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Country Reports
ASIA-PACIFIC, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports

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Mine Ban Policy

Of the thirty-nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region, eleven are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. In this reporting period (since March 1999) Malaysia, Cambodia and the Philippines ratified the Mine Ban Treaty, joining Australia, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Thailand as States Parties. There are seven other states that have signed but not ratified the treaty including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, and Vanuatu. Twenty-one states remain outside the Mine Ban Treaty, the largest number of non-signatories in any of the regions covered by Landmine Monitor. This group includes major antipersonnel mine producers and stockpilers, such as China, India, and Pakistan.

Of the eleven States Parties, four have enacted domestic implementing legislation: Australia, Cambodia, Japan, and New Zealand. Malaysia has drafted legislation.

Thirteen countries in the region attended the First Meeting of States Parties (FMSP) in Maputo in May 1999. China, Nepal, Singapore, and Sri Lanka were among the twelve non-signatory nations participating as observers. Since the FMSP, Cambodia has served as co-chair of the Standing Committee of Experts on Technologies for Mine Action, Japan as co-rapporteur for the SCE on Victim Assistance, and Malaysia as co-rapporteur for the SCE on Stockpile Destruction.

States Parties in the region have a comparatively good record in submitting their Article 7 transparency measures reports. Eight of the 11 have done so, and only Samoa and the Solomon Islands are still late in submitting their reports. The Philippines report is not due until January 2001.

Seventeen states from the region voted in favor of the pro-Mine Ban Treaty UN General Assembly Resolution 54/54 B in December 1999. Among the 20 governments abstaining were eight from Asia-Pacific: Burma, China, India, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Pakistan, South Korea, and Vietnam. The Marshall Islands is the only signatory ever to have abstained. Others from the region were either absent or unable to vote.

For the first time, a senior Taiwanese official made a clear statement of support for a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines. The Committee Representing the People’s Parliament in Burma endorsed the Mine Ban Treaty in January 2000.

In August 1999, the International Committee of the Red Cross organized in Sri Lanka a South Asian Regional Seminar on Landmines to which the governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka sent representatives.


Antipersonnel landmines were used in 1999/2000 in at least six conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region. This includes use in two new outbreaks of fighting (Philippines and Kashmir), and expanded use in others. In the Philippines in 2000, three rebel groups (Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf, and New People’s Army) have used antipersonnel mines or improvised explosive devices. There is no evidence of use by the armed forces of the Philippines, which is a State Party. Pakistan-backed militants, and allegedly Pakistan Army troops, made extensive use of antipersonnel mines in the heated conflict in the Kargil area of Kashmir in mid-1999. There has been a significant increase in the use of homemade mines in Nepal by Maoist rebels, and some reports of their use of factory-made mines.

Government forces and at least ten ethnic armed groups in Burma continued to lay antipersonnel landmines in significant numbers. Both sides used antipersonnel mines in the escalated fighting in Sri Lanka. The opposition Northern Alliance in Afghanistan continued to use antipersonnel mines.

There was no new mine use reported in Cambodia. There is no evidence of use of antipersonnel mines by any side in the 1999 fighting in East Timor, or in on-going conflicts elsewhere in Indonesia, which is a signatory.

Production and Transfer

Eight of the 16 current producers globally are from the Asia-Pacific region: Burma, China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Singapore, and Vietnam. Pakistan has indicated that it is producing new mines compliant with CCW Amended Protocol II. It also appears that India intends to produce new mines that meet Amended Protocol II standards. South Korea told Landmine Monitor that it produced 1,363 new antipersonnel mines in 1999. Vietnamese officials have confirmed continuing production of antipersonnel mines, but have said Vietnam “will never export” mines. Singapore has also confirmed that it continues to produce AP mines.

All of these producers have stated that they no longer export AP mines, except for Burma and North Korea, neither of which is known to have exported mines in the past. However, it appears that militants in Kashmir obtained and used antipersonnel mines manufactured by the state-owned Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) during the fighting in the Kargil area of Kashmir in mid-1999. POF also offered antipersonnel mines for sale to a journalist posing as a representative of a private company in Sudan.

