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Country Reports
Tajikistan, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: Tajikistan began participating in Mine Ban Treaty-related meetings in September 2002. It submitted an initial transparency measures report on 3 February 2003, which declared a stockpile of 3,339 antipersonnel mines under the control of its forces and 18,200 mines under the control of Russian forces. Tajikistan began destroying its stockpiled mines in August 2002. Russian and Uzbek forces laid mines inside Tajikistan as late as 2001. Tajikistan has provided detailed information on areas that contain mines and areas suspected of containing mines. In May 2003, the first internationally-funded mine action program began. As of June 2003, an Executive Mine Action Cell was being formed.

Mine Ban Policy

Tajikistan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 12 October 1999 and the treaty entered into force for the country on 1 April 2000. Officials characterized earlier confusion about whether Tajikistan had suspended its participation in the treaty as a “procedural misunderstanding” and stressed that Tajikistan is now taking all necessary steps to comply with the Mine Ban Treaty.[1]

For national implementation measures, Tajikistan cited Articles 195, 196, 198, and 199 of its 1998 Criminal Code that impose penalties for activities related to trafficking in weapons and explosive material, including illegal acquisition, manufacture, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of explosive materials or devices. Penalties for violations range from three to twenty years of imprisonment.[2] Tajikistan’s Commission on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law established a Working Group on 18 April 2002 to collect information on the country’s landmine problem, educate the public and cooperate with executive bodies on mine awareness.[3]

For the first time, Tajikistan participated in Mine Ban Treaty-related meetings. Tajikistan attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002 and actively participated in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. At the Fourth Meeting of States Parties, the Tajik delegation stated, “Our government is aware of the seriousness of prohibiting the use of antipersonnel mines, and attaches great importance to this problem.”[4]

Tajikistan submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report on 3 February 2003. It had been due on 28 September 2000. The 42-page report covers calendar year 2002 and includes voluntary form J discussing treatment and rehabilitation of mine victims.

On 22 November 2002, Tajikistan was the only State Party to abstain from voting on UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, promoting universalization and effective implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. Landmine Monitor was told that the vote had been an error.[5]

Tajikistan is member of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines, but it did not participate in the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II.

Production, Transfer, Use

Tajikistan reports that it has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines.[6] The country’s 1996 Law on Armaments expressly regulates all issues related to the registration, shipment, transport, acquisition, transfer, and storage of armaments and munitions on the territory of the Tajikistan.[7] However, the civil war brought an influx of armaments and munitions, which were dispersed among and used by the general population. Periodic media reports detail the seizure or discovery of hidden depots of firearms, explosives, and munitions by Tajik forces. In December 2002, Russian border guards in Tajikistan on the Afghan border found and destroyed seven hidden weapons dumps with more than 420 various types of mines.[8]

Mine use in Tajikistan occurred as recently as the year 2001, when Russian and Uzbek forces placed mines at various locations inside Tajikistan at border locations. The last time Tajik authorities were formally informed by Russian authorities of mine use by Russian forces in Tajikistan was in late 2001.[9] Officials of Tajikistan state that their Armed Forces would refuse orders by Russia to lay mines and said that Tajik forces are under separate command and control structures [10]

Stockpiles and Foreign Stockpiles

Tajikistan inherited its stockpile of antipersonnel mines from the Soviet Union. It has reported a stockpile of 3,339 antipersonnel mines of the following types: POMZ-2M (1,691), PMN (683), OZM-72 (486), MON-100 (474), and MON-200 (five). Tajikistan also provided details on the lot numbers, production locations, and manufacturing dates of the mines.[11]

On 4 August 2002, Tajikistan’s Engineering Corps destroyed 55 stockpiled antipersonnel mines (ten PMN, forty POMZ-2, five OZM-72) and 688 “other explosive devices” by open detonation at an area five kilometers west of Lyaur in the Leninsky region.[12] More mines were slated for transfer and demolition, but progress was halted for lack of sufficient financial and material resources. Destruction of the remaining stockpile of 3,029 antipersonnel mines was scheduled to resume in March 2003 depending on funding.[13] In June 2003, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) reported that it intends to provide advice and assistance with stockpile destruction in Tajikistan.[14] The treaty-mandated deadline for completion of stockpile destruction is 1 April 2004.

