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Country Reports
Kazakhstan, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Kazakhstan has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. In November 2002, a government representative stated that Kazakhstan cannot accede to the treaty because it considers the antipersonnel mine to be a “necessary and valuable tool,” it has no alternatives to the antipersonnel mine, and it does not have the financial resources to destroy its stockpiles.[1]

Kazakhstan attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002, marking the first time it has been to the annual meeting. It also participated in the May 2003 intersessional Standing Committee meetings, and the regional conference on “Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War,” hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, in Moscow in November 2002.

On 22 November 2002, Kazakhstan abstained from voting on UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. Kazakhstan is not a member of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Kazakhstan has stated that it does not produce antipersonnel mines and has had an export moratorium, including a prohibition on transit, in effect since 1994.[2] It was reported in the media that on 18 November 2002, Turkish customs officials detained a truck containing a large load of weapons, including antipersonnel mines, at the border with Georgia, allegedly coming from Kazakhstan.[3]

One newspaper report estimated Kazakhstan’s stockpile as totaling between 800,000 and one million antipersonnel mines.[4] A military official noted that Kazakhstan experiences some difficulties with providing security for its mine stockpiles, and claimed that the military is destroying mines whose shelf-life has expired.[5]

In November 2002, a military official declared, “There are no minefields in Kazakhstan.”[6] This seemingly contradicts a diplomat’s acknowledgment in the year 2000 that the borders are mined.[7]

According to the Kazakh Ministry of Emergency Situations, Disasters, and Catastrophes, on 7 January 2003, a Kazakh civilian was killed by what was reported to be a landmine near the former Chernik military testing site on the Uzbek side of the border. Local residents reportedly know the area to be contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance, but are drawn to the area to collect scrap metal.[8]

On 30 June 2003, Kazakhstan announced that it intends to send 25 military personnel including demining experts to Iraq in August 2003 for six months to clear mines and secure water supplies. This is the first known instance of international mine assistance action by Kazakhstan.[9]

[1] Statement by Colonel Rishat Supiev, Deputy Head of Main Department of Engineer Troops, Ministry of Defense, to the regional conference, “Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War,” hosted by the ICRC, Moscow, 4 November 2002. (Notes by Landmine Monitor/HRW).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Echo (Russian-language newspaper), 21 November 2002.
[4] Adil Urmanov, “Blind Weapon,” Delovaiya Nedeliya (Russian-language Kazakh newspaper), 12 June 1998, p. 8.
[5] Statement by Colonel Rishat Supiev, ICRC regional conference, 4 November 2002.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Letter from E. Kazykhanov, Embassy of Kazakhstan in Moscow, 19 April 2000.
[8] Chimkent (South Kazakhstan Information Portal), 13 January 2003.
[9] “Kazakh stabilisation force to head to Iraq in August,” Agence France Presse (Astana), 30 June 2003.