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Country Reports
Eritrea, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: A national Landmine Impact Survey began in May 2002. In July 2002, the Eritrean government announced the establishment of the Eritrean Demining Authority to manage and coordinate mine action in Eritrea. The previous government coordinating bodies were disbanded, the national mine action NGO closed, and most international mine action NGOs were expelled from the country. United Nations demining support for the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission began in late 2002. Eritrea has not submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report, which was due on 31 July 2002.

Mine Ban Policy

Eritrea acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 27 August 2001, and the treaty entered into force for the country on 1 February 2002. Eritrea has not initiated domestic legislation or other legal measures to implement the Mine Ban Treaty. It has not submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report, which was due on 31 July 2002. Eritrean officials told Landmine Monitor that the government’s reorganization of mine action in July 2002 contributed to the inability to finish the Article 7 report.[1] The Eritrean Commission for Cooperation with the Peacekeeping Mission now has responsibility for final approval of the report, and was working on in it as of December 2002.[2]

Eritrea attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002 and the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. Eritrea voted in support of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 in November 2002, promoting universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.


There have been no instances or allegations of use of antipersonnel landmines in Eritrea since 2000. However, in 2002, twelve antivehicle mine incidents were reported, according to the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) Mine Action Coordination Center (MACC). Many of these incidents occurred on roads classified as cleared or well-traveled in the southwest areas of the country within the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The UN reported that these mines were newly planted.[3] A dissident group claimed responsibility for a February 2003 mine blast that killed five Eritrean militia in the TSZ near the town of Om Hajer.[4] UNMEE said that the mine was almost certainly newly laid as the road had been cleared several times and investigations showed evidence that the mine was newly planted.[5]

In March 2003, Eritrea's Commissioner for Coordination with the UN peacekeeping force, Brigadier General Abrahaley Kifle, publicly accused the government of Ethiopia of laying new antivehicle mines in the TSZ, according to the Eritrean ruling party's Shaebia website. An Ethiopian foreign ministry official said that General Abrahaley's remarks came as a “surprise,” while UNMEE said it believed “dissident groups” opposed to the Eritrean authorities were responsible for laying new mines in the TSZ.[6]

Production, Transfer and Stockpiling

Eritrea states it has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines and claims it obtained all the mines it used from Ethiopian forces during the 1961-1991 wars for independence. Eritrean government officials have estimated a stockpile of some 450,000 antipersonnel mines prior to the 1998-2000 conflict.[7] It is not known precisely how many mines were used by Eritrea in the border war, although Landmine Monitor Report 2002 cited an estimated 240,000 mines.[8] However, the UNMEE MACC Program Manager believes that Eritrea now has little or no mines stockpiled.[9] An official with the Eritrean Demining Authority would not confirm the number of stockpiled antipersonnel mines during interviews with Landmine Monitor in December 2002.[10] Eritrea’s deadline for the destruction of stockpiled antipersonnel mines is 1 February 2006.

Landmine Problem

After three decades of protracted war and two and a half years of border conflict, Eritrea has a significant landmine and unexploded ordnance problem. An Eritrean demining official estimated that up to 150,000 mines might have remained in the ground uncleared after the war for independence.[11] The main contamination is along the 1,000-kilometer border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, due to the recent armed conflict.[12] Eritrean forces laid an estimated 240,000 mines, while Ethiopian forces laid an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 mines.[13]

The presence of landmines in Eritrea has a great social, economic and humanitarian impact.[14] The threat of widespread malnutrition and starvation due to the 2002 drought and crop failures led some people to migrate to potentially mine-affected areas in search of arable land.[15] Moreover, the return of many thousands of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 2002 and 2003 increased the danger of mines and affected mine action planning in Eritrea.[16]

Mine Action Assistance

For 2002, ten donors and the European Commission have reported providing US$11.1 million to mine action in Eritrea.[17] Those contributing included the Netherlands ($3.5 million), United States ($1,752,000), Norway ($2.43 million), Denmark ($1.14 million), Ireland ($585,677), Switzerland ($488,000), Japan ($481,552), Sweden ($309,000), European Commission ($285,000), Germany ($94,990), and Canada ($68,175).

