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Table of Contents
Country Reports
México, Landmine Monitor Report 2004

México

Key developments since May 2003: México has served as co-chair of the Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention since September 2003; it served as co-rapporteur the previous year. México has taken a strong position on the need to reach common understandings on matters of interpretation and implementation of Articles 1, 2, and 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty. México is leading an initiative to establish an international convention for the promotion and protection of the rights of the disabled.

Key developments since 1999: México became a State Party on 1 March 1999. México has played an important role in the development of the Mine Ban Treaty work program, and in promoting full and effective implementation of the treaty. México served as the first co-chair of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance from May 1999 to September 2000. It has served as co-rapporteur, then co-chair of the Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention since September 2002. It hosted, with Canada, the region’s first seminar on antipersonnel landmines in January 1999 in México City. México, along with Canada and the Pan American Health Organization, implemented the tripartite Victim Assistance in Central America program between 1999 and 2003.

Mine Ban Policy

México signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified on 9 June 1998, the seventeenth country to do so. The treaty entered into force on 1 March 1999. According to Article 133 of the National Constitution, most international agreements are self-executing for the country, so México does not have specific legislation to implement the Mine Ban Treaty domestically.[1]

México was one of the first nations to call for a total ban on antipersonnel landmines. It has been a diplomatic leader on the landmine issue, as one of the founding members of the Core Group of governments that led the Ottawa Process.[2] México has actively promoted universalization and full and effective implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty since it took effect. Together with Canada, it hosted the region’s first seminar on antipersonnel landmines in January 1999 in México City.[3] It has been activel on the issue regionally, attending a regional seminar on stockpile destruction held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in November 2000 and a regional mine action seminar in Lima, Perú in August 2003.

México has played a leading role in the Mine Ban Treaty work program. It has actively participated in every annual Meeting of States Parties and the intersessional meetings. It served as the first co-chair of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance, Socio-Economic Reintegration and Mine Awareness from May 1999 to September 2000. It served as co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention from September 2002 to September 2003, and has been co-chair of the committee since that time.

On 9 February 2004, México submitted its sixth Article 7 transparency report, including voluntary information on victim assistance under Form J, for the period 2003-2004.[4]

At the First Committee Debate of the United Nations General Assembly in October 2003, México stated, “The effective implementation of the Ottawa Convention continues to be a unique demonstration of how multilateralism can work successfully when the efforts of States Parties and civil society are united.”[5] México has voted in favor of every pro-ban UNGA resolution since 1996, including UNGA Resolution 58/53 of 8 December 2003.

During this Landmine Monitor reporting period, two major events held in México included mine ban policy in their final statements. The Third Summit of Heads of State from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the European Union met from 28-29 May 2004 and adopted the “Declaration of Guadalajara,” which recognizes the First Review Conference as an important marker for the evaluation of progress in implementation of the treaty and condemns the use and manufacture of antipersonnel mines by non-state actors.[6] From 27-28 October 2003, México hosted a Special Conference on Security on behalf of the Organization of American States, which adopted the “Declaration on Security in the Americas” reaffirming support for establishing an antipersonnel landmine-free zone in the Americas, and highlighting the importance of the Mine Ban Treaty and its universalization.[7]

ICBL Issues of Concern

México has actively engaged with strong, clear positions during the extensive discussions that States Parties have had on matters of interpretation and implementation related to Articles 1, 2, and 3, and the issues of joint military operations with non-States Parties, foreign stockpiling and transit of antipersonnel mines, antivehicle mines with sensitive fuzes or antihandling devices, and the permissible number of mines retained for training. As co-chair of the Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, it has worked to fulfill the mandate from the Fifth Meeting of States Parties to attempt to reach common understandings on these matters prior to the first Review Conference in November 2004. In September 2003, México expressed its agreement with the ICRC and the ICBL’s interpretations of Articles 1, 2, and 3 and said it was “fundamental,” according to Article 12, that States Parties reach a common agreement on these articles by the time of the First Review Conference.

México takes a strong position on interpretation of the treaty’s Article 1 prohibition on assistance with banned acts, associating itself with the views expressed by Brazil that Article 1 of the treaty clearly bans joint operations with non-States Parties that may involve the use of antipersonnel mines, and also bans the transit of antipersonnel mines across the territory of States Parties.[8]

On Article 2 (definitions), México confirms “its commitment made in Oslo, that an antivehicle mine with an anti-handling device that can be detonated by the presence, proximity or unintended or involuntary contact by a person, functions like an antipersonnel mine and as a consequence is prohibited under Article 2 of the Convention.”[9] In May 2003, México stated that antivehicle mines with sensitive fuzes or anti-handling devices are prohibited and if any mine detonates from the unintentional contact of a person, it is banned.[10]

