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Country Reports
CHILE, Landmine Monitor Report 2002


Key developments since May 2001: Chile ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 10 September 2001. The Chilean Army destroyed 14,000 stockpiled antipersonnel mines on 13 September 2001. Chile has announced that 50 percent of its stockpile will be destroyed by August 2002, and the rest by the end of 2003. A National Demining Commission has been established. Landmine Monitor field research has revealed problems with inadequate fencing and warning signs for minefields in some areas.


Chile signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 10 September 2001. The treaty entered into force for Chile on 1 March 2002. A promulgation of the Mine Ban Treaty was signed on 4 January 2002, and was published in the Official Gazette on 9 March 2002. This decree makes the Mine Ban Treaty binding domestically, but does not include penal sanctions or other measures specifically aimed at implementing the provisions of the treaty.[1]

Chile’s initial Article 7 transparency report is due by 28 August 2002.

Chile attended the Third Meeting of States Parties in Nicaragua in September 2001 as an observer. During the general exchange of views, Chile stated its commitment to comply with the Mine Ban Treaty’s requirements as soon as possible.[2]

On 9 September 2001, the Chile-Perú Permanent Committee on Consultations and Policy Coordination, which was established in July 2001, met for the first time, with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense of both countries participating.[3] One of the first measures agreed on was to hold simultaneous stockpile destruction events on 13 September 2001 in Calama, Chile and Pucusana, Perú.[4] The Ministers agreed on a ten-point declaration that included a commitment to eradicate landmines from their common border as soon as possible.[5]

In November 2001, Chile voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 56/24M promoting the Mine Ban Treaty, as it had done on similar pro-ban resolutions in recent years. During the UNGA First Committee debate, Chile announced its ratification of the treaty, reiterated its commitment to converting the region to a mine-free zone and stressed the need for universalization of the treaty.[6]

In late November 2001, Soledad Alvear, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs proposed that “human security” be addressed regionally, and cited the campaign to eliminate landmines as an excellent example of how to tackle an issue that affects individual countries, but that also has regional and international transcendence.[7]

Chile attended intersessional Standing Committee meetings in January and May 2002, with representatives from its Geneva mission and the Ministry of Defense.

Some Chilean politicians have voiced concern that before initiating mine clearance efforts, Chile first needs to determine new ways to efficiently defend its borders. In November 2001, Senator Julio Canessa said landmines are necessary to protect Chile against possible aggression from neighboring countries, and also said that because mines are laid in unpopulated areas, the only civilians hurt by them are those trying to avoid border controls.[8] During fieldwork in mine-affected regions, Landmine Monitor encountered similar attitudes. One border control police lieutenant said Chile would be defenseless once the mines are removed from the border.[9]

Chile is not a State Party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but participated in the third annual meeting of States Parties to Amended Protocol II of the CCW, as an observer, as well as the Second CCW Review Conference, both in Geneva in December 2001.

The Institute for Political Ecology (IEP, Instituto de Ecología Política) joined the ICBL in December 2001. It has published a series of articles about Chile’s landmine problem on its website.[10] In December 2001, IEP offered to host the 2002 regional Landmine Monitor and ICBL meeting in Chile during the Fifth Meeting of Defense Ministers of the Americas (18-23 November 2002).


According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile has not produced or exported antipersonnel mines since 1985.[11] It had previously produced at least six different types of antipersonnel mines.[12] Both the Army’s Fabricaciones Militares (FAMAE) and Industrias Cardoen, a private company, manufactured the mines.[13] In 1975, Chile imported 300,000 M-14 antipersonnel mines from the United States.[14] On 26 April 1999, Chile declared an official moratorium on the production, export, and use of new antipersonnel mines.[15]


The total number of antipersonnel mines stockpiled by Chile will be made known when it submits its Article 7 Report (due 28 August 2002). Estimates of 22,000 and 25,000 stockpiled mines have been given to Landmine Monitor in the past.[16]

At the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction on 30 May 2002, Chile stated that 50 percent of its stockpiled antipersonnel mines would be destroyed by August 2002 and the remaining half would be destroyed before the end of 2003, more than two years before the four-year treaty deadline of 1 March 2006.[17] Chile also stated that it had already destroyed 16,000 antipersonnel mines. On 6 November 2000, the Chilean Navy destroyed 2,000 M-16 (US) antipersonnel mines in Puerto Aldea in Region IV, at a cost of US$50,000.[18] On 13 September 2001, the Chilean Army destroyed 14,000 M-14 (US) and M-35 (Belgium) antipersonnel mines in Calama.[19]

