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


Key developments since March 1999: The Honduran mine clearance program, which was set back in late 1998 by Hurricane Mitch, is now due to be completed by the end of 2001.

Mine Ban Policy

Honduras signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified on 24 September 1998. Honduras has not yet passed domestic implementation legislation. Honduras submitted its first Article 7 report on 30 August 1999 in Spanish, covering the period from 1998 to 1999.

Honduras 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.

Honduras attended the First Meeting of States Parties in Maputo in May 1999 but did not make a statement to the plenary. It has participated in four intersessional meetings, one for each of the Standing Committees of Experts, except for Mine Clearance.

Honduras is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, nor is it a member of the CD.

Production, Transfer, Use

Honduras has never produced or exported AP mines. It had imported, stockpiled, and used AP mines in limited quantities, for training purposes only. Since the end of the Nicaraguan war in 1990 and the El Salvador war in 1992, there is no evidence that any party of any nationality has used landmines in Honduras.


Honduras’ Article 7 report listed a total of 9,439 stockpiled AP mines, including 2,031 M18A1 U.S. Claymore mines, 2,969 M4 mines from the U.S., [1] 1,480 M969 mines from Portugal and 2,959 FMK1 mines from Argentina.

According to the Article 7 report, Honduras intends to retain 1,050 AP mines for training as permitted under Article 3, including 226 M18A1s, 330 M4s, 165 M969s and 329 FMK1s.

The rest of the mines will be transferred for the purpose of destruction from the center of logistic support of the Army and the first platoon of engineers to the to the third platoon of infantry. In March 2000, local media reported that a Canadian delegation made an assessment of the inventory of AP mines stockpiled with three battalions.[2]

Landmine Problem

An expert from the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) stated that there are probably 3,000 landmines that still pose a threat in Honduras.[3] Honduran Lieutenant Arnold Ayestas Paz told Landmine Monitor that the only area that is still mine affected is Choluteca province.[4] According to Lt. Ayestas, approximately 250 square kilometers of land are still mine-affected and awaiting mine clearance. However, the Article 7 report submitted by Honduras states that the total area that must be cleared is 98 square kilometers. It cites these locations in Choluteca: La Caguasca, Lomas Lota, Mogote, el Medio, El Variador, el Ojochal, El Roble.[5]

The mines were not planted by Hondurans, but by foreign combatants fighting over Nicaragua and El Salvador in the 1980s. Throughout the conflict between the Sandinistas and Contras, mines were planted on both sides of the Honduran-Nicaraguan border, mostly around electrical towers and bridges. There are no records of where the mines were laid.[6] Both the Contras and the Sandinistas relied on former Soviet bloc AP mines including Czechoslovakian-made PP-Mi-1 and PP-Mi-Sr-11 and Soviet-made PMN, PMN-2 and PMD-6M blast mines and Soviet-made POMZ-2 and POMZ-2M fragmentation mines.[7]

Prior to the clearance, the most heavily mine-affected areas of Honduras were El Paraiso and Choluteca provinces.[8] Mines have also been found in areas of the border with El Salvador.[9]

Mine Action Funding

The IADB coordinates the OAS Assistance Program for Demining in Central America (PADCA). This involves mine and UXO clearance programs in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, with fifteen demining platoons, each comprised of approximately 25 deminers. Honduras currently contributes personnel to PADCA. Since July 1999, in addition to Honduras, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Venezuela have contributed personnel.[10]

In 1999 the annual budget for the OAS regional program was $6 million and in 2000 it was $7.6 million, financed by Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.S. and the U.K.[11]

Mine Clearance

While it was hoped that mine clearance would be completed in the year 2000, delays caused by Hurricane Mitch have pushed this back until the end of the year 2001. The Army is currently clearing the last mine-affected areas. To date, 330,621 square meters of land has been cleared, and 2,231 mines and 51,364 metallic objects destroyed.[12] The Army of Honduras started mine clearance operations in September 1995 after a two-year training program conducted with the IADB. Mine clearance in Honduras is supervised by the Mission of Assistance for the Removal of Mines in Central America (MARMINCA) program of the OAS, which determines the national clearance plan with input from civilians living in mine-affected areas. Logistical support is provided by PADCA, which also provides mine awareness.[13]

