+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
NORWAY, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: Norway contributed US$ 21.7 million to mine action in 1999. Norway played a leading role in the establishment and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty intersessional work program.

Mine Ban Policy

Norway ratified the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) in June 1998 and deposited its instrument of ratification with the United Nations on 9 July 1998. National legislation was passed in the parliament on 16 June 1998.

The treaty is seen as a central instrument in Norwegian foreign policy. In a speech marking its entry into force, the Minister of International Assistance and Human Rights Hilde Frafjord Johnson stated that “1 March 1999 will be remembered as one of the most important milestones on the road towards a world free of the effects of anti-personnel landmines.”[1] On numerous occasions, Norwegian authorities have stressed that the MBT is the platform for Norwegian policy on the issue, and that Norway is committed to the success of the treaty. A key element of this policy has been to stress the importance of including NGOs in the process, both in national politics and in the international diplomatic effort: “We must vigorously follow up the partnerships between governmental and non-governmental actors and between North and South so successfully developed during the Ottawa process.”[2] Following this view, the Norwegian official delegation to the First Meeting of States Parties (FMSP) in Maputo in May 1999 included a representative from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), as well as support for active NGO participation in the political process.

Norway played a very active role in the FMSP. Its delegation was led by the Minister of International Development and Human Rights. In her opening statement, the Minister called for the establishment of an intersessional work program, a recommendation that was adopted by the states parties.[3] As the key architect of the intersessional program, Norway has been very actively involved, attending all meetings of the Standing Committees of Experts (SCE). At the SCE meeting on General Status and Operation of the Convention, Norway was one of the governments which reiterated the understanding of the treaty’s definitions that antivehicle mines with antihandling devices which function like AP mines – which may explode from an unintentional act of a person -- are banned under the MBT. The government supported a proposal to form an informal expert group to examine the antivehicle mine issue.[4]

For the period following the Second Meeting of States Parties, Norway has been proposed as rapporteur for the SCE on General Status and Operation of the Convention, and has been nominated for the presidency of the SMSP in September 2000. Norwegian NGOs, the Red Cross and NPA, have been supported in their participation in the intersessional work, as has the ICBL.

Norway submitted its initial Article 7 report on 26 August 1999, covering the period 1 March 1999 to 26 August 1999. Norway has not submitted its second Article 7 report, for calendar year 1999, due 30 April 2000. The first report has two troubling aspects: U.S. antipersonnel mines stockpiled in Norway, and AP mines retained for training. (See below) Norway was the only States Parties where U.S. AP mines are stored to report the existence of U.S. stocks in the Article 7 report. Although the treaty requires reporting on type and quantity of all stockpiled mines “under its jurisdiction or control,” Norway did not provide any details: “There are pre-stocked US mines on Norwegian territory. Due to previously concluded agreements, information on pre-stocked military material is not available for reporting.”[5] The U.S. AP mines are stockpiled on territory under Norwegian jurisdiction, in stores under Norwegian jurisdiction; this was a crucial point made explicit when the U.S. stores were established in 1981.[6]

When Norwegian officials have visited foreign countries, it has been standard procedure to include issues related to the Mine Ban Treaty on the agenda of these visits.[7] The MBT is also regularly raised when representatives of foreign governments visit Norway, as well as in various international meetings and conferences. The government has formally protested against the new use of AP mines in Angola, through its ambassador in Luanda.[8]

However, in other Norwegian foreign policy initiatives, such as in the conflict settlement efforts in the Middle East, Sri Lanka and West Africa, the issue of landmines is not a priority. Only a small group of officials is involved in landmine policy, and there is no formal position such as “Mine Action Ambassador.” Government agencies have published little on the landmine issue and the official website ODIN[9] only presents archival documents.

Norway responded positively to Landmine Monitor Report 1999. Norwegian authorities have on several occasions praised the Landmine Monitor initiative for its accuracy, scope and independence, and pointed to the role this project has in successful implementation of the MBT.

In December 1999 Norway voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 54/54B promoting the MBT, as it has with previous pro-ban UNGA resolutions.