Stockpiling and Destruction

At least 18 nations in the region have AP mine stockpiles. That includes three States Parties (Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand), three signatories (Bangladesh, Brunei, and Indonesia), and 12 non-signatories (Afghanistan, Burma, China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam). For the first time, Bangladesh and Mongolia acknowledged that they maintain stockpiles of antipersonnel mines. It is still uncertain if Nepal possesses AP mines. Only the three States Parties have publicly revealed the number of mines in stock.

China is believed to have the world’s largest stockpile of AP mines; it has called Landmine Monitor’s estimate of 110 million Chinese AP mines in stock “exaggerated,” but will offer no information. Landmine Monitor now estimates Pakistan’s stockpile of AP mines to be at least 6 million, much larger than previously reported, and the sixth largest in the world. India, with an estimated 4-5 million AP mines, is thought to have the seventh largest stockpile. At an estimated 2 million AP mines, South Korea’s stockpile is also one of the biggest globally.

The United States continues to stockpile hundreds of thousands of antipersonnel mines in Japan, South Korea, and at Diego Garcia, a territory of the U.K. in the Indian Ocean.

Australia destroyed its entire stockpile of 128,616 antipersonnel mines in five days at the end of September 1999. Cambodia has also declared that it destroyed its entire stockpile (71,991), though it continues to collect and destroy more mines. Destruction of Japan’s stockpile of 998,866 antipersonnel mines is underway. Thailand has destroyed 10,000 antipersonnel mines and has developed a plan for destruction the remainder of its 411,625 stockpile. Malaysia has developed plans for, but has not yet begun, destruction of its 94,263 antipersonnel mine stockpile.

China announced that it had destroyed 1.7 million older antipersonnel mines that were not compliant with CCW Amended Protocol II in recent years. China, India and Pakistan have all indicated they are making their stockpiles of antipersonnel mines detectable, as required by Amended Protocol II. . China, India, and Pakistan have exercised their right to a 9-year deferral period for complying with the technical aspects of Amended Protocol II. South Korea, which is not party to Amended Protocol II, reports that it has made all of its non-self-destructing mines detectable.

States Parties can retain antipersonnel mines for training or research purposes under Article 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty. Japan and Thailand each plan to retain in excess of 15,000 antipersonnel mines, among the highest numbers of any State Party. However, Thailand included 6,000 Claymore-type mines in its total (which were not reported by most nations); Thailand also announced in May it is re-evaluating its need for such a large number. Australia has indicated that it will retain 10,000, and Cambodia 1,000. Malaysia, New Zealand, and the Philippines are States Parties who once possessed a stockpile of antipersonnel mines but will not retain any under the Article 3 exception.

Landmine Problem

In the region, 16 out of 39 countries are reported to be mine-affected, plus Taiwan. This includes three States Parties (Cambodia, the Philippines, and Thailand), and one signatory (Bangladesh). In Afghanistan, 717 square kilometers of land are affected by mines and UXO. In Cambodia, 644 square kilometers are mined and another 1,400 square kilometers are suspected of being mined. In Laos, nearly 4,000 villages are affected by UXO and mines. In Thailand, 796 square kilometers of border areas are thought to be mined. Vietnamese officials state that at least 5% of the territory is UXO and mine-affected. The UN has estimated that in Sri Lanka there are 50 to 75 square kilometers of suspect or contaminated land. The mine problem in Nepal is growing; the Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines reports that people in ten districts consider themselves mine-affected.

A Level One Survey has been conducted in Afghanistan, is on-going in Cambodia, and is planned for Thailand.

Mine Action Funding

The major mine action donors from the region are Japan and Australia. Japan’s funding for mine action programs increased more than 60% to a total of $13.1 million in 1999. Australia expects to spend a new high of $8 million on mine action programs in its 1999-2000 budget year.