Landmine Casualties

There are not believed to have been any mine casualties in this Landmine Monitor reporting period.[14] In September 1995, Honduran officials estimated that over 200 civilians had been killed in landmine accidents since 1990.[15] From March 1996 through September 1997, the IADB recorded 5 mine accidents involving civilians in Honduras.[16] Honduras has yet to conduct a comprehensive assessment of casualties resulting from mines or other artifacts of war.

Survivor Assistance

Honduras has only made minimal efforts in addressing the needs of landmine survivors and providing them with adequate treatment. Lt. Ayestas said, “To my knowledge there is no kind of assistance to mine victims.”[17]

On 11 January 1999 in Mexico City, representatives of Canada, Mexico and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a Joint Program for the Rehabilitation of Mine Victims in Central America.[18] The initiative includes a comprehensive effort by PAHO, which is being financed by an initial grant of 3.5 million Canadian dollars, to assess the needs of war victims and to begin to address them in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. According to Hernan Rosenberg of PAHO, the program will unfold in each country in four stages: assessing the number of victims; assessing individual’s specific prosthetics and rehabilitation needs; providing for treatment and rehabilitation; and reincorporating victims back into the workforce.[19]


[1] The U.S. has never produced an AP mine with this nomenclature. It is likely that the AP mine being referred to is the U.S. M14. Honduras is one of the few governments to report on Claymore-type mines.
[2] “Cumplimiento de la Convención de Ottawa: Comisión de expertos canadienses ayudará en la desactivación de los explosivos,” Tiempo Digital (Honduras newspaper), 3 March 2000.
[3] Interview with Inter-American Defense Board expert, Washington, D.C., 17 February 1999.
[4] Interview with Lieutenant Arnold Ayestas Paz, OAS International Supervisory Official, Guatemala City, 11 May 2000.
[5] Honduras Article 7 report, Form C, submitted 30 August 1999.
[6] Interview with Lieutenant Arnold Ayestas Paz, 11 May 2000.
[7] Jane’s Mines and Mine Clearance, on-line update, 18 November 1999.
[8] For more details, see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 256-257. Also, U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Landmine Crisis, December 1994, p. 99.
[9] Antipersonnel Mines in Central America: Conflict and post-conflict, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, January 1996, p. 14-15.
[10] Email from Jhosselin Bakhat, Organization of American States, 20 June 2000.
[11] Ibid.; “Demining” section of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy, Organization of American States, http://www.oas.org/upd/demining/demining.htm.
[12] “Results (as of 29 February 2000),” section of the Demining Assistance Program in Central America section of the OAS web site, www.oas.org
[13] Interview with Lieutenant Arnold Ayestas Paz, 11 May 2000.
[14] Ibid.
[15] UN landmine country report for Honduras, September 1995.
[16] OAS, Junta Interamericana de Defensa, Mision de Asistencia para Remoci∴n de Minas en Centro America, “Cuadro Demostrativo de Los Accidentes Ocurridos al Personal Civil que Vive en Las Areas Rurales de La Republica de Honduras,” September 1997.
[17] Interview with Lieutenant Arnold Ayestas Paz, 11 May 2000.
[18] Carta de la Mision Permanente de Mexico y la Mision Permanente de Canada al Presidente del Consejo Permanente de la Organizaci∴n de los Estados Americanos, Washington, D.C., a 3 de febrero de 1999. This letter builds on the OAS resolution, AG/RES. 1568 (XXVIII-O/98), “Support for the Mine-Clearing Program in Central America,” adopted on 2 June 1998.
[19] Interview with Hernan Rosenberg, Pan-American Health Organization, Washington, D.C., 18 February 1999.