The Calama destruction took place at the same time as an event in Pucusana, Perú, which marked completion of Perú’s stockpile destruction. The events were intended to symbolize the desire of both countries to reduce defense spending.[20] The Commander-in-Chief of Chile’s Army Ricardo Izurieta, Minister of Defense Mario Fernández, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Soledad Alvear, presided over the event. Alvear described the destruction as showing Chile’s commitment to peace, security, human rights, and its rejection of violence and terrorism.[21]


Chile has a significant landmine problem, but no systematic or comprehensive assessment or survey has taken place to determine the extent of the problem or the impact on civilians living in mine-affected areas. The Army has reported 293 minefields, located in Regions I and II in the north of the country, and in Region XII in the south, potentially affecting 17 municipalities, including three major urban centers (Arica, Calama, and Antofagasta).[22]

The National Forestry Service (CONAF) again confirmed to Landmine Monitor that there are mined areas in six government-protected wilderness areas in Regions I, II, and XII.[23] In addition, an explosive object was found in Villarica National Park in Region IX, far from the park’s publicly accessible areas; it is unknown if the object was an antipersonnel mine.[24] No park rangers or visitors have ever been injured or killed by landmines.[25]

Landmine Monitor visited a series of minefields in Region I in northern Chile. At the “Portezuelo Cerro Capitán” minefield, 83 kilometers from Colchane, many signs and fences identifying the land as a mine-affected had been destroyed or cut down, apparently quite recently, meaning that any person or animal could enter.[26] The minefield was laid right up to the edge of both sides of an interior road that connects two Aymara communities.

At the “Paso Huailla” minefield, 48 kilometers from Colchane, fencing and signs were in an acceptable state.[27] At the “Paso Apacheta de Tillujalla” minefield, 79 kilometers from Colchane, Landmine Monitor observed very old signs with fencing that looked new, but loose.[28] At the “Apacheta de Oje” minefield, 86 kilometers from Colchane, the signs and fencing were new and in good condition.[29]

Landmine Monitor field researchers were told in northern Chile that animals grazing along the border are still stepping on landmines and being killed, thereby affecting the local economy.[30]

Landmine Monitor field research in Region XII in southern Chile verified a number of minefields located in strategic areas throughout the region. However, local people do not consider these minefields to be a problem, and no mine incidents have been reported in this region. No one interviewed considered landmines as a hindrance to economic activity, since the minefields are generally located on private land used for sheep and cattle grazing, and the area of land is so enormous (92,000 hectares, for example), that if two hectares are mined, it makes almost no difference.[31]

Minefields are such a part of daily life in Region XII that everyone notices them, but almost nobody knows they could possibly be dangerous. Some fields are located adjacent to highways. The worst incidents involving landmines concern livestock that enter mined areas. All of the minefields viewed during the field research were double-fenced, although some were not very well marked. In general, the marking and fencing was in much better condition that that observed in the north of the country.[32]


On 3 October 2001, the Chilean government announced the creation of a National Demining Commission (Comisión Nacional del Desminado, CNAD), which has been allocated a budget of CLP$90 million (US$130,000) for the year 2002 to cover administrative and start-up fees.[33] The official decree creating CNAD is dated 2 May 2002, and CNAD was officially registered with the Comptroller General’s Office on 18 June 2002.[34]

The purpose of CNAD is to coordinate mine clearance and stockpile destruction, to establish strategies and priorities for a national mine action plan, and to receive and distribute any funding from external sources.[35]

In late October 2001, Defense Minister Fernández told the Senate Defense Commission that the total cost for eliminating all mines in Chile is estimated at US$324 million, including US$120 million for demining, US$123 million for defense items to substitute for mines, and US$81 million for “symbolic” demining.[36] Earlier estimates recorded by Landmine Monitor ranged from US$250million to US$300 million.[37]


When announcing establishment of the National Demining Commission, Defense Minister Fernández said he is aware that the ten-year period stipulated for mine removal can be renewed, but it is Chile’s goal is to complete mine clearance in the first ten years.[38]

However, no mine clearance is planned for 2002.[39] The most recent mine clearance took place in April 2001, when Chilean Army engineers demined a small area of land near the border with Perú.[40] Landmine Monitor did not obtain any other reports of Chilean mine clearance operations in 2001 or 2002.

