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Country Reports
Finland, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: In 2002, Finland provided €4.8 million (US$4.6 million) to mine action programs.

Mine Ban Policy

Finland remains the only country in the European Union (EU) that has not signed, ratified or acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. A governmental report on foreign and security policy, approved by Parliament in December 2001, confirmed the goal of joining the treaty by 2006 and destroying antipersonnel mines by the end of 2010.[1] A final decision on when to accede should be taken by the Parliament in 2004, following another report that is expected in early 2004.

An inter-ministerial working group established in 2001 to make recommendations on foreign and security policy, including regarding accession to the Mine Ban Treaty, includes a technical group responsible for investigating alternatives to antipersonnel mines. In 2002 and 2003, the technical group examined the landmine policy and alternatives situation in EU members, including new member states.[2] The working group will produce an interim report in late 2003 that may make recommendations regarding accession to the Mine Ban Treaty.[3]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has long stressed Finland’s strong support for the ban of antipersonnel mines, and views its 2006 accession goal as an encouragement to other countries to join the treaty.[4]

Finland attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002, as an observer, and supported a statement made by Denmark on behalf of the EU. The Finnish representative also told the meeting that Finland was participating in the EU’s work to promote the objectives and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty and described the treaty as “clearly one of the major successes in the field of disarmament in recent years.”[5]

On 22 November 2002, Finland voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, which called for universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Finland also participated in the Mine Ban Treaty intersessional Standing Committees in February and May 2003.

In early June 2003, following parliamentary elections, there were media reports that the speaker of the Parliament, Paavo Lipponen, and then-Minister of Defense Matti Vanhanen, were in favor of Finland retaining antipersonnel mines. One article stated,

Lipponen said that antipersonnel landmines were still an important part of Finnish defence.... Vanhanen has expressed a wish to retain the landmines as part of the defense system. He said the current government was not committed to the goal written into the defense report, to get rid of the landmines by the year 2010.... Vanhanen pointed out the official target of eliminating landmines from the Finnish arsenal by 2010 was not binding, adding that the government will not have funds to replace landmines during this parliamentary term.[6]

The Chair of Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Liisa Jaakonsaari, rejected the Defense Minister’s remarks by saying, “Finland would be undermining the Ottawa Treaty on a global landmine ban.”[7] Responding to ICBL inquiries about these reports, a Ministry of Defense official replied, “The new Government has not yet discussed this issue and therefore there are no changes in Finland’s position on the issue of acceding to the Ottawa Convention.”[8]

On 24 June 2003, Matti Vanhanen was appointed Prime Minister.

In July 2003, Finland’s President, Tarja Halonen, stated, “Even if Finland is not part of the humanitarian problem caused by...antipersonnel landmines, we are conscious that by agreeing to this international norm we are part of the solution.”[9]

Finland is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II, and submitted its annual report as required by Article 13 of the Protocol on 11 October 2002. Finland participated in the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to the protocol in December 2002. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs favors a new protocol dealing with explosive remnants of war.[10]

The Finnish Campaign to Ban Landmines has promoted a ban on antipersonnel mines for nearly a decade and has expressed concern at the slow timetable for Finland’s accession. In April 2003, the ICBL’s Government Relations Officer visited Helsinki to discuss treaty accession with government officials, NGOs, students and media. On 27-30 April 2003, the amputee hockey world championships took place in Finland. Competing teams included some landmine survivors and the program for the championship referred to the landmine issue and included a letter from Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and ICBL Ambassador.[11]

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling

In September 2002, Finland confirmed that it does not manufacture or export antipersonnel mines, and it “has no anti-personnel mines deployed in...Finnish soil.”[12] According to the Ministry of Defense, antipersonnel mines were last manufactured in 1981.[13]

The size and composition of Finland’s stockpile of antipersonnel mines has not been officially revealed. Government officials have indicated that Finland could reveal these details in a voluntary Article 7 report in advance of accession, following the example set by Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.[14]

Mine Action Assistance[15]

In 2002, Finland’s funding of mine action programs totaled €4,793,356 (US$4,553,688).[16] This represents a slight decrease from €5 million provided in 2001, but a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confirmed Finland’s intent to continue contributing approximately €5 million annually to mine action in future years.[17]

From 1991 through 2002, Finland contributed a total of €32,465,378 to mine action programs.

