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Country Reports
DJIBOUTI , Landmine Monitor Report 2001
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Key developments since May 2000: In February 2001, a National Mine Action Center was inaugurated in Djibouti. In November 2000, Djibouti hosted a conference on landmines for the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden states. Djibouti has not yet submitted its first Article 7 report, due in August 1999.

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Djibouti signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified it on 18 May 1998 and became a State Party on 1 March 1999. Djibouti has not reported the adoption of any domestic measures implementing the Mine Ban Treaty. It voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 55/33V in November 2000, which calls for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Djibouti did not attend the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in September 2000 in Geneva. While it participated in the December 2000 intersessional Standing Committee meetings, it did not attend the May 2001 meetings.

In November 2000, Djibouti hosted a conference on landmines for the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden states. Participants included eight countries from the region (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen), representatives from the governments of Canada, Egypt, France, Japan and the United States, representatives from the ICBL, International Committee of the Red Cross, IGAD, OAU, UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, and a number of mine action organizations. In the final declaration, the eight countries from the region “call on all parties to immediately cease and never to use antipersonnel mines,” “recommend the countries of the region who have not yet ratified the treaty on antipersonnel landmines do it, and for those not yet signed the treaty, to accede to it,” and “agree to recommend to our governments the creation of a regional center for research and training of antipersonnel landmines, to promote collective actions and concerted regional policies, and to develop InterAfrican cooperation in the field of mine clearance and mine victim assistance.”[1] Landmine Monitor researchers held a meeting parallel to this conference.

Djibouti also participated in the all-Africa Seminar on the Universalization and Implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty in Africa, held in Bamako, Mali, on 15-16 February 2001.

As of mid-July 2001, Djibouti had still not submitted its initial transparency report required by Mine Ban Treaty Article 7; the due date was 27 August 1999. Annual updates were required on 30 April 2000 and 30 April 2001. In February 2001, a local NGO, Association de Soutien aux Victimes des Mines (ASSOVIM), wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking that the government respect its obligations under the treaty.[2]

Djibouti is a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its original Protocol II, but has not ratified Amended Protocol II and did not participate in the Second Annual Conference of States Parties to the Amended Protocol.

Production, Transfer and Stockpiling

Djibouti has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Djibouti has a stockpile of antipersonnel mines, but the numbers and types of mines are not known. There are no indications that Djibouti has begun the process of stockpile destruction.

Landmine Problem

Djibouti’s landmine problem stems from its 1991-94 internal war. An initial study of landmine contamination in Djibouti, carried out by the United States Department of State,[3] indicated that the northern region of Obok was the most affected. On 15 February 2001, the Djibouti Minister of Defense declared that landmines were hampering economic activities in the entire country.[4]

Mine Action and Funding

Demining activities were undertaken from 1998-2000 by the Djibouti army in Tadjourah, within the palm grove area of Obok and along the communications sites in the northern and southern regions.[5]

On 15 February 2001, the government inaugurated the National Mine Action Center, which is supported by a bilateral military agreement between Djibouti and the United States. The center will provide basic training in demining.[6] It is located at Camp Lemonier.

The US provided a total of US$846,000 in its fiscal year 2000 (October 1999-September 2000) for mine action support for Djibouti. This was the first year the US provided mine action funding for Djibouti. The funds were used for equipment and training.[7]

In February 2001, it was reported that the UNDP provided US$500,000 for humanitarian mine clearance in the north to allow the passage of relief supplies for the drought-stricken populations.[8]

The ICRC, the Red Crescent Society of Djibouti, and ASSOVIM conducted a mine awareness campaign through local media, targeting civilians in the north of the country.[9]

Landmine Casualties and Survivor Assistance

No antipersonnel mine incidents have been reported since the signing in Paris on 7 February 2000 of the peace agreement between the Djibouti government and the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD). However, on 8 February 2001, an antitank mine blew up a military supply car in Obok, north of the capital, killing one soldier and injuring four others.[10]

The rough mountain terrain and lack of roads make evacuation of mine victims to medical facilities extremely difficult. In addition, facilities to treat mine victims are wholly inadequate.[11] During the November 2000 landmines conference in Djibouti, the government announced that the Ministry of Health has developed a medium-term action plan which plans over the coming three years to reduce the number of mine victims by monitoring and prevention, provide medical care and physical and psychological rehabilitation to all the victims, and set up a committee of line ministries, international organizations and mine victims associations to carry out rehabilitation work.[12]

The local ICRC office continues to play an active role in assisting mine victims.[13] Another local organization, “Assistance to the Handicapped,” of the Program for Reinsertion of Ex-combatants, which is financed by the World Bank, provides equipment, such as crutches and wheelchairs, and is planning to renovate the rehabilitation center for amputees in Peltier Hospital.[14]

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[1] “Declaration of the Conference of Djibouti on Antipersonnel Landmines, 18 November 2000,” adopted by representatives of the governments of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.
[2] Assovim letters to Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Parliament President, Military Adviser to the President, 17 February 2001.
[3] US State Department, Humanitarian Demining Country Plan for Djibouti, presented at the inauguration of the Djibouti Mine Action Center, 15 February 2001.
[4] Speech by the Minister of Defense during the inauguration of the Djibouti Mine Action Center, 15 February 2001.
[5] Information provided by the Djibouti National Army.
[6] US State Department, Humanitarian Demining Country Plan for Djibouti, presented at the inauguration of the Djibouti Mine Action Center, 15 February 2001.
[7] US Department of State, “Demining Program History,” 24 October 2000.
[8] “Alerte des Agences des Nations Unies aux Baillerurs de Fonds pour la secheresse a Djibouti,” 19 February 2001.
[9] Email from ICRC, Mines/Arms Unit, to Landmine Monitor, 6 July 2001.
[10] Information provided by ASSOVIM.
[11] Ministry of Health, “Medical Response,” November 2000.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Interview with Mustapha M. Barkad, ICRC, Djibouti office, 26 February 2001.
[14] Information provided by Secretariat du Programme de Reinsertion des Anciens Combattants, December 2000.