From 1 September 2001 to 31 December 2002, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) sent 14 demining experts to Eritrea to assist with humanitarian mine clearance. A total of 60 Eritrean military personnel received training in demining techniques and on-site demining instruction. The PRC donated 20 sets of metal detectors, 44 sets of demining protective gear, 8 sets of demining toolkits, 8 sets of demolition toolkits, 50 tons of demining bangalore torpedoes, 18,000 electric detonators, and 600 kilograms of TNT. China covered all costs associated with the training and shipment of donated supplies. Eritrean deminers in the PRC training program cleared 90,000 square meters of mine-affected land in Saiba village (about 90 kilometers to the south of Asmara) and destroyed approximately 400 landmines and 200 UXO within 14 days, according to the PRC. A second phase of the program was completed in June 2003, with 18 demining trainers sent from China.[18]

Survey and Assessment

A UNDP Landmine Impact Survey (LIS) is under way in Eritrea. In March 2002, the UNDP Senior Technical Advisor for the survey arrived. LIS operational work officially began in May 2002. Changes in the national program and the dissolution of the EMAP caused significant delays in the LIS. In November 2002, the LIS began Phase II of implementation with the commencement of senior LIS staff training in skills including use of Global Positioning System (GPS), compass and communications equipment, map reading, methodology and questionnaire skills training, and other skills related to mine action. Training was conducted in cooperation with the UNMEE MACC Operations and Medical departments. Mine risk education (MRE) was provided by the UNICEF MRE Coordinator and LIS MRE-trained staff. Methodological training and use of the questionnaire followed in conjunction with the Survey Action Center (SAC). In December 2002, the LIS completed its community pre-testing in 12 communities in three different provinces. This pre-test evaluated nine communities from the 30-year independence war and three from the 1998-2000 border conflict. Half of the visited communities reported at least one victim in the last 24 months. Severely mine-affected communities visited included Beleza, a former Ethiopian base during the independence war that had more than a dozen dangerous areas, and Senafe, a city captured by Ethiopia during the border conflict that witnessed considerable damage and mine use.

As of January 2003, LIS Eritrea maintained a staff of over 40.[19] The UNDP Senior Technical Advisor is the survey project manager. A local NGO, the Eritrea Solidarity and Cooperation Association (ESCA), was contracted in September 2002 to be the implementing agency.[20] UNMEE, UNMAS, SAC, and Cranefield University Mine Action provide technical and material assistance to the LIS. UNMAS provides quality assurance. Berne University provided mapping services that will provide the project with properly geo-referenced maps of the entire country by mid-2003.

As of June 2003, data collection was ongoing in all regions of the country, with over 700 mine-suspected communities already visited.[21] The survey is scheduled to end by February 2004.[22] Data collected in the LIS will enable Eritrean national authorities to identify specific needs; improve mapping data; assist in aid distribution, as well as mine action; and provide information to EDA authorities as they formulate a strategic national mine action plan. The results will also assist the EDA to accurately fulfill its Article 7 transparency reporting obligation.[23] The operational budget for the LIS is $1.7 million, funded by the European Commission and the government of Canada.[24] 

Mine Action Coordination

Since the cessation of hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia in late 2000, UN mine action assistance in Eritrea has been designed to address both the emergency problem in the Temporary Security Zone, and to assist the government of Eritrea in strengthening its national and local mine action capacity. In accordance with this strategy, the UNMEE MACC was established in August 2000; UNICEF served as the focal point for Mine Risk Education (MRE), and UNDP’s projects were designed to strengthen the government’s ability to address the long-term consequences of landmines on the local population.[25]

In July 2002, the Eritrean government announced the establishment of the Eritrean Demining Authority (EDA) to manage and coordinate all mine action in Eritrea, except for mine action in direct support of the UNMEE peacekeeping mission and the Eritrean-Ethiopian Border Commission.[26] The EDA replaced the Eritrean Mine Action Program, which had been established in 2000. Under the EDA, the new national mine action NGO is Eritrea Demining Operations (EDO).[27]

Shortly after the July proclamation, notices were sent to all international mine action organizations active in Eritrea directing them to cease all activities; in some cases they were required to leave technical equipment in Eritrea when departing the country.[28] By early November 2002, at least three of these organizations — DanChurchAid, Danish Demining Group, and Mines Awareness Trust — were largely gone from Eritrea. The NGOs and the UNMEE MACC were not given advance notice of the proclamation, nor of the order to NGOs to cease operations and depart. In January 2003, Landmine Survivors Network also ceased operations in Eritrea. The US commercial company RONCO and British NGO HALO Trust had been permitted to continue their operations.[29] However, on 5 June 2003, it was reported that the government had decided “to order the largest international landmine-clearing organization operating in Eritrea, HALO Trust of the United Kingdom, to leave the country....”[30]

UNDP has continued its capacity building program, now working with the EDA. The program’s goals include assisting the EDA “to develop and strengthen the operational management capacity of the Authority, allowing it to act as an independent, national mine action executive body based on the International Mine Action Standards.”[31] The capacity building program is currently scheduled to continue through December 2004. In August 2002, UNICEF/UNMAS/UNDP sent a letter to the Eritrean government advising of the guiding principles on which the UN could provide capacity building support.[32] The General Manager of the EDA replied in writing in March 2003 agreeing to the principles.[33]