Mine action funding in 2002 was allocated as follows:

  • Afghanistan - €1 million ($950,000) to the mine action program of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan (UNOCHA) and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
  • Angola - €833,248 ($791,587) comprising €252,282 to Finnish Church Aid (FCA) and the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) for mine action and mine risk education (MRE); €403,651 to Finnish Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for victim assistance; and €177,315 to MAG for mine clearance.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - €709,128 ($673,672) comprising €540,940 to Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) for mine clearance and support to the mine action center and entity Army demining efforts; and €168,188 to FCA and ICRC for MRE and victim assistance.
  • Cambodia - €1,110,041 ($1,054,539) comprising €672,752 to HALO Trust for mine clearance; €252,282 to FCA and MAG for mine clearance; €100,913 to Handicap International for mine/UXO casualty information; and €84,094 to FCA and ICRC for MRE.
  • Laos - €300,000 ($285,000) to the UN Development Program (UNDP) and UXO Lao for UXO clearance.
  • Mozambique - €336,376 ($319,557) to UNDP and the Accelerated Demining Program for mine clearance.
  • General assistance - €504,563 ($479,335) to UNMAS.

Finland’s mine action funding policy remains unchanged from 2001 and countries prioritized for funding remain the same. Finland supported two new projects in 2002 by FCA and MAG in Angola. While all 2002 funding went to one-year projects, with one exception, multi-year funding of some projects has been agreed from 2003 onwards.

By March 2003, Finland had committed €5 million for mine action in 2003, €3.97 million for 2004, and €700,000 for 2005, for projects in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Eritrea/Ethiopia, Laos, the northern Caucasus, and Sudan.

In addition to financial contributions, in-kind assistance to mine action in 2002 included mechanical mine clearance assistance—flails—in Cambodia and Mozambique. Due to wear and tear in these operations, the flails were withdrawn from service in Cambodia in February 2002 and in Mozambique in September 2002.[18]

[1] “Suomen ja turvallisuus- ja puolustuspolitiikka 2001, Valtioneuvoston selonteko eduskunnalle 13.6.2001” (Finland’s Foreign and Security Policy 2001, Government Report to Parliament 13.6.2001), section 1, part 2: Finland’s Security and Defense Policy, available at: www.puolustusministerio.fi. For details of the report, see Landmine Monitor Report 2002, pp. 650-651. For previous statements of this policy, see Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 812-815; and Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 872-873.
[2] Interview with Taina Susiluoto, Advisor, International Defense Policy Unit, Ministry of Defense, Helsinki, 28 April 2003. Susiluoto is a member of the technical group.
[3] Ibid.; interview with Pilvi-Sisko Vierros Villeneuve, Head of Arms Control Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Helsinki, 25 April 2003. Villeneuve is a member of the working group.
[4] Interview with Pilvi-Sisko Vierros Villeneuve, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 April 2003; interview with Olli Sotamaa, Counselor, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Helsinki, 25 April 2003.
[5] Statement by Ambassador Markku Reimaa, Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 16-20 September 2002.
[6] “Vanhanen would keep anti-personnel mines,” Helsingin Sanomat (daily newspaper), 4 June 2003. Translation by Canadian Embassy in Helsinki.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Email to Sylvie Brigot, ICBL Government Liaison Officer, from Taina Susiluoto, Defense Policy Adviser, International Defense Policy Unit, Ministry of Defense, Helsinki, 9 June 2003.
[9] Letter to Ms. Dupuy-Philon and Mr. Chabasse, Handicap International, from Hon. Tarja Halonen, President of the Republic of Finland, 7 July 2003.
[10] Interview with Pilvi-Sisko Vierros Villeneuve, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 April 2003.
[11] World Standing Amputee Ice Hockey Championship 2003 Program, Helsinki, 27-30 April 2003.
[12] Statement by Ambassador Markku Reimaa, Fourth Meeting of States Parties, 18 September 2002.
[13] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 785-790, and Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 816-818, for information on production, transfer and stockpiling.
[14] Interview with Riita Korpivaara, Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Harri Maki-Reinikka, Minister Counselor, Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, Geneva, 17 September 2002; interview with Pilvi-Sisko Vierros Villeneuve, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 April 2003; interview with Taina Susiluoto, Ministry of Defense, 28 April 2003.
[15] Unless otherwise indicated, the funding information in this section came from: emails from Olli Sotamaa, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, Development Cooperation Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 21 January, 28 February, 19 March 2003; letter from Olli Sotmaa, 18 December 2002.
[16] Exchange rate US$0.95=€1, used throughout this report. Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 6 January 2003.
[17] Interview with Olli Sotamaa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 April 2003.
[18] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form E, 11 October 2002; statement by Ambassador Markku Reimaa, Fourth Meeting of States Parties, 18 September 2002.