México has stated that after four years of discussions, a common understanding on mines retained for training under Article 3 is needed and it supports the understanding agreed to in Oslo during the negotiations that the minimum number of mines absolutely necessary for training should be in “the hundreds or thousands, but not dozens of thousands.” It has urged States Parties to report on the purpose and intended use of mines retained under Article 3 of the treaty in their Article 7 transparency reports.[11]

México is a State Party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). It has not, however, ratified Amended Protocol II (Landmines) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Landmine Monitor in March 1999 that México did not expect to ratify as it believes the protocol is too limited in comparison to the Mine Ban Treaty.[12] México has participated as an observer in the annual conferences of States Parties to Amended Protocol II since 1999, including the Fifth Annual Conference of States Parties held in November 2003.

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, and Use

México has never produced, transferred, used or stockpiled antipersonnel mines, nor does it retain any mines for training purposes. México has stated that it is mine-free on numerous occasions, including in its Article 7 reports, and in a declaration made in February 1997.[13] In the past, there have been unsubstantiated allegations of mine use in Chiapas, but Landmine Monitor knows of no evidence of mine use by non-state actors, mine-related incidents or casualties.[14]

In September 2000, an indigenous child was killed and two of his companions seriously injured when an item of unexploded ordnance (UXO) they had found exploded in San Cristóbal de las Casas municipality, Chiapas.[15] The children were reported to have unknowingly entered into lands of the National Defense Secretariat at “Rancho Nuevo” in the 31st Military Zone Base near El Aguaje.

Mine Action

México, along with Canada and the Pan American Health Organization, implemented the tripartite Victim Assistance in Central America program between 1999 and 2003. In 2001, Mexican government agencies carried out a series of victim assistance workshops in the country and in Central America.[16] A final meeting on the program was held in Nicaragua from 3-7 March 2003, with participation by México’s Institute of Social Services, Health Secretariat, and Secretariat for Labor and Social Provision.[17]

During the February 2004 Standing Committee meetings, México stated that it was necessary to continue to provide the financial and technical resources to ensure the complete rehabilitation and reintegration of mine victims beyond 2009. According to México, all States Parties are able to contribute in some way to victim assistance; expectations had been raised with mine survivors and mine-affected communities, and States Parties had the obligation to meet those expectations.[18]

México is leading an initiative to establish an international convention for the promotion and protection of the rights of the disabled.


[1] Diario Oficial de la Federación, 21 August 1998, p. 2-9. See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 279.
[2] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 261.
[3] Ibid, p. 262, and Human Rights Watch, “The Mine Ban Treaty and the Americas,” Fact Sheet prepared for the Canada-México Regional Seminar for the Promotion of the 1997 Convention for the Total Ban on Antipersonnel Landmines,” México City, 11-12 January 1999.
[4] See Article 7 Reports submitted: 24 September 1999 (for the period 1998-1999), 7 February 2000 (for the period 1999-2000), 23 April 2001 (for the period 2000-2001), 8 April 2002 (for the period 2001-2002), and 17 March 2003 (for the period 2002-2003).
[5] Statement by Amb. Gustavo Albin, Head of the Delegation of México, First Committee Debate of the UN General Assembly 58th Session, 6 October 2003.
[6] “Declaración de Guadalajara,” Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of Latin America, Caribbean, and European Union countries, Guadalajara, México, 28-29 May 2004.
[7] Declaration of Security in the Americas, OAS Special Conference on Security, México City, 27-28 October 2003.
[8] Intervention by México, Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 7 February 2003. (Landmine Monitor/HRW notes).
[9] Intervention by México on Article 2, Fifth Meeting of States Parties, Bangkok, 17 September 2003.
[10] Intervention by México, Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 16 May 2003. (Landmine Monitor/HRW notes).
[11] Intervention by México on Article 3, Fifth Meeting of States Parties, 17 September 2003.
[12] Telephone interview with Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, México City, México, 23 March 1999.
[13] Declaración de Principios del Gobierno de México sobre la Producción, Exportación, y Uso de Minas Terrestres Antipersonales. Misión Permanente de México ante la OEA, CP02954.S, 7 February 1997.
[14] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 263-264.
[15] Leonel Durante, “Niños heridos de gravedad por explosión de artefacto,” La República en Chiapas, 19 September 2000; Rafael Victorio, “Lesionados 3 Niños al Estallarles una Granada en San Cristóbal de las Casas,” Excélsior, 19 September 2000; José Francisco Carrasco, “Fallece niño lastimado por explosivo; se niegan padres a recibir indemnización,” La República en Chiapas, 20 September 2000.
[16] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 348.
[17] Article 7 Report, Form J, 9 February 2004.
[18] Intervention by México, Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, 10 February 2004.