Norway has stated that it “does not regard the Conference on Disarmament as an appropriate forum for dealing with anti-personnel landmines, given that there are already two instruments specifically designed for this purpose (Protocol II and the Mine Ban Convention).” [10] Norway is a party to Amended Protocol II (1996) of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, and has complied with the Article 13 reporting requirement. Although it attended the States Parties meeting in December 1999, it did not make a statement, as it regards the MBT as the primary international norm on mine issues.


Production of AP mines, as defined by the MBT, is illegal in Norway. In its comments on the law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted: “[T]he ban is on production of anti-personnel mines and components to APMs, as long as it is clear what end-purpose the component has and that it is difficult to imagine alternative use of the components. Other parts, such as explosives or chemicals, that on a later stage may be used for many other ends than APMs, do not fall under the ban, unless it is clear that production of APMs is the final end.”[11]

According to the Norwegian Institute for Defense Research, no research is done in Norway on munitions that may function as AP mines, or on antitank mines and cluster munitions.[12] Norway participates in the NATO SAS-023-group, studying the consequences of the AP mine ban and possible technological alternatives that do not have the negative effects of AP mines. The focus of the work is operational studies and technical evaluations. This group is led by the United States and has been in progress for about a year and a half, and plans to continue for another year.[13]


Norway has reserved the right to import Claymore-type directional fragmentation mines (officially termed “sector charges”) and has imported them as recently as in 1997, from the Austrian company Hintenberger/Südsteirische Metallindustrie. Use of Claymore mines when detonated by tripwire is clearly prohibited by the MBT; use of Claymore mines in command-detonation mode by an operator (i.e. not victim-activated) is permitted. Thus, Norway argues that new purchases of Claymores are not ruled out. Research in Austria has shown that the Claymores imported by Norway in 1997 were probably not physically modified to remove the prohibited mode of detonation.[14] But since then, Claymore mines have been modified so that they cannot be used with a tripwire.

Landmine Monitor Report 1999 detailed concerns on Norway’s position on the issue of transit – another country transporting AP mines across the territory of a states party. Norway has continued to hold that transit is permissible under the treaty; Norway defines transfer as a two-step operation, involving both the physical movement of mines and the transfer of property rights. Hence Norway has chosen a position that will allow the U.S. to move its stockpiled AP mines both out and in from the stores in Norway, without any Norwegian interference.[15]

This was particularly relevant during the air war against Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999. If they had wanted to, the U.S. military could have transported AP mines from the stores in Norway for use in Yugoslavia. In the view of the Norwegian Campaign to Ban Landmines, this would have constituted a violation of Article 1 of the MBT. Norwegian nongovernmental organizations continue to raise this issue with authorities. The new Labor Government, which took over from the Central-Christian Coalition in March 2000, has not given any signals of change in this position. A number of States Parties, as well as the ICRC and ICBL, have publicly stated that they view such transit of antipersonnel mines as a violation of the treaty.[16]

Stockpiling and Destruction

According to official sources, all Norwegian AP mines were destroyed in October 1996.[17] This does not include the Claymore-type AP mines that have been rebuilt for command-detonated mode by LIAB in Sweden. This conversion started in the fall of 1998, and is now finished.[18]

In its Article 7 report, Norway reported that it was not retaining any mines for training or research purposes, as permitted under Article 3. When questions were raised in several Standing Committee of Experts meetings by the ICBL, ICRC and others about the need for, and the number of, mines being retained by some States, Norway spoke forcefully on this issue, emphasizing that its armed forces did not require any live mines for training or research purposes.

Thus, it came as an unwelcome surprise when Norwegian People’s Aid received a letter from the Ministry of Defense in June 2000 stating that the Army has “kept a very limited number of APMs. The number is per date less than 100 units.”[19] The MoD wrote that the AP mines are for training of personnel participating in international operations. It is not clear whether the MoD had these mines at the time Norway submitted its Article 7 report or if they were acquired later. The MoD letter adds that it is importing a limited number of AP mines from areas where Norwegian military personnel are going to operate,[20] and a MoD official explained that there are no particular procedures for notifying other government agencies when the MoD imports AP mines.[21]

Parallel to ratification, an understanding between Norway and the United States was reached regarding the presence of U.S.-controlled stockpiles of arms in Norway under which the government will not report on the U.S. mines stored in Norway, and will permit them to remain in Norway for the maximum four-year period from entry into force for retaining stockpiles, as stipulated by Article 4 of the MBT.[22] According to information provided to Human Rights Watch, in 1997 the U.S. had 123,084 ADAM mines stored in Norway. ADAM comes in a 155mm projectile with each projectile holding 36 individual ADAM mines.[23]