The UNMEE MACC maintains and manages the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database. Plans call for the eventual management of this database by EDA once the UNMEE mission departs Eritrea; the UNDP capacity building program includes helping EDA establish its capacity to maintain and manage the national database. Discussions are underway with UNDP about integrating the results of the UNDP Victims Assistance National Survey into IMSMA.[34]

The EDA established its headquarters in Asmara in November 2002 and began staffing its administration. A Major General in the Eritrean Defense Force was appointed its General Manager, reporting directly to the President. The EDA’s first objectives were to determine its administrative needs and establish a national mine action plan.[35] As of January 2003, the EDA headquarters was functional, but none of the planned departments were yet operational.[36]

Several government officials told Landmine Monitor that the reason for the decisions to create a new coordinating and managing authority, and to expel international demining NGOs, was because the NGOs worked slowly and did not accomplish enough demining in the time they have been involved in Eritrea. The UNMEE MACC Program Manager has countered by stating, “The international and national NGOs were producing clearance results favourably comparable in productivity and scope with any mine action programme in the world.”[37]

In his December 2002 report to the UN Security Council, the Secretary-General noted that the changes in mine action in Eritrea following the July 2002 Proclamation had resulted in the temporary cessation of all mine action. The report said, “These events have led to the loss of humanitarian mine-action capacity in the Temporary Security Zone and adjacent areas, impeding preparations on the ground for the return of internally displaced persons to their homes in the Zone. Since no mine-risk education activities are taking place in the Zone, the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Center is implementing an emergency mine-risk education operation to fill the gap.”[38]

Following the events of July 2002, the UNMEE Mine Action Coordination Center developed a revised work plan, restructuring mine action elements within the center and UNMEE as a whole. The plan focuses on providing support to the UNMEE force and military observers in the TSZ, while maintaining the capacity to provide support to the coordination of humanitarian mine action activities in the TSZ.[39]

Mine Clearance

The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) issued a final border demarcation ruling in April 2002 and Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to the ruling in principle, effectively ending the border disputes remaining from their 1998-2000 war. On 14 August 2002, UNMEE’s mandate was extended to include demining support to the EEBC.[40] While details of the demarcation remained to be negotiated, UNMEE MACC began demining support for the EEBC in August 2002 with initial reconnaissance and preliminary route clearance, focusing on clearing access roads to potential border post sites. UNMEE demining assets have been placed under the control of the newly created Force Mine Action Center for the EEBC demining support project.[41] UNMEE Force demining assets, consisting of Bangladeshi, Slovak, and Kenyan demining companies, will conduct mine clearance in support of the EEBC. The operations were scheduled to begin in May 2003, but had not as of July 2003 due to the inability of the EEBC and the two parties to agree on certain aspects of demarcation; the EEBC had yet to formally identify border post sites.[42]

Clearance is anticipated at and around approximately 70-100 of the pillars that will be erected along the new border.[43] Each pillar site will require 2,500 square meters of clearance, in addition to an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 square meters to clear the access routes leading to the pillars.[44]

UXB, a private American company, was contracted by UNMEE MACC for dedicated mechanical route clearance in support of UNMEE operations in the TSZ. The UXB project began in June 2002. The third UXB project manager arrived in Asmara on 1 November 2002 and manages a staff of 40, including 24 Eritreans. The UXB program in Eritrea has a particular focus on deeply buried landmines.[45]

UXB conducts manual and mechanical clearance, including a Kinematics Induction Magnetic Survey (KIMS) system that uses geophysics technology to detect “sub-ground anomalies” as deep as 70 centimeters under the ground.[46] Mine-protected vehicles are fitted with KIMS technology and travel slowly on roads for initial detection or post-clearance verification. Objects underground are detected and their ground coordinates are instantly conveyed to GPS mapping units of manual clearance teams that follow directly behind the vehicle. UXB teams (including three dog teams) then immediately begin targeted demining activities. UXB-Eritrea is among the only commercial demining companies in the world using KIMS technology.[47]

Through January 2003, UXB teams had surveyed 3,703,350 square meters of road. Recovered ordnance included an Russian made PMD-6 antipersonnel mine and fragments from hand grenades, artillery and bombs at depths of 10 to 75 cm.[48] UXB ceased operations in June 2003 and a new route clearance company is being contracted.[49]

Prior to the July 2002 proclamation and the expulsion of international mine action NGOs, the Danish Demining Group (DDG) had conducted extensive mechanical and manual clearance activities. From January to July 2002, DDG cleared a total of 154,000 square meters and conducted 181 EOD tasks. A total of 5,717 items were destroyed (including mines and UXO).[50] DDG employed over 80 staff, mostly Eritreans, in their programs. Its work in 2002 was concentrated on EOD and battle area clearance, and humanitarian mine clearance and verification. DDG also incorporated training into their programs to assist the Eritrean government in building its own demining capacity. During the first half of 2002, DDG teams had cleared farming and grazing sites, particularly around Shilalo, which were then returned to farmers. In Bushuka village, DDG cleared access routes for an ICRC water rehabilitation project that now enables that village regular access to water from the Gash River.[51]

