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


Mine Ban Policy

Although it signed the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) on 4 December 1997, Poland has said that it is not likely to ratify the treaty in the foreseeable future. At the First Meeting of States Parties to the MBT in May 1999, head of delegation Zbigniew Szymanski, Director of UN Political Affairs for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spelled out the reasons for this position. Noting Poland's "particular geostrategic situation," he said that while showing support for the MBT by signing it, states "can not neglect the other side of the anti-personnel landmines problem, the Convention has also considerable security implications."[1]

In February 2000, the government said "the treaty has not been ratified yet because neither the US, nor China, nor, what is more important, Russia or other of Poland's eastern neighbors has done so." [2] A distinction was made between the "humanitarian" rationale for signing the MBT and the "security" rationale for not ratifying it, stating that the security rationale will only be satisfied when these other states ratify the MBT.[3] As an example of the security side, in March 2000 Bronislaw Komorowski, Chairman of the Sejm Commission for National Defense (a parliamentary committee) cited the conflict in Chechnya as a positive example of the utility of mines.[4]

In its report to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Poland also set out three conditions which must be fulfilled to make it possible to ratify the Convention: that all main producers and permanent members of the UN Security Council should join the Convention, that all neighboring countries of Poland should join the Convention, and that the Polish Army have alternatives for the weapon.[5] One observer noted that according to some Polish diplomats this will remain the case until at least 2006, the year that the United States has proposed to join the MBT.[6]

Government representatives attended meetings of each of the Standing Committee of Experts (SCE), except for Mine Clearance. Poland also participated in the regional landmine conferences in Zagreb in June 1999 and Ljubljana in June 2000.

Poland voted in favor of United Nations General Assembly resolutions supporting a ban on landmines in 1996, 1997, and 1998, and co-sponsored and voted for the 1999 resolution supporting universalization of the MBT. During the 1999 debate in the UN First Committee, Poland associated itself with the European Union statement that "emphasized the importance of a full and speedy implementation of the Ottawa Convention."[7]

Poland is a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons but has not ratified its Amended Protocol II (1996). It attended the First Conference of States Parties to the Amended Protocol II in December 1999 as an observer. In the same month Poland reported to the OSCE that all ministries and institutions supported ratification of Amended Protocol II, and expected formal ratification in early 2000."[8]

The government continues to view the Conference on Disarmament (CD) as the appropriate forum for dealing with landmines. In a statement before the Conference, Bronislaw Geremek, Minister of Foreign Affairs, indicated that "a global ban on transfers of anti-personnel landmines...would be a fitting theme for the Conference on Disarmament" and insisted that Poland regarded the CD "as the principle, indeed sole, multilateral disarmament negotiating body of the international community."[9] It has also argued that a transfer ban in the CD would contribute to keeping landmines out of the hands of "non-governmental forces and terrorist groups."[10]

Production, Transfer and Stockpile

Poland has produced at least one type of antipersonnel landmine, the PSM-1,[11] but has stated on more than one occasion that its production stopped in the mid-1980s.[12] An export ban was first enacted in 1995 and has been extended indefinitely.[13] The size and composition of Poland’s AP mine stockpile is unknown. In May 2000 a Foreign Ministry official stated that the stockpile of AP mines is small and kept solely for reasons of national security.[14]

Mine Action

The government reported in 1998 that Poland is not mine-affected but may still have a problem with unexploded ordnance (UXO) from World War II.[15] By 1985 Poland had disposed of over eighty-eight million items of UXO, including fifteen million mines.[16]

The Foreign Ministry reports that Poland has provided training and assistance for demining and rehabilitation of mine victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Lebanon.[17] Poland also sent specialists to demining training programs in Albania and Yemen, and granted $10,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1999, in support of victim assistance operations.[18] Poland has also played an active role in humanitarian demining via the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and NATO's Partnership for Peace.[19] It has not contributed to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Mine Action.


[1] Statement by Mr. Zbigniew Szymanski, Director of UN Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at First Meeting of States Parties (FMSP) to the Mine Ban Treaty, Maputo, Mozambique, 3-7 May 1999.
[2] Letter from Zbigniew Szymanski, Director of UN Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Piotr M. Hajac, 10 February 2000.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Pawel Wronski, "Straight Face for Bad Mine," Gazeta Wyborcza, 7 March 2000.
[5] Report of the Mission of Poland to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), 14 December 1999, p. 1.
[6] Pawel Wronski, "Straight Face for Bad Mine," Gazeta Wyborcza, 7 March 2000.
[7] Statement by the European Union and the Associated Countries, UN First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, 1999 General Debate, 11-20 October 1999; available at: http://www.acronym.org.uk/unfccomp.htm.
[8] Report to the OSCE, 14 December 1999.
[9] “‘Security has to be a Common Commodity which is Assured to All,’ Polish Foreign Minister Tells Conference on Disarmament,” Press Release DCF/364, Conference on Disarmament, 23 March 1999.
[10] Statement by Mr. Zbigniew Szymanski, FMSP, May 1999.
[11] U.S. Department of Defense, “Mine Facts” CD ROM.
[12] United Nations General Assembly, “Report of the Secretary-General: Moratorium on the export of antipersonnel landmines,” A/50/701, 3 November 1995, p. 3; Statement by Mr. Zbigniew Szymanski, FMSP, May 1999.
[13] “Report of the Secretary-General Moratorium on the export of antipersonnel landmines,” A/50/701, 3 November 1995, p. 3; Report to the OSCE, 14 December 1999.
[14] Telephone interview with Mr. Tomaszewski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Warsaw, 18 May 2000. In addition to AP mines, Human Rights Watch has identified several antivehicle mines produced and stockpiled by Poland that may have antipersonnel capabilities, and thus may be prohibited by the MBT. These include the MN-111, MN-121, MN-123 and MPP-B antivehicle mines. See, Human Rights Watch Fact Sheet, “Antivehicle Mines with Antihandling Devices,” January 2000.
[15] Statement of Mr. Kazimierz Tomaszewki to Budapest Conference, 26-28 March 1998; available at: http:www.un.org.Depts/Landmines/index.html.
[16] Arthur H. Westing, “Explosive Remnants of War: an Overview,” in Arthur H. Westing, Ed., Explosive Remnants of War: Mitigating the Environmental Effects, (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and UN Environment Programme, 1985), p. 6.
[17] Statement by Mr. Zbigniew Szymanski, FMSP, May 1999.
[18] Report to the OSCE, 14 December 1999, p. 3.
[19] Interview with Grzegorz Poznanski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4 February 2000.