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Country Reports
EL SALVADOR, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: The Mine Ban Treaty entered into force for El Salvador on 1 July 1999. El Salvador has not submitted its Article 7 report, which was due by 27 December 1999.

Mine Ban Policy

El Salvador signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified on 27 January 1999. Thus, the treaty entered into force for El Salvador on 1 July 1999. El Salvador has not yet passed any legislation implementing the ban treaty. It has also not yet submitted its Article 7 transparency report, due by 27 December 1999, even though Vice-Minister of External Relations Rene Eduardo Dominguez has said, “We consider it necessary that transparency exist with respect to complete communication with the United Nations as Depository of the Convention, with the intent of advancing Article 7 reporting.”[1]

El Salvador participated in the First Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Maputo in May 1999. Vice-Minister Dominguez told the plenary, “Today proudly we are able to say that we are a mine-free country.”[2]

El Salvador voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 54/54B in support of the Mine Ban Treaty in December 1999, as it had on similar resolutions in 1997 and 1998. It has also supported the pro-ban resolutions of the Organization of American States (OAS). It was one of nine countries that signed the “Declaration of San José” in Costa Rica on 5 April 2000, which includes an article promoting the Mine Ban Treaty.

El Salvador is not a party to Convention on Conventional Weapons, nor is it a member of the Conference on Disarmament.

Production, Stockpiling, Transfer, Use

El Salvador has never produced or exported AP mines, but imported approximately 37,000 M18A1 Claymore and M14 AP mines from the U.S.[3] The guerrillas of the Farabundo MartΡ National Liberation Front (FMLN) made significant numbers of homemade AP mines and improvised explosive devices. Both sides used mines throughout the war.

According to the government, from March 1993 though January 1994, El Salvador’s Division of Arms and Explosives of the Civil National Police destroyed the remaining AP mines that were in the stocks of the Salvadoran armed forces. El Salvador reported the destruction of these mines to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States in April 1997.[4] It is not known if Claymore mines were included in the destruction. A recent media report about a munitions storage site explosion listed “landmines” among the things that were hurled from the blast. Defense Minister Juan Antonio Martinez told media that the depot was stocked with weapons including “landmines,” but provided no details. These could have been antitank mines or Claymore mines.[5]

Mine Action

El Salvador is mine free, or as one official put it, “We have given a certificate where we declare that El Salvador is a mine free zone. Of course there is always a margin of error, but we haven’t had an accident.”[6] There may still be some danger in remote areas. Mine clearance was carried out in 1993 and 1994 by former combatants from both sides of the conflict, who were trained and supervised by a Belgian company. The UN and other international donors funded this program. See Landmine Monitor Report 1999 for more details on the past landmine problem and clearance efforts.[7]

El Salvador currently contributes personnel to the OAS Assistance Program for Demining in Central America (PADCA), with operations in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

Landmine Casualties

No accidents involving landmines have been reported since 1994, although some accidents from UXO have occurred. From January 1994 through mid-1995, 271 people including 42 children were injured by UXO.[8]

Victim Assistance

While the initial mine clearance plan did not include assistance to mine and UXO victims as the years went by this was added. The Army has an institution for war wounded which includes a special clinic for prostheses. At first assistance was only provided to soldiers, but it has since been opened for use by all civilians.[9]

El Salvador is participating in the Joint Program for the Rehabilitation of Mine Victims in Central America conducted by the Pan-American Health Organization and initially funded by Canada.

In addition, a number of private groups have established victim assistance programs in El Salvador. A program called Promoter of the Organization of Disabled Persons in El Salvador (PODES) is operated by Medico International (a German NGO), with technical support and funding from the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (a U.S. NGO). PODES has a database of 1,235 patients, produces approximately 300 orthopedic devices each year, and services a similar number. PODES employs 24 people, 18 of whom are disabled.[10] The Landmine Survivors Network made an exploratory visit to El Salvador in April 2000 and will be establishing a program there starting in September 2000.[11] Other institutions that provide prosthetic assistance include Fundación Teletón, the Army’s Centro de Rehabilitación de las Fuerzas Armadas, the Instituto Salvadoreño de Rehabilitación de Invalidos run by the Government, Don Bosco University, the Asociación de Lisiados de las Fuerzas Armadas de El Salvador, and other private prosthetists.[12]

In April 2000, the Center for International Rehabilitation published a “Rehabilitation Resource Directory for Central America,” which includes information on services available in El Salvador. This information was collected and provided to the Directory by a local NGO, The Cooperative Association of the Independent Group for Total Rehabilitation.


[1] Statement by Vice-Minister of External Relations Rene Eduardo Dominguez, to the First Meeting of States Parties, Maputo, 4 May 1999, p. 2. Translation into English by Landmine Monitor.
[2] Ibid., p. 4.
[3] Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy (Human Rights Watch: New York, October 1993), pp. 185-186.
[4] Seguridad Hemisferica, Cuadro Resumen: Minas Terrestres Antipersonales, Al 1 de mayo de 1998, “El Hemisferico Occidental como Zona Libre de Minas Terrestres Antipersonales,” AG/RES. 1411 (XXVI-O/96) y AG/RES. 1496 (XXVII_O97) parrafo resolutivo 4, Organizacion de los Estados Americanos, Washington, D.C. de los Estados Ameicanos, Washington, D.C.
[5] “Salvadoran munitions store blows up injuring 44,” Agence France Presse (San Salvador), 10 May 2000.
[6] Interview with Colonel Sidney Rendón, Embassy of El Salvador in Guatemala, Guatemala City, 9 May 2000.
[7] ICRC, Antipersonnel Mines in Central America: Conflict and post-conflict, January 1996, p. 13.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Interview with Colonel Sidney Rendón, Embassy of El Salvador in Guatemala, Guatemala City, 9 May 2000.
[10] Letter from Wanda Amory, PODES, to Wendy Batson, Director of Humanitarian Affairs, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, 17 July 2000.
[11] Telephone interview with Sue Eitel, Landmine Survivors Network, 21 June 2000.
[12] Letter from Wanda Amory, PODES, to Wendy Batson, Director of Humanitarian Affairs, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, 17 July 2000.