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


Key developments since May 2002: The country’s first humanitarian demining program started in mid-2002. By January 2003, it had cleared 396,555 square meters of land in Tigray, destroying 132 antipersonnel landmines, 12 antivehicle mines and 251 UXO. A national Landmine Impact Survey is due to be completed in October 2003. In 2002, mine risk education reached 301,372 people. Mine action funding totaled more than US$8.7 million in 2002. Ethiopia hosted the ICBL/Landmine Monitor Africa-wide regional meeting in December 2002. In 2002, 67 new landmine/UXO casualties were reported.

Mine Ban Policy

Ethiopia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, but has not yet ratified it. Addressing a regional ICBL/Landmine Monitor meeting in Addis Ababa in December 2002, a government official said: “The government of Ethiopia is fully committed to the evolving international norms for the total eradication of antipersonnel landmines. Ethiopia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, and is fully committed to its principles and objectives. As we have reiterated on several occasions, in pursuing the strengthening of the Treaty, a regional approach should be adopted to encourage countries...that remain outside the Ottawa process or those [that] have not yet ratified it, not only to join the treaty but also adhere to its letter and spirit.”[1]

Ethiopia attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002 and the Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. The delegation’s statement during the February meetings made no commitment regarding ratification of the treaty. Ethiopia voted in support of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 in November 2002, promoting universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Production, Transfer and Stockpiling

Ethiopia has stated that it does not produce antipersonnel mines, and has not imported antipersonnel mines since the overthrow of the Mengistu regime in 1991.[2] The size and composition of Ethiopia’s stockpile of antipersonnel mines is not yet known, though the types of mines found planted in Ethiopia have been identified.[3]

There have been no allegations of use of antipersonnel mines in Ethiopia in this reporting period by either government forces or non-state actors. However, 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 Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) between the two countries. An Ethiopian foreign ministry official said that General Abrahaley's remarks came as a “surprise,” while the United Nations said it believed “dissident groups” opposed to the Eritrean authorities were responsible for laying new mines in the TSZ.[4]

In July 2003, the head of Somalia’s transitional government accused Ethiopia of supplying arms, including landmines, to Somali factions. Abkikassim Salad Hassan said, “Ethiopia continues to violate the arms embargo on Somalia imposed by the UN Security Council by supplying large quantities of weapons, ammunition and prohibited landmines to its clientele warlords.” Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi rejected the allegation as “nonsense.”[5]

Landmine Problem, Survey and Assessment

There is extensive landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination in Ethiopia as a result of the 1998-2000 war with Eritrea, as well as border disputes with Somalia and Sudan, dating back to the 1930s. Many of the mines and minefields are near populated areas and inflict casualties on both people and livestock. Mines pose dangers to the resident population, internally displaced persons, and humanitarian relief efforts. At the December 2002 ICBL meeting in Addis Ababa, a government official said, “Having recognized the incalculable humanitarian and socio-economic impact of landmines, the Government of Ethiopia has accorded mine action significant importance.”[6] A demining official noted that large areas of land are no longer economically viable due to mines and UXO, and that dangers are increasing, as drought has caused population movement to contaminated areas.[7]

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), under contract with Survey Action Center (SAC) and in close coordination with the Ethiopian Mine Action Office (EMAO), has been conducting a Landmine Impact Survey (LIS) in Ethiopia since January 2002. Data collection began in April 2003. The survey is to cover all of Ethiopia including Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and the Somali National Regional state.[8] NPA expects completion by October 2003, although the UN has cited a date of December 2003.[9] As of June 2003, data collection was ongoing in all regions of the country, with 577 mine-suspected communities visited.[10] Funding for the survey has been provided by Germany, Norway, the US, and the European Commission.

