+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
AMERICAS, Landmine Monitor Report 2003

Americas Map
(Click for large clickable map)


States Parties

Antigua and Barbuda
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago




United States of America


Falklands/ Malvinas



Mine Ban Policy

Thirty-one of the 35 countries in the Americas region are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. Guyana and Haiti have signed but not yet ratified the treaty. Guyana's National Assembly approved ratification of the treaty in April 2003. According to a Haitian official in June 2002, the ratification procedure was on a “fast track.”

Cuba and the United States remain the only two countries in the region completely outside the Mine Ban Treaty.

During the reporting period no States Party passed domestic legislation to implement the provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty. Eight States Parties in the region have domestic legislation in place: Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Trinidad and Tobago. Honduras enacted national implementation legislation through Decree No.60-2000 in June 2000. Landmine Monitor knows of only two State Parties, El Salvador and Jamaica, reporting that steps to enact legislation are underway. Paraguay reported that legislation was in the process of being adopted in previous years, but now deems existing law sufficient.

In this reporting period, three States Parties from the region—Barbados, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago—submitted their initial Article 7 transparency reports, while fourteen others submitted annual updates. The initial Article 7 reports were past due for Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname; annual updates were overdue for eleven other States Parties: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Uruguay.

Seventeen countries of the region attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva, Switzerland in September 2002, including non-signatory Cuba. Fifteen countries, including Cuba, attended at least one of the intersessional Standing Committee meetings held in February and May 2003.

Beginning in September 2002, Perú became co-chair and México became co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, Colombia became co-chair of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, and Guatemala became co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction.

Twenty-nine countries in the region voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 on 22 November 2002, supporting implementation and universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. Regionally, Cuba and the United States were the only countries from the region to abstain.

As in previous years, members of the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted three landmine resolutions at the General Assembly in Bridgetown, Barbados on 2 June 2002: one in support of mine action in Perú and Ecuador, one in support of the program for mine action in Central America, and one reaffirming the objective of an antipersonnel landmine-free Western Hemisphere.

The ICBL participated for the first time in a Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, in Santiago, Chile in November 2002. The final declaration of the meeting expressed support for mine clearance efforts and the social reintegration of landmine survivors. Language supporting mine action efforts was included in the declaration of the XII Iberoamerican Summit of Heads of State and Government in Bavaro, Dominican Republic, also in November 2002.

Nicaragua hosted a regional mine action conference from 27-28 August 2002. In January 2003, the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) organized an Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) seminar in Antigua, Guatemala, for participants from the region.


Colombia remains the only country in the region where antipersonnel mines are being newly laid. Hostilities in Colombia intensified throughout 2002 and in the first half of 2003, with a corresponding increase in use of mines. The FARC and ELN guerrilla groups, as well as AUC paramilitaries, continued to use antipersonnel mines. A United Nations report released in February 2003 contains a serious allegation of use of antipersonnel landmines by the Colombian Army. The Colombian government has indicated only command-detonated Claymore mines, permissible under the Mine Ban Treaty, were used. In its Article 7 report, Venezuela revealed that it laid antipersonnel mines in May 1998, five months after signing the Mine Ban Treaty, but prior to entry-into-force. The United States apparently did not use antipersonnel mines in Iraq in 2003.

Production and Transfer

Cuba and the United States are among the fifteen remaining producers of antipersonnel mines in the world. It is not known if Cuba’s production lines were active in 2001 and 2002. Cuba states that it does not export mines, but has not yet adopted a formal export moratorium. The US has not produced antipersonnel mines since 1997 but reserves the right to do so. The US has had a legislative prohibition on export since 1992, which has been extended to October 2008. Colombian guerrilla groups continue to produce homemade antipersonnel mines and other improvised explosive devices.

Stockpiling and Destruction

Eight States Parties from the region have completed destruction of their stockpiled antipersonnel mines. Brazil, El Salvador and Nicaragua completed destruction during the reporting period, joining the ranks of Canada, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Perú, who had done so in previous years.

Brazil completed destruction of its stockpiled mines, destroying 27,397 antipersonnel mines between December 2001 and January 2003. El Salvador completed destruction of its 6,539 stockpiled antipersonnel mines on 20 February 2003. Nicaragua completed destruction of its 133,435 stockpiled antipersonnel mines on 28 August 2002.

