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Country Reports
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC, Landmine Monitor Report 2003

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States Parties
New Zealand
Solomon Islands

Brunei Darussalam
Cook Islands
Marshall Islands

Burma (Myanmar)
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Republic of Korea
Lao P.D.R.
Federated States of Micronesia
Papua New Guinea
Sri Lanka




Mine Ban Policy

Seventeen of the 40 countries in the Asia Pacific region are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Japan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Maldives, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, the Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Thailand and Timor-Leste. Two countries acceded to the treaty in this reporting period: Afghanistan on 11 September 2002 and Timor-Leste on 7 May 2003. Five signatory countries have not yet ratified the Mine Ban Treaty: Brunei, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Marshall Islands, and Vanuatu.

Eighteen states in the region have not yet joined the treaty. Non-signatories include major antipersonnel mines producers and stockpilers such as China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Singapore, and highly mine-affected countries including Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Others non-signatories are Bhutan, North Korea, Micronesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

Laos and Sri Lanka have been reviewing their position regarding the Mine Ban Treaty and are considering accession. Internal procedures are in progress to ratify in Indonesia and the Cook Islands, and to accede in Papua New Guinea.

Seven non-signatory countries from the region voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 in November 2002, which called for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. This group included: Bhutan, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Tonga. Among the signatories, Brunei and Indonesia voted for the resolution, while others were absent for the vote. Among the 23 states abstaining from voting were China, India, FS Micronesia, Pakistan, South Korea and Vietnam.

During the reporting period no States Parties passed domestic legislation to implement the provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty. Only five Asia-Pacific States Parties have domestic legislation in place: Australia, Cambodia, Japan, New Zealand and Malaysia. Bangladesh reported that national implementation legislation was in its final stage of preparation, and the Philippines has legislation pending.

All States Parties, except Nauru and Solomon Islands, have submitted their initial Article 7 transparency report. Only Fiji, Kiribati, Maldives, Niue and Samoa have not yet submitted required annual updates.

Fourteen countries from the region attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002, including five non-signatory countries: Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Sri Lanka. At the meeting, Thailand’s offer to host the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in Bangkok in September 2003 was approved. Also, Australia became co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance, and Cambodia become co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance. Fifteen countries, including China, attended at least one of the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003.

Nine States Parties from the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, and Timor-Leste), as well as Indonesia, Canada, and Norway, formed the Bangkok Regional Action Group (BRAG) with the aim of promoting landmine initiatives in the region in the lead up to the Fifth Meeting of States Parties.

From 26-28 March 2003, Cambodia hosted a regional seminar on “Building a Co-operative Future for Mine Action in South East Asia” in Phnom Penh.

The final declaration of the XIII Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting, held on 25-27 February 2003 in Kuala Lumpur, condemned antipersonnel mine use; NAM States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty urged non-States Parties to join the treaty.

The Inter Religious Peace Foundation hosted the Asia-Pacific Landmine Monitor researchers’ meeting in Colombo from 27 to 31 January 2003.


Use of antipersonnel mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has been reported in five Asian countries in the reporting period. In Nepal, government and military officials have for the first time officially acknowledged use of antipersonnel mines by security forces. Both Nepalese government and Maoist rebels expanded their use of antipersonnel mines and IEDs in 2002, including use in all 75 districts; however, there has been little or no use since the January 2003 cease-fire.

In mid- 2002, Indian and Pakistani forces ceased their massive mine-laying operations, during which several million mines were likely planted near their border. In addition, militant groups in India continued to use landmines and IEDs in Jammu and Kashmir, and at least five other non-state groups in other Indian states have used landmines in the reporting period.

Myanmar’s military has continued laying landmines and at least fifteen rebel groups also used mines—two more than last year. In the Philippines, three rebel groups used antipersonnel mines and improvised explosive devices, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), despite its having signed the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment prohibiting all use.

In addition to those five countries, there were a small number of incidents of reported use of IEDs in Indonesia in the conflicts in Ambon and Aceh, and reports of sporadic landmine use by resistance elements in Afghanistan.

In Sri Lanka there have been no reports of mine use by either the government or the LTTE since the December 2001 cease-fires.

Production and Transfer

Nine of the fifteen current producers are in the Asia/Pacific region: China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Singapore and Vietnam. This year, Landmine Monitor is adding Nepal to the list, reflecting the open admission by government officials that production has taken place.