Tajikistan intends to retain 255 antipersonnel mines for training purposes, in the absence of inert drill mines, through 2010, when the shelf-life of the mines expires.[15]

Tajikistan is the first State Party to report details on antipersonnel mines stockpiled by a non-State Party on its territory. It reported that approximately 18,200 antipersonnel mines of various types are held by Russian Ministry of Defense units deployed in Tajikistan.[16] These stockpiles are not under the jurisdiction or control of Tajikistan.[17] Intergovernmental talks were underway to clarify and complete data collection regarding these Russian mines.[18]

It is likely possible that other stocks of mines remain outside government control; since 1996 over 20 weapons caches have been discovered, hidden by the warring factions during the civil wars of the 1990s.[19]

Landmine Problem

An estimated 16,000 mines, demolition charges, and explosive devices remain deployed in Tajikistan, requiring demining of nearly 2,500 square kilometers of agricultural land and some 700 kilometers of roads and paths.[20] These minefields are scattered throughout Tajikistan and were mainly emplaced during the 1993-1997 civil war, but some minefields were emplaced by neighboring countries in 1999-2001 on Tajik territory near the borders with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan to prevent incursions and smuggling.

Tajikistan is currently engaged in talks with Russia to obtain the technical records and logs for the minefields emplaced by Russian Forces.[21] In a statement read at a 3 April 2003 meeting in Dushanbe, Russian Foreign Ministry officials promised to cooperate and assist with the clearance of mines in areas of Tajikistan under their control.[22]

While Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have settled almost 86 percent of their 1,283 kilometer border, Uzbekistan continues to rely on mines to prevent drug trafficking and cross-border agitation by the extremist Islamic Revival of Uzbekistan.[23]

The details provided by Tajikistan on known mined areas include map references, geographic coordinates, and explanatory notes. Declared mined areas include:[24]

  • Three sectors in the Tavildara region containing 18 minefields laid by Tajik forces between 1993-1997. These minefields contain 389 antipersonnel mines mostly of the PMN and POMZ-2 types. The records of these minefields are maintained by the Engineering Forces of the Ministry of Defense of Tajikistan.
  • Six minefields in the Rushan region of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast emplaced by Russian forces in 1995. The number of mines used is not known, but includes the following types: PMN-2, PFM-1, OZM-72, MON-50, MON-100, and ML-7 (a booby-trap mine).
  • Seven minefields in the Vanch region and eight minefields in the Darvoz region emplaced by Russian forces in 1995. The number of mines used is not known, but includes the following types: PMN-2, PFM-1, OZM-72, and MON-200.
  • In the Sugd Oblast, eleven minefields in the Asht region, ten minefields in the Kanibadam and Isfara regions, and five minefields in the Shakhristan region emplaced by Uzbek forces in 1999-2000. The number of mines used is not known, but includes the following types: PMN, OZM-72, and POMZ-2. According to the Tajik side, these minefields are neither marked nor protected.

Areas suspected of containing mines in Tajikistan were reported to include seven minefields in nine areas in the Tavildara region emplaced between 1994 and 1996, containing PMN and POMZ-2 antipersonnel mines. Additionally, there are nine suspected minefields in “regions subordined (sic) to the central government” that were emplaced in 2000 by Russian forces using PMN, PMN-2, POMZ-2, and OZM-72 antipersonnel mines.[25]

Before 1997, the only marked and fenced minefields were those in the areas bordering the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. These minefields were perimeter-marked with warning signs. Minefields located near populated areas (particularly in the Rushan and the Vanch regions) were surrounded with barbed wire and monitored. However, the minefields in the Tavildara region were neither fenced off nor monitored, resulting in frequent human and animal casualties. Tajikistan states that this problem stemmed largely from a lack of financial and material resources necessary to produce large quantities of signs and perimeter markers, and to monitor the minefields.[26]