Stockpile destruction is underway in five States Parties (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, and Venezuela).

In June 2003, Argentina and the OAS signed an agreement for cooperation and technical assistance in the destruction of the country’s 90,109 stockpiled antipersonnel mines. As of May 2003, Chile had destroyed 201,446 stockpiled antipersonnel mines and was on track to complete destruction by August 2003. In April 2003, Colombia announced that its stockpile of 23,451 antipersonnel mines would be destroyed by February 2005; it commenced stockpile destruction in June 2003. Uruguay destroyed another 400 stockpiled antipersonnel mines in June and October 2002. Venezuela began destruction in May 2003 of its 46,136 stockpiled antipersonnel mines, destroying 35,360 mines between 7 and 14 May 2003.

Aside from the eight that have completed destruction, 15 States Parties in the region have officially declared not stockpiling antipersonnel mines (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, México, Panama, Paraguay, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago). In the reporting period, Barbados, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago officially confirmed that they do not possess stockpiles of antipersonnel mines.

Three States Parties (Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname) have not officially declared the presence or absence of antipersonnel mine stockpiles because of their failure to submit transparency measures reports on time. Only Suriname is believed to stockpile antipersonnel mines.

Of the four non-States Parties, the US stockpiles 10.4 million antipersonnel mines, the third largest stockpile in the world. As a mine producer, Cuba is believed to have a substantial stockpile of antipersonnel mines, but detailed information is not available. Landmine Monitor estimates that Guyana has a stockpile of approximately 20,000 antipersonnel mines. Haiti has stated that it does not stockpile antipersonnel mines.

Of the 31 States Parties in the region, twelve have declared their intent to retain antipersonnel mines for training and research purposes under Article 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty: Brazil (16,545), Chile (6,245), Venezuela (4,614), Perú (4,024), Ecuador (3,970), Nicaragua (1,971), Canada (1,935), Argentina (1,000), Colombia (986), Honduras (826), Uruguay (500), and El Salvador (96).

Brazil is retaining 16,545 mines, the second highest of any State Party in the world. Venezuela, in modifying the number of mines in its stockpile, increased the number of mines retained from 2,214 to 4,614.

Chile decided to reduce the number of mines it would retain from 28,647 to 6,245 during the reporting period. In previous years, Ecuador and Perú both decided to reduce the number of mines retained from the high levels originally proposed.

Landmine Problem

Costa Rica declared itself mine-free in December 2002.

Nine countries in the region are known to be mine-affected. All are States Parties (Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Perú and Venezuela) except Cuba. The Malvinas/Falkland Islands is also mine-affected.

Venezuela was added to the list of mine-affected countries after it acknowledged in its initial Article 7 report that it has 1,063 antipersonnel mines emplaced in six locations. El Salvador’s problem is predominately due to UXO and limited in its impact on the civilian population, with the last casualty recorded in April 2002, but there is still a need for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD).

Mine Action Funding

The United States remained the largest single donor country to global mine action in 2002. The United States provided $76.9 million in fiscal year 2002 to international mine action programs in 37 countries, a decline of nearly $5 million from the previous year’s total. The US in fiscal year 2002 contributed $1.85 million to the OAS/IADB program for mine action in Central America, and also contributed $1 million to Ecuador and $700,000 to Perú. Canada was the largest per capita donor in the region, providing US$16.4 million to mine action activities during its 2002/2003 fiscal year.

The OAS Mine Action Program (AICMA) received $7.2 million in 2002 and the first quarter of 2003. Eight donors reported providing $5.9 million in mine action assistance for Nicaragua in 2002. In March 2003, Colombia and the OAS signed an Agreement on Cooperation and Technical Assistance for mine action.

Mine Clearance

During the reporting period, humanitarian mine clearance was underway in six of the region’s States Parties: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Perú. In all of these countries, national armies implemented mine clearance activities under the umbrella of the Mine Action Program (AICMA) of the Organization of American States.

