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Country Reports
Libya, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Mine Ban Policy

Libya Arab Jamahiriya (Libya) has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. In February 2003, a Foreign Ministry official said Libya could not join because the treaty “does not take into consideration the security situation of the countries that have great areas of land which are unable to protect themselves by other security means.” According to the official, the treaty does not deal with the issue of old mines and does not oblige countries that planted mines in other countries to remove the mines and pay compensation for the damages that result from them.[1] Libya was among 23 countries that abstained from voting on UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, as it has done for similar pro-landmine ban resolutions every year since 1998.

Libya attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002 as an observer, and participated in intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. In January 2002, Libya attended a regional seminar on the Mine Ban Treaty held in Tunisia.

Libya is not a member of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) or its Amended Protocol II (Landmines), but it views this agreement as more appropriate than the Mine Ban Treaty.[2] Libya attended the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in December 2002.

Libya is not known to have produced or exported antipersonnel mines, but it has imported and used them in the past. According to a Foreign Ministry official, Libya did not use or transfer antipersonnel mines in 2002.[3] The possession of arms and munitions by unauthorized parties, including antipersonnel mines, is forbidden and punishable by the Libyan penal code.

Landmine Problem, Mine Action, and Survivor Assistance

Libya’s landmine problem is the result of World War II, the 1977 Libya-Egypt conflict, and the 1977-1987 Libya-Chad conflict. Libya claims that minefields planted by its Army are marked and fenced, but the locations of mines left over from World War II are not known and represent the main problem. Mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) have negatively affected development projects in Tobruk and elsewhere, raised the costs of petroleum discovery and production expenses because of the clearance costs, and also affected the planning for infrastructure, grazing, and industrial projects.[4]

There is no national budget or coordination body for mine action in Libya. The Ministries of Defense and Justice, and the Libyan Jihad Center have responsibility for various aspects of the mine issue.[5]

Libya indicates that a joint mine action project scheduled in 2001 by Libya and Italy did not take place because the budget year had passed before any actions could be initiated. It is not known if the Italian parliament will re-authorize the funding.[6]

A Foreign Ministry official told Landmine Monitor that he was not aware of any mine or UXO incidents resulting in new casualties in Libya in 2002. He said there is no official or informal mechanism to provide mine risk education or collect data on mine casualties in Libya.[7] Libya offers medical care in public hospitals free of charge to all its citizens, including to mine and UXO casualties. All persons with disabilities, including mine and UXO survivors, receive medical care and rehabilitation in specialized hospitals.

[1] Statement by Mabrouk Mohamed Milad, Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the intersessional Standing Committee meetings, Geneva, 3-7 February 2003.
[2] Interview with Mabrouk Mohamed Milad, Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Geneva, 15 May 2003.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.