Mine Action

Tajikistan’s February 2003 Article 7 report indicates that the State Mine Clearance Program (SMCP) “has been drafted and submitted for consideration to the Government.”[27]

At the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002, Tajikistan explained that the SMCP was created to establish a comprehensive and coordinated plan for demining, with three stages of implementation. Step one, to be implemented by May 2003, called for the establishment of demining units from the existing Tajik forces, who would be provided with equipment and training. Step two, to be implemented by 2004, calls for continued demining operations and increasing the number of demining units to five. Step three sets 2010 as the target date for the completion of demining in Tajikistan.[28]

Implementation of the SMCP was estimated to cost $12.7 million and efforts were being made to attract foreign donors. This cost estimate did not include destruction of stockpiled antipersonnel mines or social reintegration of mine victims. Provisions for such were to be identified and included in a revised draft SMCP.[29]

A Tajik official told Landmine Monitor in May 2003 that the UNDP is providing seed money in 2003 for the establishment of a mine action center-like structure in Tajikistan.[30] UNDP reported in June 2003 that the Commission on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law was in the process of forming an Executive Mine Action Cell that will be responsible for: developing mine action policies, identifying priorities, managing data collection, mapping, recording, clearance, mine risk education, victim data collection, and mobilizing resources. UNDP “intends to provide advice and assistance regarding implementation of the Government’s obligations” under the Mine Ban Treaty.[31]

Between 1997 and 2002, Tajik military engineers cleared 1.1 square kilometers of land and 56 kilometers of roads. Three engineers were injured in mine accidents during these operations. The Tajik Defense Ministry estimates that 10,000 mines were destroyed between 1994 and January 2003.[32] Tajik forces destroyed 179 mines from 15 May 2001 to 26 June 2001 on roads in Pshikharv, another 165 mines in the Vanch region, and another 144 mines on the road to Shpad.[33] Russian military engineers stationed in Tajikistan from the 201st Motor Rifle Division assisted Tajik forces in the clearance of some roads.[34] Between 28 May 1998 and 19 June 1998, Tajik and Russian forces destroyed 2,088 mines of various types on the Kulyab-Kalaykhumb road.

On 30 May 2003, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) announced the commencement of the first internationally funded mine action project in Tajikistan. The project will equip, train, and sustain two twelve-person survey teams to locate and mark minefields. The project will also provide insurance costs for the local personnel and fund one international technical advisor. Funding for this project totals €500,000 and was provided by the OSCE, Canada (€100,000), the Canton of Geneva (€180,000), the Karl Popper Foundation and private Swiss donors.[35]

In 2003, Canada donated 25 Minelab detectors and sets of personal protective equipment for deminers, and the United Kingdom provided US$250,000 for mine action capacity building and field operations. In April 2003, the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) did an assessment mission to evaluate the need for an Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA).[36]

Mine Risk Education

The Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan, with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), continued its mine risk education (MRE) work with the affected communities, in coordination with the Ministry of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense. These activities include MRE training of community volunteers and teachers, as well as involving children through the art competitions and theater. MRE posters and pamphlets have been produced in Russian, Tajik and Uzbek languages.[37] In June 2003, the ICRC reported that 10,000 people had received MRE presentations, of which 60 percent were children.[38]

Landmine Casualties

Uzbek-laid antipersonnel mines continued to kill and injure civilians and livestock in Tajikistan in 2002. Tajik authorities reported that between 2000 and 2002, about 52 people and many animals had fallen victim to landmines.[39] In 2002, at least six people were killed and three injured in reported landmine incidents.[40] The majority of landmine casualties are believed to be civilians who were killed or injured while tending livestock, farming, hunting, collecting firewood, or trying to cross the border to trade.[41] In 2001, at least fifteen people were killed and another fourteen injured in reported landmine incidents.[42]

