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Country Reports
Malawi, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: Malawi submitted its initial Article 7 report on 28 February 2003, acknowledging suspected mined areas along the border with Mozambique. Malawi is seeking funds for survey activities on the border. The military has not carried out any demining activities, but the government plans to provide funds for mine clearance in its budget year beginning July 2003. Implementation legislation is being prepared.

Mine Ban Policy

Malawi signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified on 13 August 1998. It entered into force on 1 March 1999. In February 2003, Malawi reported that it is “in the process of preparing the Land Mine Act as part of Domestic Laws,” and that the German government is providing advice and assistance with the legislation.[1] The delay in adopting any national implementation measures has been attributed to lack of human capacity in the Ministry of Justice.[2]

Malawi attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002. It also participated in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. Malawi voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 on 22 November 2002, calling for universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Malawi submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report on 28 February 2003; it had been due by 27 August 1999. It covers the period from September 2002 to February 2003.

The report states that “Malawi never possessed or used mines,” “Malawi does not stock land mines,” “Malawi does not produce mines,” and “Malawi does not have facilities for production of landmines.”[3] In 2001, Landmine Monitor reported that the Malawi Army has only inert dummy mines in stock, which are used for training purposes as allowed under Article 3 of the Treaty.[4] In its Article 7 report, Malawi lists 21 dummy mines that the Defense Force has retained for training, “at Combat Support Battalion, Mvera.”[5]

Landmine Problem and Mine Action

Malawi’s Article 7 report notes that there are areas suspected to contain mines along the 1,000-kilometer border with Mozambique. Types and quantities are listed as unknown; the mines were emplaced “probably during the civil war in Mozambique from 1975-1990.”[6]

In 1998, the Army conducted an initial survey of suspected mined areas along the border with Mozambique.[7] A technical (Level 1) survey planned by the Malawi Army has not been carried out due to a lack of funds. Malawi has requested support of donor countries for such a survey.[8]

There have been some reports of mines on the border with Zimbabwe. One article in November 2002 said that people in some areas along that border had reported landmine casualties and that their pleas to leaders to do something about the mines had been ignored.[9] The government’s Article 7 report does not list this border area as suspected to be mined.

In January 2003, the Malawi Army stated that while it has the capacity to clear mines, no mine clearance activities have taken place so far.[10] The government plans to provide a special fund for mine clearance efforts in its fiscal year beginning July 2003.[11]

The Malawi Army is also able to provide Military Engineers to assist other countries in demining programs. These engineers assisted Mozambique in demining the Nacala railway line, which was heavily mined during the civil war.[12]

Landmine Monitor Report 2002 noted that the Army has a mine risk education (MRE) program focusing on its own officers, but little or no MRE is available to communities living along the border areas.[13] The February 2003 Article 7 report states, “Malawi has put some posters to indicate danger areas where landmines have exploded before, especially along the Mozambique border. When a detailed survey has been done to confirm suspected mined areas, more civic education will be done.”[14]

The Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has been conducting MRE through its already existing outreach civic education program and will continue to do so in 2003.[15]

Landmine Casualties and Survivor Assistance

In 2002, there were no reports of people killed or injured by antipersonnel mines. The last reported incident was in 2000, when two people were killed and three others injured after a landmine exploded in the Muloza River.[16] In May 2003, two boys were injured after a landmine hidden in the roof of an unused kitchen exploded after the boys lit a fire to warm themselves. One child, age 7, had his left leg amputated and the other, age 12, suffered multiple injuries. Both were treated at the Mangochi District Hospital, 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Blantyre.[17]

There are no specific programs in Malawi for landmine survivors and hospitals have limited capacity to deal with casualties.[18] Malawi submitted the voluntary Form J attachment to its Article 7 report, which states, “Some care has been offered to victims in the form of provision of artificial legs, hospital medication and transport when they are required for medical review. There is, however, still more to be done in the identification and care of these victims.”[19]

The Malawi Council of the Handicapped (MACOHA) has no specific information on landmine survivors, nor does the Ministry of State Responsible for People with Disabilities.[20]

[1] Article 7 Report, Form A, 28 February 2003.
[2] Correspondence with Ernest Makawa, Treaties Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lilongwe, Malawi, 26 January 2003.
[3] Article 7 Report, Forms B, D, E, and H, 28 February 2003.
[4] Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 92.
[5] Article 7 Report, Form D, 28 February 2003.
[6] Article 7 Report, Form C, 28 February 2003.
[7] Colonel R.P Ngewnya, Malawi Armed Forces, “Malawi report on mobilizing resources to achieve the convention’s aims, survey for mine affected states parties,” Lilongwe, Malawi, January, 2003.
[8] Article 7 Report, Form C, 28 February 2003.
[9] Hobbs Gama, "Landmines Clearing Operation Face Serious Hitches," African Church Information Service/All Africa Global Media (via COMTEX), 25 November 2002.
[10] Colonel R.P Ngewnya, “Malawi report on mobilizing resources to achieve the convention’s aims, survey for mine affected states parties,” Lilongwe, Malawi, January, 2003.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Article 7 Report, Form I, 28 February 2003.
[15] Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Report, April 2002.
[16] Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 93; for earlier reported casualties see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 40-41.
[17] “Two boys injured in explosion of suspected landmine,” Associated Press, 2 May 2003.
[18] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 338.
[19] Article 7 Report, Form J, 28 February 2003.
[20] Correspondence from W.A. Kachingwe, Ministry of State Responsible for People with Disabilities, Blantyre, 28 January 2003.