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


Liberia acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 23 December 1999. In a written response to Landmine Monitor’s question on the reason for the accession, Liberia’s Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Joe Mulbah, stated:

Liberia believes that landmines pose a perpetual threat to civil society. Its use is pernicious to the people. The gruesome use of landmines has today left the world with millions of amputees and maimed children. Coming out of a seven-year civil war in which landmines were used on a minimal scale, we saw the horrendous impact it had on our people. We pray that such devastation should never come our way as a people who have resolved never to experience war in our existence. We therefore support the global programme to eliminate landmines.[1]

Liberia is due to submit its Article 7 transparency measures report by 28 November 2000. Liberia did not attend the First Meeting of States Parties in Maputo in May 1999, nor has it participated in any intersessional meetings of the treaty. Liberia sponsored UN General Assembly Resolution 54/54B supporting the Mine Ban Treaty, but was not present for the vote on 1 December 1999. It is not a party to CCW nor is it a member of the Conference on Disarmament.

Liberia is not known to have produced or exported AP mines. There is concern that Liberia may serve as a transit point for weapons shipments to rebel groups in Sierra Leone, particularly to the Revolutionary United Front.[2]

It is assumed that Liberia maintains a stock of antipersonnel mines, but Landmine Monitor has not been able to confirm this. In 1999 Liberia conducted a weapons destruction program.[3] The exercise, which began on 25 July, involved the destruction of over 19,000 small and heavy caliber weapons, more than three million rounds of ammunition and some landmines collected by the UN and ECOMOG during the disarmament exercise in 1996-1997. A symbolic arms-burning act took place in Monrovia but the real weapons destruction occurred at an abandoned iron ore mine about forty miles northwest of the capital.[4]

There is no credible evidence of new use of AP mines in Liberia. However, it is not possible to assess if non-state actors in the north of the country possess or use landmines. Landmines were used in the nine-year civil war from 1989 to 1997. Rebel forces mined roads and ECOWAS Ceasefire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) forces planted minefields around their installations. Areas such as the currently unstable province of Lofta County were affected.[5] Mines were also used in Monrovia (in the Paynesville area), Capemount and Bong Mines. Prior to the 1997 multiparty elections, mines were found in the private residences of various warlords.[6]

While the U.S. Department of State had previously listed Liberia as mine-affected, in 1998 it revised its assessment and declared the country mine-free.[7] The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, an NGO concerned with human rights and humanitarian issues, has expressed its concern about the possibility of a remaining landmine problem and has been unable to verify that Liberia is now landmine-free.[8]

Some hospitals and clinics are up and running again in several parts of the country and the two prosthesis workshops in Ganta and Monrovia have been reactivated.[9] The main JFK hospital in Monrovia has a small outpatient clinic. In general the facilities are limited due to the destruction and looting during the civil war.


[1] Statement by Joe Mulbah, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Republic of Liberia, undated, faxed to Landmine Monitor/Human Rights Watch, 31 July 2000.
[2] Telephone interviews with diplomatic sources, Monrovia and Freetown, 20 July 2000.
[3] On 4 June 1999 President Charles Taylor set up a committee to oversee the destruction of these weapons, which had been stored at the Liberian Industrial Free Zone Authority. Radio Liberia International, Monrovia, in English 0700 gmt, 4 June 1999.
[4] Associated Press, 27 August 2000; “UN: Secretary-General welcomes on 18 October weapons destruction program in Liberia,” M2 Presswire, 20 October 1999. The destruction process was filmed by a Norwegian film company, TV Communication; interview with TV Communication director Bjorn Roar Bye, Oslo, 11 November 1999.
[5] A Monrovia-based lawyer interviewed by Dutch-freelance journalist Bram Posthumus in March 2000 stated that in 1997, twenty-five landmines were retrieved and destroyed in Voinjama area of Lofa County.
[6] Information provided to Landmine Monitor by Dutch freelance journalist Bram Posthumus, who assessed the landmines situation in Liberia in March 2000.
[7] U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers, September 1998, p.A-2.
[8] Interview with John Stewart, Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Monrovia, March 2000.
[9] Information provided to Landmine Monitor by journalist Bram Posthumus.