Survivor Assistance and Disability Policy and Practice

Tajikistan has historically been one of the poorest republics in Central Asia. The health care system has few resources, with run-down facilities, equipment in poor condition, and medicine and materials in short supply. Health care is free-of-charge, but patients are sometimes asked to pay for drugs and medicine, as there is a chronic shortage of such products.[43] There are no dedicated programs, or capacity, to assist mine survivors in Tajikistan.[44]

The Teaching Hospital of the Research Institute for Disability Assessment and Rehabilitation provides physical rehabilitation and medical care. In 2002, the budget for these activities was 42,000 Somoni (approximately $14,000).[45] The ICRC discontinued supplying materials for surgical facilities in early 2002, due to a reduction in demand.[46]

The Dushanbe Orthopedic Center, run jointly by the ICRC and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (MLSP), under the management of the Canadian Red Cross, is the only center producing prostheses in Tajikistan. In 2002, the center provided physical rehabilitation services, produced 307 prostheses (29 were for mine survivors), repaired 46 prostheses, and distributed 395 crutches and 28 wheelchairs. On-the-job training was provided to prosthetic/orthotic technicians and physiotherapists. There are also orthopedic satellite centers in Khojent (in the north), Kuliab (in the center), and Khorog (in the south) run by the MLSP.[47] In 2002, Tajikistan’s budget allocated 176,600 Somoni (approximately $54,000) for the physical rehabilitation of mine survivors and other persons with disabilities.[48]

In November 2002, a Tripartite Cooperation Agreement was signed between the MLSP, the Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan, and the ICRC. The Agreement is intended to raise awareness of the Orthopedic Center’s activities and to foster greater financial independence.[49]

Occupational rehabilitation of persons with disabilities is carried out in a special residential school in Dushanbe. In addition, the Center for Training and Reintegration of Former Military Personnel was established in 2002 to promote economic reintegration.[50]

Tajikistan enacted the Law of Social Protection Reform in 1998, entitling mine survivors and other persons with disabilities to medical care and physical rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration. The 1993 Law on Pension Support governs the provision of pensions for persons with disabilities. The 1991 Law on Social Protection of Disabled Persons also protects the rights of persons with disabilities. The 1994 Law on Military Pensions protects the rights of former military personnel who are mine survivors.[51]