A mine clearance and training program by DanChurchAid (DCA) started on 1 June 2001 and was halted in July 2002, instead of ending in November 2002 as originally scheduled. In total, DCA cleared 250,500 square meters of mine-affected land and destroyed 408 landmines and 937 UXO.[52] In one area near the Shilalo-Sheshibit road, DCA cleared paths and grazing fields now in use by shepherds.[53] DCA also trained eight EDA headquarters staff, two EDA demining teams (totaling 120 persons), and two EDA medical teams (11 persons in total).[54]

The unexpected closure of the program led to the dismantling of the DCA/EDA clearance teams, and DCA considers the capacity it built within the EDA management as “lost.” DCA’s donor, DANIDA, accepted a recommendation that DCA reallocate the Eritrea program assets to a newly developed program in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. The remaining months of the project implementation time were used to close the operation and transfer mine clearance equipment to Sudan.

In July 2002, the government informed HALO Trust that its assistance would no longer be required, but after protracted negotiations, government approval was given to remain.[55] HALO worked with the new EDA throughout the remainder of 2002 and during 2003, assisting where possible with its establishment and work procedures according to IMAS requirements.

In 2003, HALO continued to work in western Eritrea in the TSZ, but as in 2002, HALO also deployed assets as needed throughout the country. At the start of 2003, HALO had the capacity to deploy ten manual teams, nine mechanical clearance units, a LIS survey team, a survey/EOD team, and two technical survey teams. Four manual demining teams were eliminated when the EDA could not provide sufficient manpower. HALO also deployed two mine detection vehicles (Husky and Meerkat). HALO received funding for its 2003 activities from Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and the European Commission.

In May 2003, the EDA instructed HALO to stop clearance operations. According to HALO, the government made this order “because of uncertainty associated with the peace process with Ethiopia” and it formally thanked HALO for its contribution to humanitarian mine clearance in Eritrea.

From 2001 to May 2003, HALO teams cleared 1,138,512 square meters of land manually, conducted battle area clearance on 8,777,382 square meters of land and cleared 49,582 square meters mechanically. Another 3,238,990 square meters of land was reduced mechanically. HALO destroyed 2,480 antipersonnel mines, 379 antivehicle mines, and 11,577 items of UXO. It also cleared 3,929 kilometers of road. A total of 39 priority minefields were cleared and returned to communities. All of HALO’s clearance records are stored in the IMSMA database, with additional hard copies held by the EDA.

According to the UNMEE MACC, from the cessation of hostilities in late 2000 until the end of June 2003, a total of 5,737 mines and 47,091 UXO had been destroyed, and 42,078,470 square meters of land in the TSZ had been cleared.[56] The UNMEE MACC reports that as a result of demining during this period over 45,000 refugees returned to their homes and land released for grazing, agricultural production and other economic activities.[57]

Mine Risk Education

Between December 2001 and August 2002, UNMEE, UNICEF and NGOs carried out mine risk education (MRE) programs in the TSZ, reaching 97,000 people, and trained 245 volunteer MRE facilitators. In addition, 268 teachers were trained in MRE and were giving lessons during school hours. A total of 320 personnel from national and international NGOs received landmine and UXO safety training.[58]

The July 2002 proclamation disbanding NGO mine action activities in Eritrea adversely affected MRE.[59] In order to maintain an MRE presence in the field, the UNMEE MACC with assistance from UNICEF recruited, trained, equipped and deployed two MRE teams in the TSZ (in Gash Barka and Debub) as an interim MRE measure.[60] Funds provided for UNICEF MRE programs in 2002 totaled $465,158.[61]

In 2002, the National Training Center trained 268 teachers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and with the support of UNICEF and UNMEE MACC. The National Training Center also developed training manuals. EDA had MRE teams working in three regions: Debub, Gash Barka and Asab.[62] Mines Awareness Trust (MAT) continued its programs of developing community-based MRE teams in Gash Barka, including training over 120 community leaders until August 2002. The former program manager for Mines Awareness Trust told Landmine Monitor that teachers and community leaders who previously received training are still incorporating the MRE curriculum into their local programs.[63]

In May 2003, it was reported to Landmine Monitor that UNICEF's MRE coordinator was now based at both UNICEF and Eritrea Demining Operations offices, and by August 2003, UNICEF planned to deploy six UNICEF MRE teams, each consisting of three facilitators and one team leader.[64]