The results of the LIS will be used to develop a mine action strategy and to determine mine action priorities based on the socio-economic needs of the affected communities. Data from an earlier rapid assessment by the British demining NGO HALO Trust was entered into the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database, and is being used to identify mined areas during general survey activities.[11] IMSMA was installed in the EMAO late in 2002 by the UN Development Program as part of their technical capacity building project with EMAO.[12]

Mine Clearance and Coordination

The Ethiopian Mine Action Office was established in February 2001 to carry out humanitarian mine action in the country.[13] EMAO’s director cites as major accomplishments the development of a management focal point, engagement of international advisors, training of senior and middle level management staff by Cranfield University, and the equipping and training of four companies of civilian deminers to international standards.[14] Two companies were trained and equipped by the commercial US firm RONCO with US State Department funds. The other two companies were trained by EMAO with assistance from UN technical advisors; the cost of the training and demining equipment was covered with a World Bank loan.

EMAO’s companies were deployed to Tigray in May 2002 and began the first humanitarian demining operations in Ethiopia soon thereafter. By the beginning of 2003, they had cleared 130,840 square meters of land in Gerhusirnay and 265,715 square meters of land in Marta, destroying 132 antipersonnel mines, 12 antivehicle mines and 251 UXO. The EMAO-trained companies were deployed to Tigray (Gemahlo) and Afar (Bure) in December 2002.[15]

In addition to the demining in Tigray and Afar, mine clearance operations are being conducted in the Temporary Security Zone. (See Eritrea country report for details).

Mine Risk Education

In 2002, Mine Risk Education (MRE) reached more than 300,000 people in Ethiopia through programs carried out by the Ethiopian NGO Rehabilitation and Development Organization (RaDO) in the Tigray and Afar regions along the border with Eritrea. UNICEF provides technical and financial assistance to RaDO, which also works in partnership with the Office of Rehabilitation and Social Affairs of Tigray Region, and the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau of Tigray and Afar Regions.[16] During 2002, more than 250,000 people received some form of MRE in Tigray. A total of 20,601 adults received community-based MRE, and 45,610 students received classroom-based MRE from schoolteachers and RaDO. RaDO and child MRE instructors reached 11,705 and 84,355 out-of-school children, respectively. A total of 2,596 deportees received MRE before leaving Adwa transit camp. An additional 87,147 people were sensitized in the year 2002.[17] RaDO’s MRE project in Afar region reached 21,250 people through its community-based approach, 4,807 children in regular schools, 5,867 children in Koranic (religious) schools through its school-based approach, and 19,448 through its sensitization program.[18]

An MRE community liaison training session was carried out by RaDO, EMAO and UNICEF from 26 March-1 April 2003 at EMAO’s office. Sixteen participants were drawn from RaDO, EMAO, Ethiopian Red Cross Society, and regional government representatives of Tigray and Afar.[19]

Mine Action Funding

A UN official in Ethiopia told Landmine Monitor that in 2002, direct and indirect contributions for mine action totaled $8.736 million.[20] This included $3.5 million in funding from the Ethiopian government, as part of a World Ban loan. Reportedly, the World Bank loan to Ethiopia initially had $30 million earmarked for mine action, but that has been reduced to $15 million.[21] The reduction was made following an assessment done jointly by the World Bank, UNDP, and the Emergency Rehabilitation Program Monitoring Unit.[22]

In 2002, eight donors provided about US$4.87 million to mine action in Ethiopia, based on information provided to Landmine Monitor by the donors.[23] The largest donor was the United States with $2,425,000.[24] Other contributors included: the European Commission $950,000; Japan $481,552; Italy $501,750; Germany $190,000; Canada $175,500; Norway $100,000; and Switzerland $45,000.