In 1999, donors contributed $22 million for mine action in Afghanistan, and an estimated $20 million for Cambodia. In 2000, UXO Lao has budgeted $12.2 million for UXO clearance and awareness activities for the national program

Mine Clearance

In Afghanistan, 110 square kilometers of land were cleared of mines and UXO. This constitutes 24% of the total of 465 square kilometers cleared since 1990. A total of 21,871 antipersonnel mines, 1,114 antitank mines, and 254,967 UXO were destroyed in Afghanistan in 1999. About 11.9 square kilometers of land in Cambodia were cleared of 8,006 antipersonnel miens in 1999 and a Land Use Planning Unit was established. A total of 622 hectares of land in Laos were cleared in 1999, with an additional 255 hectares January-March 2000. Almost 90,000 UXO and mines were destroyed in Laos in 1999, with about 25,000 more January-March 2000.

Five internationally funded mine and UXO clearance programs are underway in Vietnam, with several new projects started in 1999 and 2000. Thailand created a National Committee for Humanitarian Mine Action in February 2000 and has prepared a Master Plan for Humanitarian Mine Action for 2000-2004

In April 1999 South Korea began a multi-year program to remove mines from around some military bases. China completed clearance of its border with Vietnam in September 1999. India states it has cleared 8,000 mines planted by intruders during the 1999 conflict in the Kargil area of Kashmir. A total of 214,541 square meters of land had been cleared in Sri Lanka before the UN Mine Action Project was suspended in April 2000 due to the conflict. In Burma there are reports that coercive demining is taking place in which civilians are forced to conduct some demining by Burmese Army Tatmadaw units that are operating on the Thailand border.

Mine Awareness

A total of 979,640 people in Afghanistan received mine awareness education in 1999, and about 6 million since 1990. Nearly 500,000 Cambodians received mine awareness education in 1999, the most ever in a single year. Almost 180,000 people in Laos received UXO/mine awareness education in 1999. Governmental and non-governmental mine awareness activities are underway in Thailand. Mine awareness programs in the most heavily affected region of Sri Lanka were suspended in 2000 due to fighting, but UNICEF continues to operate programs elsewhere. There are mine awareness programs in Vietnam, mostly carried out at the local and provincial level.

Mine Casualties

Landmine casualties continued to decline in Afghanistan and Cambodia. In Afghanistan, an estimated five to ten people were injured or killed by mines every day in 1999 (some 1,800-3,600), compared to an estimated ten to twelve people in 1998 and an estimated twenty to twenty-four people in 1993. At least 1,012 people in Cambodia were hurt or killed by landmines in 1999, a decrease of 41% from the previous year. There were 417 mine casualties reported in the first five months of 2000. As areas formerly held by the Khmer Rouge became accessible, whole villages of disabled people were being discovered.

In a very disturbing new finding, Landmine Monitor estimates there were approximately 1,500 new mine victims in Burma in 1999 In Laos, there were 102 new UXO/mine victims in 1999 and 68 in the first five months of 2000. Indian officials report 835 civilian casualties to mines and IEDs in the state of Jammu and Kashmir alone in 1999. The Pakistan Campaign to Ban Landmines conducted a survey in the Bajaur area, identifying 405 mine victims. It appears that in Sri Lanka there were at least several hundred civilian mine casualties in 1999.

Survivor Assistance

About half of the mine-affected countries in the region have disability laws. In Cambodia, the government is making efforts to ensure legal protection to the disabled. Cambodia, Pakistan, and the Philippines have coordination bodies on disability. Pre-hospital care services are nearly non-existent in the region. Hospital services are generally located far from the mined areas. Governments provide rehabilitation services, but they tend to be inadequate and require assistance from NGOs, especially in Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. In Cambodia all services are free of charge thanks to the numerous NGOs. Victims have to pay their rehabilitation in Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Many community-based rehabilitation programs are run in Afghanistan, China, and Vietnam with the support of NGOs. Most countries also have socio-economic reintegration activities for mine victims.