Up until July 2002, the Eritrean Ministry of Information, with the support of UNICEF, conducted MRE, trained community facilitators, and developed MRE training manuals; MRE radio programming continued on a weekly basis, in eight languages; and children’s radio programming began broadcasting every two weeks. Full-color MRE road billboards were designed and erected in 12 high-risk areas in the TSZ.[65] The radio programs are still ongoing.[66]

Landmine Casualties

In 2002, 78 new mine/UXO casualties from 45 mine-related incidents in the TSZ were reported to the UNMEE MACC. Of the 78 casualties, 16 people were killed and 62 injured; 47 casualties were under the age of 18, and 73 were male. Of the 45 reported incidents, 34 involved antipersonnel landmines, UXO, or reported as unknown, and 11 involved antitank mines.[67]

Reported casualties in the TSZ involved not only Eritrean nationals but others too. For example, in June 2002, five Ethiopian civilians were killed and seven injured when the truck they were traveling in detonated an antivehicle mine just across the border in Ethiopia. Also in June a UNMEE Military Observer from Croatia and a local interpreter sustained injuries when their vehicle struck a landmine in the same area. [68]

Previous studies and the recent UNMEE MACC statistics suggest that a high percentage of landmine/UXO casualties in Eritrea are children and young people under 20 years.[69] The reported casualties may not reflect the actual total, as a number of landmine incidents and casualties in the TSZ are believed to go unreported. There are no official figures on the number of mine-related injuries and deaths outside the TSZ, although unofficial accounts of landmine incidents are common. The monitoring and reporting of mine incidents in the TSZ has suffered significantly since the demining NGOs were expelled from Eritrea at the end of August 2002. Casualty data in the TSZ is reported primarily by military observers, UNMEE MACC officers, the ICRC, or other NGOs in the field, but rarely by farmers or local administrators.[70] A new landmine incident reporting system that would include the entire country, including outside the TSZ, is under discussion among Eritrean government authorities, UNMEE, and UNDP.[71]

Between January 2001 and November 2002, reports indicate that 164 people were injured and 64 reported killed by landmines in the TSZ.[72]

UNMEE MACC reported at least 13 new mine/UXO incidents resulting in 13 deaths from January to May 2003.[73]

Survivor Assistance

Decades of war severely damaged Eritrea’s health care infrastructure. There are few medical and rehabilitation facilities and the capacity for emergency and post-operative care is limited.[74] In regions outside of Asmara, including the heavily mined Gash Barka region, landmine survivors rarely receive support beyond emergency medical care after the mine incident. The Ministry of Health covers the cost of treatment and rehabilitation for mine casualties if the mine survivor can demonstrate economic hardship.[75]

The Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare (MLHW) administers Eritrean government assistance to people with disabilities, including landmine survivors. According to a senior official of the MLHW there are about 150,000 people with disabilities in Eritrea.[76] A UNDP survey indicated there were more than 30,000 in the Gash Barka area alone.[77] No comprehensive nationwide data is available on actual numbers of mine survivors. There are reports that about 40,000 people need to be fitted with orthopedic or prosthetic devices.[78]

The MLHW administers a Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program, through the Department of Social Affairs, that provides direct services to PWDs. The CBR program distributes prosthetic and orthotic devices, mostly through the administration of three orthopedic workshops in Asmara, Karen and Assab. In 2001, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the total number of orthopedic devices produced in Eritrea was 584, including: 241 lower-limb prostheses, 212 crutches, and 21 wheelchairs.[79] The MLHW reports 1,710 devices produced in the same period.[80]

Since February 2002, the ICRC has been providing technical assistance to the Keren Ortho Workshop and is training 10 ortho-technicians in the manufacture of polypropylene prostheses.[81] In 2003, assistance may also be extended to the Asmara and Asab workshops.[82] In January 2002, the ICRC sponsored a disabilities workshop, with the University of Asmara. More than 4,500 medical professionals, UN and NGO representatives, and government officials attended. The program included segments about mine casualties, access to prosthetics, and national disability legislation. The ICRC, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, also sponsored a war surgery seminar in March 2002, for over 130 Eritrean trauma practitioners. Landmine survivors were a major focus of the seminar.[83] In November 2002, the ICRC conducted a four-day trauma management course, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, for 24 doctors, nurses, midwifes and other health professionals in Asmara. The aim of the course was to increase knowledge and practical skills in major trauma management. In addition, twenty physiotherapy assistants were trained by the ICRC, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. The ICRC also donated orthopedic material to the Asmara orthopedic center.[84]

