plan of Action." At the Brussels meeting later that month, Swaziland endorsed the Brussels declaration and Captain M. Fakudze affirmed that Swaziland’s support for "the total ban on manufacture, use, transfer and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines" and announced its intent to sign the ban treaty in December 1997.[3] Swaziland attended the Oslo treaty negotiations as a full participant and spoke against proposals to weaken the treaty text. Swaziland non-governmental organizations have been active in the campaign to ban landmines including the Red Cross and the Swazi affiliate of the Southern African Churches in Ministry with Uprooted People.

Swaziland has not produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Contrary to a report in African Topics, the government has denied that the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force maintains a stock of antipersonnel landmines.[4] The government has stated that Swaziland “does not use, buy or manufacture landmines.”[5] However, the Swaziland government has failed to disclose what happened to weapon caches left by African National Congress (ANC) cadres en-route to South Africa from Mozambique, some of which may have contained landmines. Two landmines were recovered in 1993, and three in 1995 in arms caches.[6]

Although Swaziland has not been listed as mine affected by various sources, it does in fact have a landmine problem, albeit very limited.[7] Several Swazi citizens have been killed or maimed by mines along the Mozambique border, including army officers patrolling the border and Ministry of Agriculture officials rehabilitating the fence, which controls foot-and-mouth disease.[8]

In addition, a small minefield exists near the border town of Mananga. In 1988, Swazi authorities blamed Renamo rebels for the mines, but in the 1990s the Mozambican government has been accused of planting them. Another explanation given is that the minefield is simply the result of an error by the Mozambique authorities presuming the area to be South African land. The minefield is well known, fenced and marked posing little or no threat to the local population. The field is 100 meters wide and 10 kilometers long and contains an estimated ten uncleared mines.[9] The extent of spillover from Mozambique border minefields however also needs to be thoroughly investigated.

The United States of America has a direct, bilateral Humanitarian Demining Program with Swaziland to the value of US$210 000. The funds are earmarked to enable Swaziland to develop an indigenous self-sustaining humanitarian demining program by training defense force personnel in demining techniques.


[1]J.M. Dube, “Swaziland’s Policy Position on Anti-personnel Landmines,” Statement to Fourth International NGO Conference on Landmines in Maputo Mozambique, 27 February 1997.

[2]T. Dlamini, “Swaziland Government’s Position. Statement to the OAU Conference,” Kempton Park, South Africa, 19-21 May 1997.

[3]“Declaration by the Kingdom of Swaziland,” Brussels Conference, 24-27 June 1997.

[4]T. Dlamini, “Swaziland Government’s Position. Statement to the OAU Conference,” Kempton Park, South Africa, 19-21 May 1997. See also: African Topics, issue 17, 1997


[6]G. Oosthnysen, Small Arms Proliferation and Control in Southern Africa. (Johannesburg: South African Institute of International Affairs, 1996), p. 68.

[7]According to the United Nations Country Database, Swaziland is not mine-affected. See: www.un.org/depts/landmine/country/swazilan.htm. In 1993, the United States Department of State stated that Swaziland “has no landmine problem” but in 1998, it revised this to “affected”. See U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Problem with Uncleared Landmines (Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 1993), p. 159 and U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers 1998: The Global Landmine Crisis (Washington: United States Department of State, 1998), p. A-2.

[8]Human Rights Watch, Still Killing: Landmines in Southern Africa (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1997), p.138.

[9]T. Dlamini, 'Statement to the OAU Conference on the Legacy of Anti-personnel Landmines,' 19 – 21 May 1997.