India and Pakistan are actively engaged in new production of antipersonnel mines that are compliant with Amended Protocol II of the CCW. State-owned Pakistan Ordnance Factories is producing both new detectable hand-emplaced antipersonnel mines and new remote-delivered mines with self-destruct and self-deactivating mechanisms. India indicated that it has met all necessary technical and financial requirements for production of new detectable antipersonnel mines. China declared that since 1997, it has ceased the production of antipersonnel mines that lack self-destruct mechanisms. South Korea reported that in 2002 it did not produce any antipersonnel mines, including Claymore mines. Singapore, however, confirmed that it continues to manufacture antipersonnel mines. In the reporting period, it appears that rebel groups produced and used significant numbers of homemade antipersonnel mines in Burma, India, Nepal, and the Philippines.

All producers, except Myanmar and North Korea, have export moratoria in place or have stated that they no longer export antipersonnel mines. China reaffirmed its limited moratorium in December 2002. South Korea announced the indefinite extension of its moratorium in December 2002.

Stockpiling and Destruction

Landmine Monitor estimates that China possesses the world’s largest mine stockpile, with some 110 million antipersonnel mines. Landmine Monitor has in the past identified Pakistan and India as having the fourth and fifth largest stockpiles, with an estimated 6 million and 4-5 million mines, respectively. These estimates may no longer be accurate after the massive mines-laying operations in December 2001 and early 2002. The South Korean government confirmed a stockpile of two million antipersonnel mines. Other countries holding stockpiles include non-signatories Burma (Myanmar), North Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, as well as signatories Brunei and Indonesia.

Bangladesh is the only State Party in the Asia/Pacific region with a stockpile still to destroy. It reported for the first time a stockpile of 204,227 antipersonnel mines, and indicated it will retain 15,000 antipersonnel mines for training (one of the highest totals of any State Party). Bangladesh is expected to become co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction in September 2003.

Japan completed destruction of its 1,000,089 stockpiled antipersonnel mines on 8 February 2003. Thailand completed the destruction of its 337,725 stockpiled antipersonnel mines in April 2003. In 2002, Taiwan transferred 42,175 antipersonnel mines to Germany for destruction, as permitted under Article 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Landmine Problem

In the Asia/Pacific region, fifteen countries, as well as Taiwan, are mine- and UXO-affected. Afghanistan remained one of the world’s most mine-impacted countries with over 780 million square meters of contaminated land. Of this, over 404 million square meters were assessed as high priority residential areas, commercial land, transport roads, and agricultural irrigation systems. In Sri Lanka, the extent of the landmine problem is the object of ongoing surveys. A survey in government-controlled areas identified minefields in 14.49 million square meters of land, and identified another 8.3 million square meters as dangerous, requiring further survey. In LTTE-dominated areas, 156 minefields and 48 other dangerous areas were identified.

Cambodia is another of the most severely landmine- and UXO-affected countries in the world. According to the Level One Survey completed in May 2002, 2.5 percent of the country's surface area could be contaminated by mines or UXO. However, many feel this overstates the problem, and the government is using as a planning figure 10 percent of the LIS estimates, indicating some 425 million square meters of land likely require clearance.

In Nepal, landmine and IED incidents were reported in 72 of 75 districts. In India, minefields are being cleared all along the 1800-mile border with Pakistan, crossing the Indian states of Gujurat, Rajastan, Punjab and Indian-administrated Kashmir. In Pakistan, mines are being cleared on the border with India, and the most serious landmine problem, as a result of the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, is in the Federally Administrated Tribal Area.

In Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Defense, approximately seven to eight percent of the country is mine- and UXO-affected. All 61 provinces are affected, as are major cities. In Laos, fifteen of the country’s eighteen provinces are impacted by UXO. Nine out of fourteen states and divisions in Burma are mine-affected, with a heavy concentration in East Burma. In Thailand, most of the 934 mined areas identified in 27 provinces are no longer marked, except where active demining is occurring.

A Landmine Impact Survey began in Afghanistan in 2003. General surveys and assessments were underway in the reporting period in Cambodia, Laos, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Mine Action Funding

Japan’s financial contribution to mine action rose to $49.4 million in 2002, almost seven times that of the previous year, and the second highest total globally. Mine action programs in Afghanistan received almost half of these funds. Between 1998 and 2002, Japan contributed $91.3 million to mine action. In fiscal year (FY) 2002/2003, Australia committed US$8.7 million toward mine action activities, its largest total ever. In FY 2001/2002, New Zealand provided NZ$1.85 million (US$1.05 million) in financial and in-kind support to mine action programs, down from NZ$2.3 million in 2000/2001. China donated $3 million in demining equipment to Eritrea and Lebanon. South Korea contributed $100,000 to mine action in 2002.