On 8-9 September 2001, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministers of Perú and Chile agreed to clear all mines from the Chile-Perú border as a demonstration of confidence and transparency.[41] The Chile-Perú joint Security and Defense Committee (COSEDE, Comité de Seguridad y Defensa) met on 26 March 2002 and reiterated the clearance goal, and Chile stated it was developing a comprehensive plan to remove its mines from the Perúvian border.[42]


No official government or NGO mine risk education programs are believed to be available in Chile. IEP has begun discussions with the mayors of Chile’s mine-affected towns to establish a network of municipalities to organize landmine awareness and prevention seminars and workshops.[43]

In July 2001, the Army’s First Division published and started to distribute a full-color bi-lingual (English-Spanish) brochure called “Seguridad y Prevención” (Safety and Prevention) for tourists visiting Region II. It includes ten recommendations on how visitors can avoid mine accidents. The publication states that all minefields are well marked and fenced, but notes that mines can shift due to heavy rains, and recommends that visitors stay on roads at all times. It also provides emergency phone numbers for military regiments and hospitals in the area.[44]


In 2001, three civilians were injured and one military officer was killed in landmine incidents. No mine casualties were reported in the first quarter of 2002.

On 7 April 2001, a 23-year-old Peruvian civilian lost his right leg to a landmine while attempting to enter Chile illegally near Quebrada de Escritos to look for work.[45]

On 3 September 2001, a 31-year-old civilian received serious stomach and leg injuries after stepping on an “explosive artifact” inside the boundary of the Quilmo military training field in Chillán, Region VIII. According to a report by the Third Division of the Army, Ortíz had crossed into a training field despite the fact that it was well marked.[46]

On 6 November 2001, a 34-year-old Peruvian civilian severely damaged both his legs after stepping on an antipersonnel landmine when trying to enter Chile illegally at Quebrada de Escritos.[47] Once released from the hospital, Chilean officials arrested him for illegally entering the country.

On 9 November 2001, a Chilean explosives expert from the Fifth Regiment of Army Engineers of Punta Arenas was killed outside Puerto Natales, in Region XII, while handling an antivehicle mine during military maneuvers.[48]

Miguel Angel Pacheco, whose left foot and ankle were damaged by an antipersonnel landmine in November 1999, sued the government for CLP$150 million (US$220,000) in September 2001, on the grounds that he can no longer work or play sports. At the time of his injury Pacheco was an Army recruit and he said his superiors had sent him to change some barbed wire near a train track, without warning him about possible mines laid in the area.[49]


Chilean military personnel injured by mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) receive care in military hospitals. There are no specific services available from the National Health Service, private health institutions or NGOs for civilian landmine victims in Chile.[50] The Fondo Nacional de Discapacitados [National Fund for the Disabled] provides social assistance for the disabled.

On 27 February 2002, Chile ratified the OAS Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities.[51] One key aim of this treaty is to provide legislative, social, educative, and labor means for re-integration into society.


