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Country Reports
Liberia, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: Liberia has not submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report, which was due on 28 November 2000. Liberia is one of the very few States Parties that have not yet officially confirmed or denied the existence of a stockpile of antipersonnel mines.

Mine Ban Policy

Liberia acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 23 December 1999 and it entered into force on 1 June 2000. Liberia is not known to have undertaken any national implementation measures as required by Article 9, nor has it submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report, which was due on 28 November 2000. Liberia did not attend the Fourth Meetings of States Parties in September 2002, nor did it attend the Mine Ban Treaty intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February or May 2003. Liberia cosponsored but was absent for the vote of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 on 22 November 2002, calling for the universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, and Use

Liberia is not known to have produced landmines. There have been past allegations of transfer of mines to the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone.[1]

While Landmine Monitor has reported that Liberia is likely to still have a stockpile of antipersonnel mines, the government of Liberia is one of the very few States Parties that have not yet officially confirmed or denied the existence of a stockpile. If Liberia does have a stockpile of antipersonnel mines, it is bound by the Mine Ban Treaty to destroy it by 1 June 2004.

Antipersonnel landmines were used by all factions during the 1989-1997 civil war. Although on-site research has not been possible, Landmine Monitor has received no allegations of the use of landmines in the renewed conflict in the country.

Mine Problem

Liberia remains a mine-affected country. The extent to which it has been affected and the severity of the human and material damage caused by landmines is difficult to ascertain because of the ongoing turbulence in the country. Areas that could be mine-affected as a result of the 1989-1997 civil war are inaccessible, especially counties and areas like Lofa, Grand Capemount, Bong Mines, and Kakata, which have all also been affected by the new civil war.

The Buchanan-based local research group that contributes to Landmine Monitor reports that there are still landmines in the greater Buchanan area, and that inhabitants in some areas are afraid to farm because of the suspicion of landmines.[2] Liberia’s rural economy is completely dominated by subsistence agriculture and so the loss of land due to fear of landmines is particularly damaging.

Mine Action, Landmine Casualties, and Survivor Assistance

There is no mine clearance carried out in Liberia. In view of the ongoing war, this has not been a priority. There is no known marking or fencing of mined or suspected mined areas. No mine risk education programs are in place.

No information is available on landmine casualties in Liberia in 2002. The last report of casualties was in 2000, when a Liberian newspaper reported that thirteen people had been killed and six injured in landmine incidents.[3] In September 2002, the BBC reported that an explosion in the capital, Monrovia, may have been caused by a landmine. However, witnesses claim that it could have been a hand grenade or a gas cylinder. The blast killed four people and injured two others.[4]

Years of conflict have damaged the health infrastructure in Liberia. In 2002, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided a twelve-member surgery and hospital team for the JFK Hospital in Monrovia, as well as medical and surgical supplies. Seminars and on-the-job training in war surgery were also provided.[5]

There are no specific landmine survivor assistance programs, although limited assistance is available through programs for all persons with disabilities. Transport remains a major constraint, and rehabilitation and reintegration services are extremely limited. There is one prosthetic workshop in the country, in Monrovia, run by Handicap International Belgium (HIB). A second, in Ganta, has apparently been destroyed in the fighting. In 2002, HIB provided new equipment for the Monrovia Rehabilitation Center and training for orthopedic technicians and physiotherapists.[6] There is very little psychological support or vocational training available in Liberia, though there are a few services for those able to pay for it.[7]

No disability laws exist in Liberia.

[1] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 325; See among others, “Report of the panel of experts, appointed pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1306 (2000), paragraph 19 in relation to Sierra Leone,” December 2000, paragraph 183; Global Witness, “Taylor Made, the Pivotal Role of Liberia’s Forests and Flag of Convenience in Regional Conflict,” September 2001.
[2] Submission of the Buchanan research group to Landmine Monitor, 28 August 2001. For an inventory of the locations of mines, see Landmine Monitor 2001, p. 88.
[3] For more details see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 89.
[4] “Blast Rocks Liberia’s Capital,” BBC News, 4 September 2002.
[5] ICRC, “Annual Report 2002,” Geneva, June 2003, pp. 88-89.
[6] Handicap International Belgium, “Activity Report 2002,” p. 23.
[7] For more details see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 89-90, and Landmine Monitor Report 2002, pp. 326-327.