Norway has reserved the right to future use of Claymore-type AP mines in command-detonated mode. Antipersonnel landmines were an integrated part of official Norwegian defense policy until the national ban in 1995. It has been difficult to verify to what extent minefields were actually deployed inside Norway. However, there is no reason to believe that there are any minefields left in Norway.[24] According to the MoD, its training of military personnel has been modified to comply with the international treaties to which Norway is party.[25]

Norwegian military forces can participate in joint operations with non-MBT members, as long as Norwegian personnel do not take part in the use of AP mines or assist the non-signatories in doing so. However, the formulations are vague on this. In a letter to Norwegian People’s Aid on the issue, the Ministry of Defense writes that: “Norway will fulfill its NATO-commitments even if other NATO-countries will use anti-personnel mines on a tactical level. Norwegian soldiers will however not bring nor actively deploy anti-personnel mines.”[26] It has not been possible to get precise information on how the MoD defines the term actively deploy.

Humanitarian Mine Action

The government is a major contributor to humanitarian mine action programs. Norwegian NGOs, private sector, academic institutions and the military forces are engaged in various ways in mine action. The obligations of the MBT also constitute a framework for its financial support for mine action programs. For example, Norway primarily will support mine action programs in countries that signed and ratified the treaty, or signaled intention to do so. It is part of the Mine Action Support Group of donor countries at the UN in New York.


In 1997, the government committed to contributing US$120 million to mine action activities over a five-year period.[27] The funding is mainly from two public sources: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Norwegian Agency for International Development (NORAD). As Norway’s fiscal year follows the calendar year, Table 1 covers the whole of 1999. Monetary contributions in 1999 totaled $21,694,679.

Table 1. Overview of Norwegian support for mine action 1999[28]
A. By Country

in US$
Integrated mine action
UN Afghanistan Emergency Trust Fund, UNOCHA, UNDP
Clearance, survey, victim assistance
Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA), Trauma Care Foundation (TCF)
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Clearance, awareness, victim assistance
NPA, Norwegian Institute for Public Health, Helping Hand, International Trust Fund
Coordination, clearance
Victim assistance
Clearance, victim assistance
Victim assistance, clearance
Government of Jordan
Clearance, EOD
Victim assistance
Norwegian Red Cross (NRC)
TMAC, Survey Action Center, NPA
Awareness, clearance
Yemen Mine Awareness Association, UNDP
Clearance, coordination
UN Trust Fund for Mine Action, NPA

B. By Region

Mine awareness –
Western Sahara
Mine awareness, Peru/Equador border
Asociacion Latinamericana para los Derechos Humanos
Asia– Pacific
Ban advocacy, Caucasus

C. Thematic

Contribution to UNMAS
UN secretariat
Impact of mine action programs
FMSP, Maputo
UN secretariat
Regional workshop in Lebanon
Advocacy & Outreach
Follow-up of Mine Ban Treaty
Evaluation of mine action programs
Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining
Mine action specialist to MFA
Henriksen Consulting
Victim Assistance
Integration of victims in national health programs
Victim Assistance
ICRC mine victims appeal

In addition to these governmental contributions, NGOs raise funds from the general public for mine action projects. It is difficult to quantify these amounts. The major mine action NGO in Norway, Norwegian People’s Aid, also receives funds from non-Norwegian sources. For Angola, NPA received donations from USAID, Danish, Dutch and Swedish Ministries of Foreign Affairs, World Food Program, and the oil exploration companies Statoil and British Petroleum. For Mozambique, NPA received donations from Danish International Development Agency, Swedish International Development Agency and Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; for Bosnia and Herzegovina from AustCare; and for the West Bank & Gaza from The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. For Kosovo, an anonymous donation was received.


Although Norway still has not formalized a written policy on contributions for mine action, there is a practice in place based on the MBT, which is reinforced by two Foreign Ministry working-memos from 1998. A comprehensive policy for mine action funding is reported to be ready in the fall of 2000.[29] Norway has a policy of supporting mine-affected areas, primarily in countries that are either party to the MBT or that have signaled a willingness to join. There is also a policy of “rewarding” countries that have joined the MBT.