[1] Promulga la Convención sobre la Prohibición del Empleo, Almacenamiento, Producción y Transferencia de Minas Antipersonal y sobre su Destrucción Normas Generales, Diario Oficial Documento 4, 2002, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Subsecretario de Relaciones Exteriores, 9 March 2002.
[2] Luis Winter, head of Special Policy at the Ministry Foreign Affairs, “Intervención de jefe de la delegación de Chile a la III Reunión de Estados Partes de la Convención de Uso, Almacenamiento, Producción y Transferencia de Minas Antipersonal y sobre su Destrucción,” Managua, 19 September 2001.
[3] “Dan primer paso reducir gastos militares,” El Comercio (Lima), 10 September 2001.
[4] “Dan primer paso reducir gastos militares,” El Comercio (Lima), 10 September 2001; Patricia Kadena, “Chile ratifica que comprará más aviones F16 y fragatas,” La República (Lima), 10 September 2001; “Simbólica destrucción de minas,” El Mercurio de Calama, Calama, Chile, 13 September 2001; “Ejército destruye 14,000 minas antipersonales en el norte de Chile,” Agence France Presse (Calama), 13 September 2001.
[5] “Cancilleres y ministros de Defensa de Perú y Chile acuerdan erradicar minas,” Agence France Presse (Lima), 9 September 2001.
[6] Statement by Ambassador Juan Enrique Vega, Permanent Reprersentative of Chile to the Conference on Disarmament, to the Fifty-Fifth Session of the UNGA First Committee-General Debate, New York, 10 October 2001, p. 3.
[7] “Canciller inauguró seminario internacional de seguridad humana,” press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 26 November 2001.
[8] “Cannessa: Cómo defenderse sin minas antipersonales,” El Mostrador (Santiago), 14 November 2001.
[9] Interview with Lieutenant Eric Huaita, Border Control Police, Colchane, 26 December 2001.
[10] On 21 January 2002, for example, IEP publicly denounced broken and non-existent fencing at the Portezuelo Cerro Capitán minefield in northern Region I. See www.iepe.org/econoticias.
[11] Response by the Chilean Foreign Ministry to Landmine Monitor Report 1999, provided by the Chilean Ambassador to Uruguay, Augusto Bermúdez Arancibia, 2 February 1999.
[12] For details and types see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 290.
[13] Jane’s Mines and Mine Clearance, on-line update, 19 November 1999.
[14] US Army Armament, Munitions, and Chemical Command (USAMCCOM), letter to Human Rights Watch, 25 August 1993, and attached statistical tables.
[15] Gobierno de Chile, Declaración Oficial, “Moratoria unilateral en la producción, exportación, importación, e instalación de nuevas minas terrestres antipersonal,” Santiago, 26 April 1999; Letter from María Soledad Alvear Valenzuela, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Jean-Benoît Burrion, Director General, Handicap International (Belgium), dated 31 August 2000.
[16] See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 393.
[17] Notes taken by Landmine Monitor (HRW) of intervention by Chile to Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 30 May 2002.
[18] Interview with Captain Cristián Rudloff Álvarez, Chilean Navy, Buenos Aires, 7 November 2000; Interview with Verónica Chain, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 December 2000.
[19] “Ejército efectuará destrucción de minas antipersonales,” Press release by Army of Chile, 11 September 2001, “Simbólica destrucción de minas” El Mercurio de Calama (Calama), 13 September 2001, “Ejército chileno destruyó 14 mil minas antipersonales” El Mercurio (Santiago) source credit: Associated Press, 13 September 2001, “Ejército destruye 14.000 minas antipersonal en el norte de Chile” Agence France Presse (Calama), 13 September 2001, “Detonaron 14 mil minas antipersonales” El Mercurio de Antofagasta (Antofagasta), 14 September 2001.
[20] “Chile ratifica que comprará más aviones F16 y fragatas” La República (Lima), 10 September 2001, “Dan primer paso para reducir gastos militares” El Comercio (Lima), 10 September 2001.
[21] “Ejército elimina 14 mil minas de sus depósitos” La Tercera (Santiago), 14 September 2001, “El ejército destruye minas en el norte” El Mercurio (Santiago) 14 September 2001.
[22] “Financiamiento detiene desminado,” La Estrella de Arica (Arica), 10 April 2001; telephone interview with Elir Rojas, Andes Sur Action Team, 3 May 2001. For a detailed description of mined areas in Regions I and II, see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 395-397.
[23] See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 398.
[24] Letter to Elir Rojas, Director, MUACC from Carlos Weber, Executive Director, CONAF, ref: 215, 1 August 2001.
[25] Ibid.