According to the UN official, Finland provided $48,000 and the United Kingdom $193,000 through UNICEF. In-kind contributions to the UNDP mine action in Ethiopia were made by: Ireland $6,300 (to support middle management training in Amman, Jordan); the Netherlands (provided two demining trainers for four months); and Switzerland (provided an advisor for six months).[25]

A mine action project document was signed with UNDP in September 2001 and extended in September 2002 for another year. The project provides more than $2 million in UNDP and donor funds for technical assistance for mine action in Ethiopia, including a component for the Landmine Impact Survey.[26]

Landmine/UXO Casualties

In 2002, 67 new landmine/UXO casualties were reported by RaDO in Tigray and in Afar; 13 were killed and 54 injured. Data on mine/UXO casualties is collected in RaDO mine risk education project areas. In addition, in June 2002, five Ethiopian civilians were killed and seven injured when the truck they were traveling in detonated an antivehicle mine on the Ethiopian side of the border in the TSZ.[27]

In Tigray region, 62 new mine/UXO casualties were reported, of which 12 were killed and 50 injured: 59 males and three females, 25 were under 18 years of age. Of the total casualties, 25 were caused by antivehicle mines, 11 by antipersonnel mines, and 26 by UXO. Activities at the time of the incidents included tampering (26), herding (8), traveling (24), collecting firewood (1), and ploughing (2).[28]

In Afar region, five new mine/UXO casualties were reported; one person was killed and four injured. Three were female and two male. Three were under 18 years of age.[29]

In the period from 1998 to December 2001, reported landmine and UXO incidents resulted in 335 casualties being registered in Tigray region alone: 119 were killed and 216 injured. In 1998, eight people were killed and eight injured. In 1999, 53 people were killed and 68 injured. In 2000, 47 were killed and 102 injured. In 2001, 11 people were killed and 38 injured.[30]

In the period from 1999 to December 2001, in the Afar region, 87 mine/UXO casualties were recorded in the three districts where RaDO works. In 1999, 7 people were killed and 32 injured. In 2000, 4 people were killed and 17 injured. In 2001, 7 people were killed and 20 injured. Of the total casualties to the end of December 2002, 55 were adults and 37 were under 18 years of age. Children were killed and injured while herding cattle or tampering with UXOs. Antipersonnel mines caused 39 casualties, antivehicle mines 2 casualties, UXO 46 casualties, and the cause of 5 casualties is unknown.[31]

Casualties continue to be reported in the Tigray region in 2003, with three persons killed and thirteen injured in mine and UXO incidents as of the end of May.[32]

Survivor Assistance

In Ethiopia, few hospitals are capable of performing emergency surgery and most health posts in the mine-affected areas do not have the capacity to provide emergency care to mine casualties. Adigrat Hospital provides emergency care and physiotherapy services. Shire Hospital, a government hospital located in Endaselasie town in the western part of Tigray region, has also assisted a number of landmine casualties in emergency care and treatment. The ICRC supports the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) Tigray branch: ERCS first aid volunteers and ambulance service provides emergency assistance in mine-affected areas.[33]

In Ethiopia there are centers providing physical rehabilitation and orthopedic devices; some are government run and others are operated by NGOs or international agencies. The Rehabilitation Affairs Department, of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) is responsible for coordinating rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities. It oversees four orthopedic workshops in different parts of the country: Addis Ababa, Mekelle, Harar, and Dessie.

The Addis Ababa Prosthetic Orthotic Center (POC) is a referral center for physical rehabilitation and operates an orthopedic workshop and physiotherapy department. It is also a training center on orthopedic technology and physiotherapy, which is conducted in partnership mainly with MOLSA, the ICRC and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF). In 2002, the center assisted 4,717 people, including 547 landmine survivors. The center produced and supplied 766 prostheses, 1,356 orthoses, 92 wheelchairs, 4,237 crutches and 8 assistive devices; 507 prostheses and 40 other devices were for landmine survivors. The annual budget for the program is Birr 3.2 million (US$376,470).[34]

The Dessie Prosthetic Orthotic Center provides physical rehabilitation services. The center works in partnership mainly with the ICRC and VVAF. In 2002, the center assisted 430 people; none were landmine survivors. The center produced and supplied 197 prostheses, 98 orthoses, and 464 crutches, and repaired 135 devices.[35]