However, the Foreign Ministry has also said that they have an obligation to support programs that started up prior to the MBT and will follow these up within reasonable limits. Recognizing that some mine-affected areas cannot be party to the MBT, for example Northern Iraq/Kurdistan, the Foreign Ministry has signaled that support for mine action programs will continue. In general, Norway does not support research into mine detection or clearance technologies from money allocated for mine action. There is no formal body coordinating Norwegian contributions to mine action, but there are ongoing informal communications between the NORAD and the Foreign Ministry.

Non-governmental Organizations

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) is the largest agency involved in mine action in Norway. Starting with mine clearance in Cambodia in 1992, it now has mine-related programs in Angola, Mozambique, Western Sahara, Palestine, Kurdistan/Northern Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. In addition, NPA has undertaken mine awareness campaigns among war refugees from the Balkans in Norway. It is actively engaged in international advocacy for the MBT and has been a member of the Coordination Committee of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) since 1998. In 1999, NPA housed the ICBL Resource Center in Oslo. NPA is also in the Core Group of the Landmine Monitor initiative, and thematic coordinator for humanitarian mine action in this project. As a field organization, NPA is involved in various research and development initiatives, with private and public sectors, but the agency is not undertaking such projects alone.

The Norwegian Red Cross is involved in victim assistance projects, working in close cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross. In Norway, the Red Cross has played a vital role in advocacy, with particular emphasis on the legal and humanitarian side of landmines.

The Trauma Care Foundation is a Norwegian agency with chapters in Cambodia, Northern Iraq and Angola, which coordinates local victim assistance programs, provides medical teachers and helps develop local teaching aids. The Tromsoe Mine Victim Resource Center was established in November 1999 to coordinate research and training programs for pre-hospital mine and war victim assistance. It is also a support center for Trauma Care Foundation and distributes teaching aids, photo documentation and books. With Third World Network, it recently published a 200-page handbook, Save Lives – Save Limbs.

Research and Development (R&D)

There are several R&D initiatives in Norway involving practitioners, industry and academic institutions. Norwegian Demining Consortium (NoDeCo) is a group of Norwegian industrial companies that has developed a small mechanical mine clearance vehicle called MineCat. NoDeCo has cooperated with NPA on its development, and the vehicle is now operational in Kosovo. The funding for this has been private.

The Defense Research Institute (FFI) is involved in studies on molecules emanating from AP mines buried in the soil, in order to improve the use of dogs in mine clearance. FFI is also cooperating with the Norwegian Competence Center on mine-searching dogs, in a project aimed at establishing certification procedures. The Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining is involved in this. FFI has conducted a study on the environmental impact of mechanical mine clearance for NPA. FFI is funded outside the Foreign Ministry program of mine action grants.

The Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (SINTEF) is involved in a large European Union program developing ground-penetrating radar to be used in combination with a metal detector to locate mines. This project is still in its research phase, and includes partners such as Schiebel in Germany and Celsius in Sweden. The research is funded outside the Foreign Ministry program of mine action grants.[30]

Nordic Demining Research Forum (NDRF)[31] is a coordination initiative, with participation from industry, academic institutions and mine action operators. NDRF aims at stimulating R&D into improved demining efficiency and safety through promotion of cooperation between operator, R&D and industry, initiating cross-border and cross-sector R&D between companies and institutions in Nordic countries. The work is funded from a variety of sources.

The Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) hosts the research project Assistance to Mine Affected Communities (AMAC). The AMAC project undertakes studies of mine-affected communities with the aim of further exploring opportunities to build on local resources and competence in humanitarian mine action. The project is based on the conviction that improved assistance to mine-affected communities must start with a deeper understanding of local responses to landmines. AMAC has published a series of papers on the issue called Landmine Memos[32] and is partially funded by the Mine Action Grant from Norway.

Mine Awareness and Victim Assistance

Norwegian People’s Aid has been giving mine awareness courses for Kosovar refugees in Norway since July 1999; they have been offered a one-day course before returning to Kosovo. To date, some 5,000 individuals have gone through this course. Written material on mine awareness in Kosovar was produced during the summer and autumn of 1999. NPA is now producing a film on mine awareness in Kosovo, due to be finalized in July 2000. These activities have been financed by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, with NOK 600,000 ($69,000), outside the Foreign Ministry program of mine action grants.