There is reportedly a lack of funds to meet the demands of PWDs in need of high quality, long-lasting prosthetics and other assistive devices. Previously, high-quality devices and components were mostly imported and this limited their availability, as the majority of PWDs were from poor rural communities. Many mobility devices were sub-standard, painful to use, and difficult to maintain. For example, standard wheelchairs were inappropriate for local conditions, in particular the unpaved, rocky roads and paths that many rural landmine survivors, and other users, must travel. UNDP suggested that specialized wheelchairs with traction wheels may be better suited to the needs and living conditions.[85]

The CBR program is seeking to address these problems, with financial and technical assistance from NGOs and donor governments, in particular the ICRC and Norwegian Aid for the Disabled (NAD).[86] The MLHW approved, in 1999, the establishment and construction of a new National Orthopedic Center outside of Asmara. The Center will include an orthopedic workshop, a store, production sites for components, wheelchairs and other devices, a physiotherapy department and teaching facilities. The total cost of the center is U.S. $500,000, with much of the funding coming from the World Health Organization. The expected completion date is the end of 2003.[87]

Landmine Survivors Network Eritrea (LSN) continued to provide outreach and peer support services to landmine survivors during the first half of 2002, which included home and hospital visits, vocational training, mobility training, supply of herd animals and building materials, and assistance in income generation. LSN also conducted a training workshop in Asmara for its four community outreach staff, and began discussions with UNMACC and UNICEF on expanding LSN’s programs into Gash Barka and the TSZ in collaboration with existing MRE programs in these areas. Since 2000, LSN Eritrea has conducted 31 hospital and 1,091 home visits, and made 83 referrals for mobility devices, medical treatment, and economic assistance. In 2002, 23 mine survivors received assistance in income-generating projects.[88] LSN has provided direct assistance to 148 direct landmine survivors, including 18 under the age of 20. LSN also distributed 70 wheelchairs, 253 crutches, and various other materials donated by the Kale Hiwot Church in 2002.[89]

On 24 June 2002, the MLHW instructed LSN to suspend all of its field programs until a formal, direct working relationship with the Ministry, and an integrated policy framework, was established.[90] In December 2002, LSN and the Division of Social Services within the MLHW agreed on a preliminary Memorandum of Understanding on the incorporation of LSN’s programs under authority of the MLHW. In February 2003, LSN was ordered to cease all operations and close its offices. LSN’s clients and survivor programs were not incorporated by the MLHW, according to a former LSN staff person.[91]

The UNDP’s Capacity Building Program for Mine Action in Eritrea includes a mandate for survivor assistance. In October 2002, a UNDP technical advisor for victim assistance arrived. The project will work with the government to help strengthen the national capacity to provide adequate assistance to mine survivors. Employment training for persons with disabilities, including landmine survivors, will be a major component; the UNDP has initiated discussions with the International Labor Organization (ILO) on income generation development for PWDs in Eritrea. Other goals of the program include the creation of a working group composed of NGOs and the MLHW for program coordination, assisting the MLHW in creating a national policy for rehabilitation and disability, and assisting in the establishment of a surgical center, and prosthetic and rehabilitative centers, that are adequately equipped. The program is planned to run for 24 months from January 2003 until December 2004, with a budget of $600,000 per year that will be provided by the Government of Norway. [92]

The Norwegian Association for Disabled (NAD) provided Nakfa(Nfa)$4 million to the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare for its Community Based Rehabilitation Program, which includes landmine victim assistance, in 2002.[93]

Disability Policy and Practice

The long-awaited revised national disability policy remains under review.[94]

In September 2002, the UNDP started preparatory work on the National Survey of Persons with Disabilities in Eritrea, as part of the UNDP Capacity Building Program in Victim Assistance. The survey will be implemented through a partnership with UNICEF and the MLHW. Once complete, the survey will have established a permanent, ongoing record of the history, treatment, and future needs for each PWD in Eritrea. Survey results will be used as a baseline to formulate the first comprehensive national policy on persons with disabilities. Data collection for the National Survey was completed in 2002. The next phase will analyze the data and enter it into an electronic data base system. Discussions are underway with the UNMEE MACC and with the UNDP Landmine Impact Survey, on linking the eventual disability database to the IMSMA database system. According to the UNDP Technical Advisor, the survey could also serve as a Level II Victim Survey. The program budget for the survey is $118,802, of which $50,000 was received as of December 2002.[95]