The Harar Prosthetic Orthotic Center provides physical rehabilitation services. The Center works in partnership mainly with ICRC, Menschen fur Menschen and RaDO. In 2002, the center assisted 130 people, including 80 landmine survivors. The center also produced and supplied 136 prostheses, 20 orthoses, 160 crutches and 10 walking frames.[36]

The local NGO, Mekelle Orthopedic, Physiotherapy Center of the Tigray Disabled Veterans Association (TDVA) provides physical rehabilitation services. The center works in partnership mainly with the ICRC, German Leprosy and TB Relief Association, MOLSA (Demobilization and Integration and Coordination Unit) and the Office of Rehabilitation and Social Affairs of Tigray Region (ORSA). In 2002, the center assisted 516 people, including 214 landmine survivors. The center produced and supplied 355 prostheses, 161 orthoses, produced 500 crutches and supplied 462; 202 prostheses, 420 crutches and 6 assistive devices were for landmine survivors.[37]

In 2002, the ICRC supported seven prosthetic/orthotic centers in Ethiopia including Addis Ababa, Mekelle, Dessie, Harar, Alert Hospital, and Mickey Leyland, with materials, training and supervision.[38] The ICRC also implements the Patients Support Services (PSS) program for war victims in the orthopedic workshops of Addis Ababa, Dessie, Harar and Mekelle. With the PSS arrangement, the ICRC reimburses the cost of services rendered to patients, transportation costs, the cost of food and accommodation, and the cost of the orthopedic appliances. In 2002, under the PSS program, 1,073 people were assisted, including 878 landmine survivors. The ICRC reports total production from the centers as 1,902 prostheses, 1,695 orthoses and 4,378 crutches; 835 prostheses and 43 orthoses were for landmine survivors.[39]

The Arbaminch Rehabilitation Center is a local NGO providing physical and medical rehabilitation services, social and economic reintegration, and vocational training. The center works in partnership mainly with the ICRC, CORDAID and Catholic Organization for Relief and Development. In 2002, the center assisted 416 people, including 153 landmine survivors. The center produced and supplied 110 prostheses, 54 orthoses, 164 crutches, and 8 assistive devices; 51 prostheses and 102 crutches were for landmine survivors.[40]

The local NGO Rehabilitation and Development Organization (RaDO) works in the Somali refugee camps and the surrounding local population providing social and physical rehabilitation services. The program is implemented in collaboration with UNHCR, Stichting Vluchteling Netherlands (SV) and the Administration for Refugees and Returnees affairs (ARRA). In 2002, 1,931 people were assisted, including 41 landmine survivors. RaDO produced and supplied 514 orthopedic devices, 481 crutches, and 56 assistive devices; 31 prostheses and 22 other devices were for landmine survivors.[41]

Addis Development Vision (ADV) is a local NGO providing developmental rehabilitation, skills training, medical rehabilitation, and early childhood development to disabled and destitute children. It works in partnership with Cheshire Service, POC and ALERT. In 2002, it assisted 544 people, including 32 landmine survivors. ADV supplied 70 prostheses, 90 orthoses, six wheelchairs, 94 crutches and 13 assistive devices; 25 prostheses, six wheelchairs and three crutches were for landmine survivors. ADV also provided a one-year skills training program, startup capital and basic tools for self-employment for 85 persons with disabilities.[42]

Cheshire Service Ethiopia provides institutional and outreach rehabilitation services for children with disabilities in the regions, and a Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program in Addis Ababa, with objectives of prevention, rehabilitation, and reintegration, of persons with disabilities. The center works in partnership mainly with LSN Ethiopia, Christian Blind Mission, Alemachin, Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission and MOLSA. In 2002, the center assisted 6,067 people, including 357 landmine survivors. The center produced and supplied 1,838 orthoses, produced 2,500 crutches and supplied 2,274, and produced 2,000 assistive devices and supplied 1,990; 174 crutches and 81 assistive devices were for landmine survivors.[43]