Mine action funding for Afghanistan skyrocketed in 2002, following the ouster of the Taliban. It was one of the biggest mine action funding recipient globally in 2002. Funding totaled approximately $64.3 million, more than four times the 2001 total of $14.1 million. Mine action funding from 1991 through 2002 amounted to some $254 million, also the highest total globally.

In Cambodia, donations to mine action totaled $27.3 million, a significant increase from $21 million in 2001. In Laos, in mid-2002, a funding crisis led to significantly scaled-back clearance operations and to the lay-off of nearly half of UXO LAO’s operational capacity. By year’s end, according to information gathered by Landmine Monitor, fifteen donors contributed more than $8 million to mine action in Laos.

Mine action funding for Vietnam more than tripled in 2002, to $17.7 million, including $11.9 million from Japan. This was the fifth highest total globally. Nearly all mine action operations had ceased in Sri Lanka in 2000 and 2001 due to fighting, but after the February 2002 cease-fire, mine action funding totaled about $6 million. In Thailand, foreign donors provided about $1.7 million to mine action, compared to $2.6 million in 2001. The Thai government and Thai foundations provided about $1 million.

Mine Clearance

Humanitarian mine clearance by international, national, and non-governmental actors was underway in States Parties Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Thailand, as well as non-States Parties Laos, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. In 2002, NGOs increased their demining activities, particularly in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

In Afghanistan, demining activities by national and international NGOs expanded dramatically as the mine action budget more than quadrupled. In 2002, mine action agencies cleared 22.5 million square meters of mined land, and 88.6 million square meters of former battlefields, compared to 15.6 million square meters of land cleared in 2001. The UN temporarily halted demining operations in eastern and southern provinces due to a series of attacks on demining staff and other humanitarian aid workers that began in April 2003. The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) reports that approximately 34.7 million square meters of land was cleared in 2002, as compared to 21.9 million square meters of land cleared in 2001. The increase was primarily due to expanded clearance by the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

In Sri Lanka, the February 2002 cease-fire has enabled a significant expansion of mine action activities: a total of 16,356,485 square meters of land were cleared in 2002, including 36,880 mines and 10,198 UXO. In Laos, 8.4 million square meters of land were cleared and 98,963 items of UXO destroyed. From 1975 to 2002, Vietnam reported that 1,200 million square meters have been cleared of 4 million landmines and 8 million UXO. The Thailand Mine Action Center cleared 368,351 square meters of land in 2002.

After the October 2002 withdrawal of Pakistani and Indian troops from the border areas, both countries began clearance operations. Pakistan states that it has cleared most of the minefields, while India states that 85 percent of the mines it laid have been retrieved so far. In September 2002, North Korea and South Korea simultaneously commenced mine clearing inside the Demilitarized Zone for inter-Korean transportation projects. In addition, the South Korea military cleared over 6,000 landmines around seven military camps and bases. China reported that new mine clearance activities began along its border with Vietnam.

Limited mine clearance for military purposes occurred in Nepal and the Philippines. In 2002, village demining and “bomb hunters” searches occurred in Cambodia, Burma, Laos, Pakistan, and Vietnam. In Taiwan, a commercial company removed 5,165 antipersonnel mines from an area of 66,362 square meters on Kinmen Island.

Military units in Burma have repeatedly been accused of forcing people, compelled to serve as porters, to walk in front of patrols in areas suspected of mine contamination in order to detonate mines, in so-called “atrocity demining.”

Mine Action Coordination and Planning

Landmine Monitor noted some form of coordination and planning body in place in five of the 15 mine-affected countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. In Sri Lanka, the National Steering Committee on Mine Action (NSCMA) was established in late 2002.

In 2002, Landmine Monitor noted a national mine action plan in place in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. In Afghanistan, a strategic plan was released in early 2003 which proposes that, with adequate funding, all mines in high-priority areas can be removed in five years under an accelerated demining program. In Cambodia, a mine action activity plan has been prepared for integration into the country’s National Poverty Reduction Strategy, and policy guidelines have been developed for a long-term mine action strategy.