[1] Interview with Habtom Ghebremicaiel, Director, Europe Division, Euro-America & International Organizations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Asmara, 19 December 2002; interview with Habtom Siguid, Deputy Director, Eritrean Demining Authority, Asmara, 30 December 2002.
[2] Interview with Eritrean Demining Authority staff requesting anonymity, Asmara, 23 December 2002.
[3] “Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea,” United Nations Security Council, ref. S/2003/257, 6 March 2003; email from Brian Drayner, Field Security Coordination Officer, UN, 20 January 2003; interview with Gerhard Bechtold, IMSMA Program Officer, UNMEE MACC, Asmara, 23 December 2002; email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Phil Lewis, Program Manager, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[4] “Islamic group says it planted mines,” UN Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), 21 March 2003, available at www.irinnews.org. The Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement claimed on the Internet that the “Mujahedin” were behind the landmine ambush.
[5] Ibid; email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[6] “Ethiopia rejects accusations of laying mines,” IRIN, 21 March 2003.
[7] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 250.
[8] Ibid, citing maps and minefield records provided to UNMEE MACC by Eritrea in May 2001 and by Ethiopia in April 2002.
[9] Email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[10] Interview with Habtom Siguid, Eritrean Demining Authority, 30 December 2002.
[11] Interview with Russom Semere, Eritrea Mine Action Program, 17 January 2002, cited in Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 250.
[12] Statement by Eritrea, intersessional Standing Committee meetings, Geneva, 29 January 2002.
[13] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 250, citing maps and minefield records provided to UNMEE MACC by Eritrea in May 2001 and by Ethiopia in April 2002.
[14] For example, on 18 December 2002, during a trip to Tisha Beth village (population about 2,000) near Senafe in Debub province, Landmine Monitor was shown an area that contained a natural well water source with the capacity to meet all the water needs of the village. The well, however, was inaccessible because of the high threat of landmine contamination from the 1998-2000 border war. The village was forced to import water from a nearby village.
[15] Interview with Habtom Ghebremicaiel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19 December 2002.
[16] UNDP Eritrea Landmine Impact Survey, “Senior Staff Training and Pretest Report,” 9 January 2002.
[17] All figures were reported by the donors, and are from the individual country studies in this Landmine Monitor Report. In some cases, funding is for the country’s fiscal year, and not the calendar year. Currency exchange done by Landmine Monitor.
[18] Email from Chunsen Gong, Department of Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People’s Republic of China, 6 March 2003; email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Phil Lewis, Program Manager, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[19] Interview with Justin Brady, Project Manager, Landmine Impact Survey, UNDP, Asmara, 18 December 2002.
[20] Email from Justin Brady, UNDP, 7 February 2003.
[21] Survey Action Center, “Newsletter,” Vol. 2: 6, June 2003.
[22] Email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Justin Brady, UNDP, Asmara, 31 July 2003.
[23] Interview with Justin Brady, UNDP, 18 December 2002.
[24] Email from Justin Brady, UNDP, 7 February 2003.
[25] UNMAS website: www.mineaction.org.
[26] Government of Eritrea, “A Proclamation to Establish the Eritrean Demining Authority, No. 123/2002,” The Gazette of Eritrean Laws, Volume 11/2002, No. 4, 8 July 2002.
[27] UN, “Portfolio of Mine-Related Projects 2003,” October 2002. The EDO was initially called the Eritrean Demining Agency, but was renamed. Email from Lejla Susic, MRE Coordinator, UNICEF Eritrea, 5 May 2003.
[28] Interview with Marlene Unrau, UNMEE MACC, 23 December 2002.
[29] Email from Phil Lewis, Program Manager, UNMEE MACC, 31 January 2003.
[30] “Eritrea: Decision To Send Deminers Away Causes Concern,” IRIN (Nairobi ), 5 June 2003.
[31] UN, “Portfolio of Mine-Related Projects 2003,” October 2002.
[32] Interview with Leila Blacking, UNICEF Eritrea, 20 December 2002.
[33] Email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[34] Interview with Jane Brouillette, Technical Advisor for Capacity Building in Victim Assistance, UNDP, Asmara, 23 December 2002.
[35] Interview with Habtom Siguid, Eritrean Demining Authority, 30 December 2002.
[36] Interview with Joe Wenkoff, Technical Advisor for Capacity Building, UNDP, Asmara, 23 December 2002; interview with Habtom Siguid, Eritrean Demining Authority, 30 December 2002.
[37] Email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[38] UN Security Council (UNSC), “Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea,” ref. S/2002/1393, 20 December 2002.
[39] Ibid.
[40] UNSC Resolution, ref. S/2002/1430, 14 August 2002; UNSC, “Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea,” ref. S/2002/977, 30 August 2002.
[41] Email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 4 December 2002.