As part of the OMEGA Initiative, VVAF is working with war-disabled, including landmine survivors, in the Amhara region, principally in the town of Dessie. The program became operational in early 2003. VVAF is developing a physiotherapy unit and gait-training area to expand and improve the quality of services available at the Dessie orthopedic center. In June 2003, it is developing a community follow-up (CFU) scheme as a component of the overall rehabilitation service in the center. VVAF is also planning to establish a satellite orthopedic workshop in Bahir Dar in 2004. During the development of the program, VVAF concluded that significant problems for mine survivors and other persons with disabilities were a lack of knowledge about existing services, and the cost of getting to the workshop and staying in town while their devices were produced.[44]

The Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) program in Ethiopia uses community-based outreach workers, who are also amputees, to work with individual mine survivors to assess their needs, offer psychological and social support, and educate families about the effects of limb loss. The program also provides material support when needed. In 2002, LSN assisted 356 people, including 303 landmine survivors. All their services are free of charge. LSN works in partnership with the Bureau of Labor and Social Affairs and the Bureau of Foreign Relation and Development Cooperation of the Addis Ababa Region. According to LSN, the needs of mine survivors are housing and shelter, economic and social support, vocational training and employment opportunities, medical care, mobility devices and education. The annual budget for the program is Birr 1,713,813 (US$201,625).[45]

The ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD) manages a training center in prosthetics at the Addis Ababa POC. In 2002, 26 prosthetics from 14 countries benefited from the training. In addition to training at the POC, eight technicians attended training sessions in Damascus at the Red Crescent Orthopedic Center, and two technicians attended training at the Kangemi Rehabilitation Center in Nairobi. The ICRC (SFD) also sponsored two technicians to undertake a three-year course in prosthetics/orthotics at TATCOT in Tanzania.[46]

Other organizations assisting persons with disabilities, including landmine survivors, in physical rehabilitation, orthopedic devices, and social and economic reintegration include: Handicap National-Action for Children with Disabilities (HN-ACD), Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf, and the Ethiopian National Association of the Physically Handicapped.[47]

Disability Policy and Practice

The Ethiopian Federation of Persons with Disabilities (EFPD) is an umbrella organization of the five national disability associations. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the EFPD coordinate disability issues at the national level.[48]