[1] Statement by Colonel Abdukahor Sattorov, Head of Engineering Troops Directorate, Ministry of Defense, made at a regional conference on Landmines and the Explosive Remnants of War hosted by the ICRC, Moscow, 4 November 2002 (notes by Landmine Monitor/HRW).
[2] Article 7 Report, Form A, 3 February 2003.
[3] Ibid. It is referred to as the Working Group on Collecting Mine Hazard Information.
[4] Statement by Tajikistan, Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 16-20 September 2002.
[5] Meeting with Tajik delegation to the intersessional Standing Committee meetings, Geneva, 5 February 2003.
[6] Article 7 Report, Forms E and H, 3 February 2003.
[7] Article 7 Report, Form A, 3 February 2003.
[8] “RIA Novosti” Information Agency, 28 December 2002.
[9] Interview with Johnmahmad Rajabov, Deputy Head of the Board of the Constitutional Guarantees of Citizens Rights, Executive Board of the President, Geneva, 5 February 2003.
[10] Interview with Johnmahmad Rajabov, Executive Board of the President, Geneva, 13 May 2003.
[11] MON-100 produced in 1969 at USSR Factory 2516; POMZ-2M produced in 1971 at USSR Factory M; PMN were produced in 1976 at USSR Factory 15; OZM-72 produced in 1985 at USSR Factory 912. Article 7 Report, Form B, 3 February 2003.
[12] Article 7 Report, Form G, 3 February 2003.
[13] Article 7 Report, Form D, 3 February 2003.
[14] Mine Action Support Group, “UNDP Mine Action Update: Tajikistan” in “Newsletter, June 2003.”
[15] The number and types of mines retained are POMZ-2M (100), PMN (50), OZM-72 (50), MON-100 (50), MON-200 (5). Article 7 Report, Form C, 3 February 2003.
[16] Article 7 Report, Form B, 3 February 2003.
[17] Interview with Johnmahmad Rajabov, Executive Board of the President, 5 February 2003.
[18] Article 7 Report, Form B, 3 February 2003.
[19] “Arms Cache Found on Tajik-Uzbek Border,” Itar-Tass (Dushanbe), 4 May 2003.
[20] Article 7 Report, “General Situation,” 3 February 2003.
[21] Article 7 Report, Form C, 3 February 2003.
[22] Interview with Johnmahmad Rajabov, Executive Board of the President, 13 May 2003.
[23] “Tajikistan, Uzbekistan Agree to Define Borders,” Agence France Presse (Dushanbe), 6 October 2002; “Fifty People Killed by Landmines in Tajikistan in Past Three Years,” Interfax (Dushanbe), 18 May 2003.
[24] Article 7 Report, Form C, 3 February 2003.
[25] Ibid.
[26] Article 7 Report, Form I, 3 February 2003.
[27] Article 7 Report, Form A, 3 February 2003.
[28] In 2002, Tajikistan was unable to allocate from the state budget the $2.5-3 million required in start-up costs. Statement of the Tajik Delegation at the Fourth Meeting of States Parties, 16-20 September 2002.
[29] Article 7 Report, “General Situation” and Form A, 3 February 2003. It has been reported that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has offered to make €200,000 available to Tajikistan for mine removal, and that Japan, Norway and the United States are prepared to assist. “Fifty People Killed by Landmines in Tajikistan in Past Three Years,” Interfax (Dushanbe), 18 May 2003.
[30] Interview with Johnmahmad Rajabov, Executive Board of the President, 13 May 2003.
[31] MASG, “UNDP Update” in “Newsletter, June 2003.”
[32] “Fifty People Killed by Landmines in Tajikistan in Past Three Years,” Interfax (Dushanbe), 18 May 2003.
[33] Article 7 Report, 3 Form G, February 2003.
[34] Statement by Colonel Abdukahor Sattorov, Ministry of Defense, 4 November 2002.
[35] “Mine Clearance Under Way,” IRIN (Islamabad), 30 May 2003; “OSCE Supports First International Mine Clearance Project in Tajikistan,” Asia Plus (Dushanbe), 30 May 2003.
[36] Mine Action Support Group, “UNDP Mine Action Update: Tajikistan” in “Newsletter, June 2003.”
[37] Article 7 Report, Form I, 3 February 2003.
[38] ICRC, “Annual Report 2002,” Geneva, June 2003, p. 195.
[39] Article 7 Report, “General Situation,” 3 February 2003.
[40] Landmine Monitor analysis of six media reports between January and December 2002.
[41] “Tajikistan: Mine awareness still needed,” IRIN, 15 July 2002.
[42] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 478.
[43] Ibid, pp. 478-479.
[44] Interview with Johnmahmad Rajabov, Executive Board of the President, 5 February 2003.
[45] Article 7 Report, Form J, 3 February 2003. The Somoni replaced the Tajikistan ruble on 1 January 2001, but is not a traded currency and is not listed with most major currency exchange bureaus. It was listed at 3.081 to the US dollar as of 29 May 2003.
[46] ICRC, “Annual Report 2002,” p. 196.
[47] ICRC Mission, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, “Orthopaedic Project, Annual Report 2002" Submitted by Markus Saufferer, Canadian Red Cross Orthopaedic Project Mamager, February 2003. The copy was provided to Landmine Monitor (MAC) by Leah Feuer, Project Officer, Europe and Central Asia, Canadian Red Cross, 24 March 2003.
[48] Article 7 Report, Form J, 3 February 2003.
[49] ICRC Tajikistan, “Orthopaedic Project, Annual Report 2002;” Article 7 Report, Form J, 3 February 2003.
[50] Article 7 Report, Form J, 3 February 2003.
[51] Details on legislation protecting the rights of the disabled including mine survivors provided in Tajikistan’s Article 7 Report, Form J, 3 February 2003.