[42] Ibid; email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[43] Email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 4 December 2002; interview with Major Tarasov Stanislav, UNMEE MACC Military Observer and Field Mine Action Liaison Officer for the EEBC, Asmara, 26 December 2002.
[44] Email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 4 December 2002.
[45] Interview with Paul Le Pou, Special Projects Manager, UXB, Asmara, 26 December 2002; Email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[46] Email from Paul Le Pou, Special Projects Manager, UXB Asmara, 6 January 2003.
[47] Ibid.
[48] Ibid.
[49] Email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[50] Email from DDG, 19 May 2003.
[51] Interview with Marlene Unrau, UNMEE MACC, 23 December 2002.
[52] Email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Lennart Skov-Hansen, Emergency Coordinator, DanChurchAid, 21 July 2003.
[53] Interview with Marlene Unrau, UNMEE MACC, 23 December 2002.
[54] Email from Lennart Skov-Hansen, DanChurchAid, 21 July 2003.
[55] All information in this section on HALO activities is from email to HALO (UK HQ) from Alan Macdonald, Eritrea Programme Manager, HALO Trust, 20 June 2003, provided to Landmine Monitor (HRW) on 28 July 2003.
[56] Email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[57] UNMEE MACC, UN Mine Action In Eritrea Since 2000, December 2002.
[58] UNSC, “Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea,” ref. S/2002/977, 30 August 2002.
[59] UNSC, “Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea,” ref. S/2002/1393, 20 December 2002.
[60] Interview with Hanoch Bar-Levi, MRE Coordinator, UNICEF Eritrea, Asmara, 17 December 2002; email to Landmine Monitor (HIB) from Leila Blacking, Chief Communications Officer, UNICEF Eritrea, 21 July 2003; email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[61] Email from Leila Blacking, Chief Communications Officer, UNICEF Eritrea, 14 January 2003.
[62] Email from Hanoch Bar-Levi, former MRE Coordinator, UNICEF Eritrea, Asmara, 24 July 2003.
[63] Email from Andrew Moore, Program Manager, Mines Awareness Trust, Khartoum (Sudan), 3 January 2003.
[64] Email from Lejla Susic, MRE Coordinator, UNICEF Eritrea, 5 June 2003; email from Phil Lewis, UNMEE MACC, 14 July 2003.
[65] Email to Landmine Monitor (HIB) from Leila Blacking, Chief Communications Officer, UNICEF Eritrea, 21 July 2003.
[66] Ibid.
[67] Statistics from the IMSMA Database, UNMEE MACC, provided to Landmine Monitor, 27 December 2002.
[68] “UN observer, Eritrean national wounded in landmine explosion,” IRIN, 25 June 2002.
[69] Kurt Hanevik and Gunnar Kvale, “Landmine Injuries in Eritrea,” British Medical Journal, November 2000; interview with Gerhard Bechtold, UNMEE MACC, 27 December 2002.
[70] Interview with Gerhard Bechtold, UNMEE MACC, 27 December 2002; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 257.
[71] Interviews with Jane Brouillette, UNDP, 23 December 2002, and Gerhard Bechtold, UNMEE MACC, 27 December 2002.
[72] “64 Said Killed By Mines in Buffer Zone Since January 2001,” IRIN, 27 November 2002.
[73] UNMEE MACC, Victim Statistics Report, May 2003.
[74] See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 208-209; see also Landmine Survivors Rehabilitation Services Database, available at www.lsndatabase.org.
[75] Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 254.
[76] Interview with Habtom Seyoum, Director of Rehabilitation Division, Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare, Asmara, 26 December 2002.
[77] Interview with Jane Brouillette, UNDP, 23 December 2002, commenting on the data recorded in 2002 for the National Survey for People with Disabilities in Eritrea.
[78] Interview with Habtom Seyoum, Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare, 26 December 2002.
[79] World Health Organization, “Assessment of Prosthetics and Orthotics Services in Eritrea,” Mission Report, 17-26 September 2002.
[80] Interview with Habtom Seyoum, Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare, 26 December 2002.
[81] Update of ICRC activities in Eritrea, 19 August 2002, www.icrc.org (7 June 2003).
[82] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programs, “Annual Report 2002,” Geneva, June 2003.
[83] Interview with Paul Conneally, Communications Delegate, ICRC, Asmara, 27 March 2002.
[84] ICRC Operational update, “Eritrea: January 2003,” 21 February 2003.
[85] Interview with Friedrun Mebert Le Borgne, Head of Delegation, ICRC, Asmara, 27 December 2002.
[86] Interview with Habtom Seyoum, Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare, 26 December 2002.
[87] “The ICRC in Eritrea, Update, January–March 2002,” ICRC Newsletter.
[88] Interview with Tedla Gebrehiwot, Executive Director, Landmine Survivors Network Eritrea, Asmara, 24 December 2002.
[89] LSN, Eritrea Network Summary, December 2002.
[90] Interview with Tedla Gebrehiwot, LSN, 24 December 2002; interview with Habtom Seyoum, Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare, 23 December 2002.
[91] Interview with Tedla Gebrehiwot, Asmara, 23 May 2003.
[92] Interview with Jane Brouillette, UNDP, 23 December 2002.
[93] Interview with Habtom Seyoum, Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare, 20 December 2002.
[94] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 259.
[95] Interview with Jane Brouillette, UNDP, 23 December 2002.