In Norwegian mine action policy, victim assistance is seen as an integral part of humanitarian mine action, and some $4,566,000 of the mine action grants in 1999 was earmarked for various victim assistance projects. However, recent thinking in NORAD and the Foreign Ministry is that projects directed towards landmine victims should be more integrated with overall health service initiatives.[33] The major initiative on victim assistance is the newly established Tromsoe Mine Victim Resource Center, at the Tromsoe University Hospital.[34]


[1] Opening Statement, Ms. Hilde Frafjord Johnsen, Minister of International Assistance and Human Rights, Seminar on the Entry into Force on 1 March 1999 of the Mine Ban Convention, Nobel Institute, Oslo, 1 March 1999.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Statement of Ms. Hilde Frafjord Johnsen, Minister of International Assistance and Human Rights, First Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Maputo, Mozambique, 3-7 May 1999.
[4] Oral statement of the Norwegian Delegation, Standing Committee of Experts on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, Switzerland, 10-11 January 2000. See also, Human Rights Watch Fact Sheet, “Antivehicle mines with antihandling devices,” 10 January 2000.
[5] Article 7 Report, Form B, 26 August 1999.
[6] The non-governmental organization Norwegian People’s Aid sent a letter of complaint about the non-reporting on U.S. AP mines in Norway to Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik on 7 September 1999, to which there has been no reply.
[7] Interview with Svein Henriksen, Mine Action Consultant, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 May 2000.
[8] Interview with Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 May 2000.
[9] ODIN is available at: www.odin.dep.no.
[10] Report of the Permanent Delegation of Norway to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), 1 February 2000, p. 3.
[11] Paper No. 72 (1997–98) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Parliament, p. 2, (advice on ratification of MBT; unofficial translation).
[12] Telephone interview with Bjarne Haugstad, Research Director, Institute for Defense Research, 21 June 2000.
[13] Ibid.
[14] See report on Austria in this edition of the Landmine Monitor Report 2000
[15] Paper No. 73 (1997–98) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Parliament, 5,2.32, (advice on ratification of MBT; unofficial translation). In a 20 May 1998 letter to Secretary of State Albright, then Foreign Minister Vollebaek stated “Norway will not oppose the transit of U.S. mines over Norwegian territory...since transit is not prohibited by the Ottawa convention.” He also said, “The United States will be able to transport mines both in and out of the storages in Norway during this four-year period.”
[16] This issue was discussed at the January and May 2000 meetings of the Standing Committee of Experts on the General Status and Operation of the Convention.
[17] Report to the OSCE, 1 February 2000.
[18] Letter to Norwegian People’s Aid from the Ministry of Defense, 28 June 2000.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Telephone interview with Ministry of Defense, 29 June 2000.
[22] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 639-670. The 20 May 1998 letter from Vollebaek to Albright stated, “US anti-personnel mines and mixed munitions may remain prepositioned in Norway during this four-year period [after entry into force].”
[23] Information provided to Human Rights Watch by U.S. Government sources, March 1999.
[24] Article 7 Report, Form C, 26 August 1999.
[25] Letter to Norwegian People’s Aid from the Ministry of Defense, 28 June 2000.
[26] Ibid. (unofficial translation).
[27] Letter from Minister of Foreign Affairs Vollbaek to NPA, 6 July 1998.
[28] Data on funding from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 2000; a detailed breakdown of these contributions is available on the UN Mine Action Investment database; abbreviations: UNOCHA – UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, UNDP – UN Development Program, CMAC – Cambodia Mine Action Center, WEU – Western Union, OAS- Organization of American States, TMA – Thailand Mine Action Center, IPPNW – International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, AMAC – Assistance to Mine-Affected Communities, PRIO - Peace Research Institute of Oslo, WHO – World Health Organization.
[29] Email from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 29 June 2000.
[30] Ibid.
[31] For more information, see: www.nfdr.dk
[32] Letter from AMAC; see also: www.prio.no/amac.
[33] Ministry of Foreign Affairs meeting with NGOs, Oslo, 7 June 2000.
[34] Third World Network, Save Lives, Save Limbs, (Penang: Third World Network, 2000), ISBN 983-9747-42-8; see also: tmc@rito.no.