[26] Officer Castillo told Landmine Monitor said that he had done an inspection two months earlier, in November 2001, and the fencing was in good condition then. Landmine Monitor field visit to “Portezuelo Cerro Capitán” minefield, 15 January 2002.
[27] Landmine Monitor field visit to “Paso Huailla” minefield, 15 January 2002.
[28] Landmine Monitor field visit to “Paso Apacheta de Tillujalla” minefield, 26 January 2002.
[29] Landmine Monitor field visit to “Apacheta de Oje” minefield, 25 January 2002.
[30] Field visits by Landmine Monitor researcher Fabiola Fariña to Panavinto, Ancovinto, Cariquima, Huaitane, Chuyuncane, Parajalla, and Colchane. At the “Portezuelo Cerro Capitán” minefield, Landmine Monitor saw the carcass of a llama that died in the year 2000 after an antivehicle mine exploded.
[31] Interview with Manuel Oyarzún, resident of San Gregorio and member of the 92,000-hectare San Gregorio sheep and cattle cooperative, 7 March 2002.
[32] Landmine Monitor field visit to minefields in Region XII in San Gregorio, Puerto Natales, Río Verde and Punta Delgada, 5-10 March 2002.
[33] “Gobierno creará organismo técnico para desminar frontera,” El Mercurio, 3 October 2001; “Defensa crea organismo para eliminar minas antipersonales,” El Metropolitano (Santiago), 4 October 2001.
[34] “Decreto de Creación de la Comisión Nacional de Desminado (CNAD),” 2 May 2002; “Decreto Supremo de la Subsecretaría de Guerra #79,” 18 June 2002; telephone interview with Coronel Patricio Rojas, Santiago, 24 July 2002.
[35] Landmine Monitor meetings with Ramón Hormazábal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 November 2001, and Colonel Patricio Rojas, Ministry of Defense, 23 January 2002. Ramón Hormazábal is coordinating the commission’s creation for the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Colonel Rojas does the same at the Defense Ministry.
[36] “Gobierno gastará cerca de US$320 millones en desactivar minas antipersonales,” El Mercurio (Santiago), 29 October 2001; “Gobierno anuncia fuerte inversión para destruir minas antipersonales,” La Tercera (Santiago), 29 October 2001; “Informe de la Comisión de Defensa Nacional, recaído en la solicitud de la Sala del Senado, en cuanto a estudiar los aspectos técnicos y de costo de la aplicación de la “Convención sobre la prohibición del empleo, almacenamiento, producción y transferencia de minas antipersonal y sobre su destrucción”, adoptada en Oslo, Noruega, el 18 de septiembre de 1997. Boletín No S 594-10, Senate Defense Commission report, 9 October 2001.
[37] See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 399.
[38] “Defensa crea organismo para eliminar minas antipersonales,” El Metropolitano, 4 October 2001.
[39] “Gobierno creará organismo técnico para desminar frontera,” El Mercurio, 3 October 2001; “Defensa crea organismo para eliminar minas antipersonales,” El Metropolitano, 4 October 2001.
[40] Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 400.
[41] “Cancilleres y ministros de Defensa de Perú y Chile acuerdan erradicar minas,” Agence France Presse (Lima), 9 September 2001.
[42] “Perú presenta plan para medir gastos en defensa con Chile,” Agence France Presse (Santiago), 27 March 2002; “II Reunión del Comité de Seguridad y Defensa del Perú y Chile (Cosede),” Press release from the Peruvian Defence Ministry, 26 March 2002, points #3 and #6.
[43] Interview with IEP Director Manuel Baquedano, 2 April 2002.
[44] “Editan tríptico sobre minas personales,” La Estrella del Norte (Antofagasta), 19 July 2001; “Simbólica destrucción de minas,” El Mercurio de Calama (Calama); 13 September 2001.
[45] “Cuando intentaba entrar ilegalmente a Chile. Peruano resultó herido por mina antipersonal,” La Tercera (Santiago), Chile, 9 April 2001; “Pierde pie derecho por ingresar en forma ilegal a Chile,” El Comercio, 10 April 2001; Editorial, “Frontera con Chile,” La Industria de Trujillo (Trujillo), 11 April 2001.
[46] Landmine Monitor was not able to get official confirmation on the type of artifact, but was told unofficially that an investigation carried out determined that the artifact was not a mine, but rather some kind of UXO. Telephone interview with Regimiento Infantería Chillán official, 24 July 2002. “Internado grave herido por explosión en recinto militar,” El Mercurio source credit: ORBE, 3 September 2001.
[47] “Peruano herido por mina antipersonal al entrar a Chile,” El Mostrador, 7 November 2001.
[48] “Ejercito reconoce 105 campos minados,” La Tercera, 12 November 2001.
[49] “Ex recluta pide $150 milliones,” Las Ultimas Noticias (Santiago), 27 September 2001.
[50] See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 312.
[51] “Chile ratifica convención Interamericana para eliminar discriminación contra discapacitados,” OAS Press Release, 27 February 2002.