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Country Reports
MADAGASCAR, Landmine Monitor Report 2002


The Republic of Madagascar signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified on 16 September 1999. It entered into force on 1 March 2000. No domestic legislation to implement the treaty is known to exist.

Madagascar did not attend any Mine Ban Treaty-related meetings in 2001 or the first half of 2002. It cosponsored and voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 56/24M in November 2001, promoting implementation of the treaty.

On 20 June 2001, Madagascar submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report, covering the period from 31 January 2000 to 31 January 2001. Madagascar has not submitted its annual Article 7 Report, due by 30 April 2002.

Madagascar is not known to have produced or exported antipersonnel mines. In its Article 7 Report, Madagascar stated that it does not stockpile antipersonnel mines. According to a senior Madagascar Defence Force officer, Madagascar has a small amount of mines retained for training or research purposes.[1] According to information from the French government, “the mines that are still in stocks in Antananarivo [the capital of Madagascar] are no longer usable.”[2]

Madagascar has experienced a crisis since presidential elections were held on 16 December 2001. Landmine Monitor has received allegations and “rumors” from a number of sources of use of antipersonnel mines by governmental forces of President Marc Ravalomanana and by opponents of the new government, forces loyal to the former president Didier Ratsiraka.[3] However, knowledgeable governmental and nongovernmental sources say they have no evidence to support the allegations. There have been no reports of mine casualties treated in local hospitals.

At the request of the President of France's National Commission for the Elimination of Anti-Personnel Mines, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France made inquiries into the allegations. The Ministry, drawing on information provided by its Embassy in Madagascar following a local investigation in the areas concerned, said that the “rumors appear not to be justified.” It noted that in 1991 antipersonnel mines were used around the Ivahola Palace, and concluded that this earlier incident in part explained rumors that mines had been used again in 2002.[4]

The Embassy of Madagascar in Mauritius also responded to a request from Landmine Monitor for clarification on the use allegations.[5] The Embassy referred to the Article 7 Report which declares that the Armed Forces do not possess antipersonnel mines, and the “Directive on antipersonnel mines” issued to the Armed Forces that states that “it is prohibited to use anti-personnel mines during operations, to participate in planning for mine use or in any instructions and/or training during which such devices would be used, to give one's approval for the use of such devices, be it on Malagasy territory or elsewhere, to transfer, stock or authorize the transit on Malagasy territory of such devices.”[6]


[1] Interview with General Brigadier Rene Bournas, Director of the War Victims and Veterans Office (ONMAC), Madagascar Defence Force, Bamako, Mali, 16 February 2001.
[2] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, letter (via email) to Brigitte Stern, President, National Commission for the Elimination of Anti-Personnel Mines, 2002.
[3] On 30 April 2002, a member of a French/Malagasy organization said antipersonnel mines had been laid around the residence of the Governor of Fianarantsoa, and appealed to the ICBL for help. Several humanitarian agencies in Madagascar told Landmine Monitor they had heard rumors of antipersonnel mine use by government forces around the presidential palace, and by opposition forces at a roadblock around Brickaville bridge, approximately 150 kilometers south of Tamatave.
[4] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, letter (via email) to Brigitte Stern, President, National Commission for the Elimination of Anti-Personnel Mines, 2002.
[5] Communication to Landmine Monitor from the Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar in Mauritius, 23 May 2002.
[6] “Directives pour les Forces Armees relatives aux mines antipersonnel,” document attached to Article 7 Report, submitted 20 June 2001. Translated from French by Landmine Monitor.