According to the United Nations Development Program, it is providing assistance for the management of mine action programs in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Laos, and Sri Lanka.

Mine Risk Education (MRE)

Significant MRE programs continued in seven countries: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Laos, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. New programs were initiated in Sri Lanka and Vietnam. National mine ban campaigns have undertaken basic MRE initiatives in India, Nepal and South Korea. Other limited MRE was recorded in Bangladesh, Burma, China, and the Philippines. No MRE activities were recorded in North Korea or Taiwan.

More than 2.4 million civilians in Afghanistan, including returning refugees and displaced persons, received mine risk education in 2002. In Cambodia at least eight organizations were involved in a wide range of MRE activities including community-based mine risk reduction, MRE integrated in primary school curricula, and MRE associated with mine clearance operations. Community Awareness teams visited 683 villages in Laos, reaching 160,053 people; MRE curricula were introduced in 911 schools reaching a total of 86,500 students. The Thailand Mine Action Center and two NGOs conducted MRE activities, reaching at least 52,312 persons; MRE programs were also conducted in six Burmese refugee camps. In Sri Lanka, UNICEF and NGOs have increased mine risk education activities. The cease-fire there has greatly increased the need for MRE activities, as many families are returning to their homes despite possibly heavy mine contamination. The Vietnamese government conducts mine and UXO risk education as part of a national injury prevention program. NGOs and certain mass media organizations also hold mine/UXO risk education programs of their own in heavily affected areas.

Mine/UXO Casualties

In 2002, mine/UXO casualties were reported in 14 of the 15 mine-affected countries in the Asia/Pacific region: Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Casualties were also reported in Indonesia in connection with improvised booby-traps and other explosive devices. No new mine casualties were reported in Bangladesh. There had not been reports of casualties from China, Indonesia, and North Korea in the previous reporting period. In 2002-2003, the following countries had nationals killed or injured by mines/UXO while abroad engaged in military or demining operations, peacekeeping, or other activities: Afghanistan, Australia, Cambodia, India, New Zealand, and Pakistan.

In Afghanistan, 1,286 casualties were recorded; an estimated 150 new casualties occur there each month. In Burma, there were at least 114 new landmine casualties. In Cambodia, 834 new mine and UXO casualties were reported, up from 829 in 2001, while in India, there were at least 523 mine casualties, up from 332 in 2001. In Laos, 99 mine/UXO casualties were reported in nine provinces, 23 fewer than in 2001; however, the reduction may result from a reduced capacity to collect data. In Nepal, 177 civilian casualties were reported, including 46 children. In Pakistan, 111 new landmine and UXO casualties were reported, nineteen more than in 2001. In Sri Lanka, there were at least 142 new mine casualties; however, this figure is believed incomplete. In Thailand, 36 casualties were reported, up from 24 in 2001, while in South Korea there were 15 casualties reported, up from 4 in 2001.

In 2002 and the first half of 2003, mine accidents during clearance operations or in training exercises caused casualties among deminers and soldiers in Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Laos, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Survivor Assistance

In Afghanistan, the Transitional Islamic Government established a National Disabled Commission, which will draft a comprehensive law on the rights of persons with disabilities. In Cambodia, an external evaluation of the Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System (CMVIS) reported that the system is “unique in the world in terms of coverage and detail.” The ICRC launched an amputee rehabilitation program in a newly renovated prosthetic center in Songrim, North Korea. In India, civilian mine survivors living in remote border villages have no access to rehabilitation services; however, the government has expressed support for the rehabilitation of survivors, including their socioeconomic reintegration. In Laos, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare held the Second National Workshop on Victim Assistance to follow up on initiatives undertaken in 2001. Three of Nepal’s eight hospitals providing assistance to mine/IED casualties reported difficulties in providing treatment due to financial constraints. In Sri Lanka, the UNDP Disability Assistance Project began, in the Jaffna district, promoting the economic reintegration of mine survivors and other persons with physical disabilities. In Thailand, a comprehensive model for victim assistance has been designed, but the national plan of action recommended in November 2001 has not been completed. In Vietnam, in an illustration of the plight of many mine survivors, 60 percent of survivors in Quang Tri have “poverty cards” identifying them as below the national poverty line.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the voluntary Form J reporting attachment to the Article 7 report was submitted by Australia, Cambodia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Thailand to report on victim assistance and other mine action activities in 2002-2003.