[1] Statement by Mehreta’ab Mulugeta, Head, International Organizations and Economic Cooperation General Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, to the ICBL/Landmine Monitor Africa-Wide Regional Meeting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 11 December 2002, p. 7.
[2] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 549.
[3] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 145-146.
[4] “Ethiopia rejects accusations of laying mines,” IRIN, 21 March 2003, available at www.irinnews.org.
[5] Manoah Esipisu, “Somalia launches broadside against Ethiopia,” Reuters (Maputo), 12 July 2003.
[6] Statement by Mehreta’ab Mulugeta, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 11 December 2002, p. 2.
[7] Statement by Teklewold Mengesha, Director, Ethiopian Mine Action Office, to the ICBL/Landmine Monitor Africa-Wide Regional Meeting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 11 December 2002.
[8] Interview with Jonas Zackrisson, NPA team leader, Addis Ababa, 6 March 2003.
[9] Ibid; UN, “Portfolio of Mine-Related Projects 2003,” October 2002.
[10] Survey Action Center, “Newsletter,” Vol. 2, No. 6, June 2003.
[11] Interview with Teklewold Mengesha, Director, Ethiopian Mine Action Office, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 30 January 2003.
[12] Email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Karen McClure, Mine Risk Education Project Officer, UNICEF Ethiopia, 24 July 2003.
[13] Statement by Mehreta’ab Mulugeta, Head, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 11 December 2002, p. 3.
[14] Interview with Teklewold Mengesha, EMAO, 30 January 2003; interview with Mehereta’ ab Mulugeta, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 11 December 2003.
[15] Interview with Teklewold Mengesha, EMAO, 30 January 2003.
[16] Interview with Tilahun G. Kidan, Executive Director, RaDO, Addis Ababa, 27 December 2002.
[17] Interview with Temesgen Abraha, Mekelle, 15 January 2003.
[18] Interview with Abdu Ali, Manager, Afar MRE Project, RaDO, Asayita, 23 January 2003.
[19] Interview with Ambachew Negus, MRE Coordinator, RaDO, Addis Ababa, 1 April 2003.
[20] Discussion with Jim Prudhomme, Senior Technical Advisor, UN mine action in Ethiopia, 1 March 2003.
[21] Statement by Teklewold Mengesha, EMAO, 11 December 2002, p. 8.
[22] Email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Karen McClure, UNICEF Ethiopia, 24 July 2003.
[23] See the individual donor country reports in this Landmine Monitor Report. For some donors, figures are for their fiscal year, not the calendar year. Currency conversions made by Landmine Monitor.
[24] This included $1,275,000 from the State Department, an estimated $800,000 from the Defense Department, and $350,000 from the Centers for Disease Control. See, US Department of State, “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” September 2002.
[25] Discussion with Jim Prudhomme, Senior Technical Advisor, 1 March 2003. He also indicated that in 2002, donor contributions of $1.64 million to UNDP Trust Funds and cost Sharing Arrangements included: Canada, $187,000; Germany, $190,000; Netherlands, $1,000,000 (includes LIS); and Norway, $257,000.
[26] UN Portfolio of mine-related projects, 2003, p. 125.
[27] “UN observer, Eritrean national wounded in landmine explosion,” IRIN, 25 June 2002.
[28] Interview with Temesgen Abraha, RaDO, 15 January 2003.
[29] Interview with Abdu Ali, RaDO, 23 January 2003.
[30] Interview with Temesgen Abraha, RaDO, 15 January 2003.
[31] Interview with Abdu Ali, RaDO, 23 January 2003.
[32] Email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Karen McClure, UNICEF Ethiopia, 24 July 2003.
[33] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, pp. 553-554.
[34] Interview with Yohannes Behanu, Manager, Prosthetic Orthotic Center, Addis Ababa, 16 January 2003.
[35] Interview with Daniel Kassa, Manager, Dessie POC, 3 February 2003.
[36] Interview with Tsegaye W/medhin, Manager, Harar POC, Harar, 25 January 2003.
[37] Interview with Girmay Gmeskel, Manager, Mekelle Orthopedic Physiotherapy Center, Mekelle, 12 January 2003.
[38] ICRC, “Annual Report 2002,” Geneva, June 2003, p. 76.
[39] Interview with Didier Cooreman, Head of Orthopedic Program, ICRC, Addis Ababa, 20 January 2003. It should be noted that these figures are a cumulative total of the workshops supported by the ICRC.
[40] Interview with Abebaw Amsalu, Project and Training Officer, Arbaminch Rehabilitation Center, Arbaminch, 21 January 2003.
[41] Interview with Teshome Zewdie, Manager, RaDO, Jijiga, 14 February 2003.
[42] Interview with Haimanot Desalegn, Program Coordinator, Addis Ababa Development Vision, Addis Ababa, 14 January 2003.
[43] Interview with Dereje Tekle, Cheshire Service Ethiopia, Director, Addis Ababa, 16 December 2002.
[44] Emails to Landmine Monitor (HIB) from Tilahun G Kidan, Country Representative, VVAF, 20 June 2003; and Linda Monroe, Physical Therapist, The Omega Initiative-Ethiopia, 9 June 2003.
[45] Interview with Gebreselasie Gebremariam, Director, LSN-Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, 20 January 2003.
[46] ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled, “Annual Report 2002,” Geneva, June 2003.
[47] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, pp. 555-556.
[48] Ibid.