  • In December 2002, Costa Rica declared itself mine-free. According to an OAS update, a total of 338 landmines were removed from along the Nicaraguan border from 130,000 square meters of land.
  • Engineer units of the Ecuadorian Army conducting mine clearance have cleared a total of 4,573 mines.
  • In 2002, Guatemala reported it had cleared 8,342 square meters of UXO-contaminated land in San Marcos department, and destroyed 56 items of UXO. Clearance of all thirteen high-risk departments in Guatemala is scheduled for completion by 2004.
  • In Honduras, the Army and OAS are responsible for demining operations, clearing a total of 16,700 square meters of mine-affected land in 2002.
  • The Engineer Corps of the Nicaraguan Army cleared 339,032 square meters of land in 2002, destroying 5,479 antipersonnel mines.
  • Peruvian Army Engineers completed mine clearance of the Zarumilla Canal in 2002, as well as its source at La Palma and the area leading to the international bridge at Aguas Verdes. National Police and deminers hired by the Industrial Services of the Navy cleared and destroyed 17,651 mines from around 668 high-tension electrical towers between June 2002 and May 2003.

Chile expects to start demining in 2004. No systematic humanitarian demining took place in Colombia, but the Army’s “Mars Group” reportedly destroyed 1,054 minefields in the two years leading to April 2003, and the Colombian Armed Forces cleared 877 mines in 25 departments in 2002.

Honduras, Perú, and the United Kingdom (for Falklands/Malvinas), are among the group of 14 mine-affected States Parties facing the March 2009 deadline for clearance of all mined areas, as required by Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty.

The final clearance operation in Honduras is scheduled for completion by the end of 2003. In 2002, the OAS estimated that it will take eight to nine years to complete mine clearance operations in Perú, because of technical issues and extremely difficult conditions, and said the aim is to declare Perú “mine safe” in 2010.

In October 2001, the United Kingdom and Argentina agreed on the establishment of a feasibility study on mine clearance in the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. No significant progress was made to initiate the feasibility study during 2002 or the first half of 2003.

The date for completion of the clearance program in Guatemala has been moved up from 2005 to 2004. Nicaragua has stated that it will complete its mine clearance program during 2005.

Mine Risk Education

MRE programs were conducted in seven countries (Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Perú), while basic or limited MRE activities took place in Chile, El Salvador and the Falklands/Malvinas. No MRE activities were recorded in Cuba or Venezuela.

National armies and government agencies conducted MRE in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falklands/Malvinas, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Perú, while local organizations reportedly conducted MRE in Colombia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. A UXO risk education program is being carried out in Panamá.

Mine/UXO Casualties

In 2002-2003, landmine casualties were reported in five countries in the Americas region: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Perú. In addition, El Salvador reported new casualties caused by unexploded ordnance.

Mine casualties increased significantly in Colombia, with 530 casualties reported in 2002, up from 216 in 2001. In Nicaragua, 15 new casualties were recorded, down from 19 in 2001. In Perú, 19 people were injured in mine and UXO incidents, including five deminers, up from two casualties on Peruvian territory reported in 2001. Chile and Ecuador each reported one mine casualty.

In 2002-2003, mine/UXO casualties also included nationals from other countries in the region—Canada, Perú, and the United States—who were killed or injured while abroad engaged in military or demining operations, or other activities.

Survivor Assistance

Facilities for civilian landmine survivors are often inadequate, while, for the most part, limited resources are available to military and police personnel injured in mine incidents. A marked urban bias in health care resources exacerbates the problems.

In Chile, the government announced that survivor assistance will be an integral part of CNAD’s work. The OAS Mine Action Program in Colombia supported the implementation of the Antipersonnel Mines Observatory to record and monitor information on mine casualties and mine survivors. A Directory of Rehabilitation Services that covers fifteen seriously mine-affected departments and 66 municipalities in Colombia was published. In El Salvador, a recent census by the Association of War Wounded of El Salvador identified around 3,700 landmine survivors. The government of Nicaragua called for stronger socioeconomic reintegration efforts to assist mine survivors. In Perú, a new society, the Association of Victims and Survivors of Landmines AVISCAM, was formed.

The Canada/PAHO/México tripartite victim assistance project in Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador ended in March/April 2003.

In the Americas region, the voluntary Form J reporting attachment to the Article 7 report was submitted by Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, México, and Perú to report on victim assistance and other mine action activities in 2002-2003.