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Table of Contents
Country Reports
The Netherlands , Landmine Monitor Report 2004

The Netherlands

Key developments since May 2003: In 2003, the Netherlands provided mine action funding of $12.1 million to 13 countries and five organizations, a significant decrease from 2002. In 2003–2004, all mine action funding was transferred to the Stability Fund. In September 2003, the Netherlands became co-chair of the Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention. In 2004, it circulated Non-Papers on interpretation and implementation of Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty in an effort to reach conclusions on those matters prior to the First Review Conference. Ambassador Chris Sanders of the Netherlands coordinated work in the CCW that resulted in agreement in November 2003 on a new protocol on explosive remnants of war.

Key developments since 1999: The Netherlands became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 October 1999. As of April 2004, amendments to national legislation to implement the Mine Ban Treaty still were not finalized. Destruction of the stockpile of nearly 265,000 antipersonnel mines, which started in 1996, was completed by the end of 2002, well in advance of the treaty deadline. The Netherlands has played a leadership role in promoting universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. It served as co-rapporteur then co-chair of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance from May 1999 to September 2001, as chair of the Mine Action Support Group in 2000-2001, and as co-rapporteur then co-chair of the Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention from September 2002 to December 2004. Ambassador Sanders of the Netherlands coordinated work in the CCW that resulted in agreement in November 2003 on a new protocol on explosive remnants of war. Since 1999, the Netherlands has contributed mine action funding totaling about $65 million, including about $5.8 million in funding for mine victim assistance.

Mine Ban Policy

The Kingdom of the Netherlands signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 12 April 1999, becoming a State Party on 1 October 1999. The Netherlands was an early supporter of a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines and one of the core group of countries leading the Ottawa Process. In December 1996, the government banned possession and use of antipersonnel mines, with broad parliamentary approval, following a Ministry of Defense reassessment.[1] Ratification was delayed due to lengthy parliamentary procedures, including those involving the Dutch Antilles.

There have been delays in adoption of national measures to implement the Mine Ban Treaty. The initial decision to implement the treaty on the basis of a proposed bill on arms control treaties was changed in 2000, in favor of amendments to existing legislation such as the Import and Export Act, the Military Penal Code and the Arms Control Act. In April 2004, the Netherlands reported that the amendments still remained to be finalized.[2]

The Netherlands has played a leadership role in promoting universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. It has actively participated in all annual meetings of States Parties since 1999, as well as all intersessional Standing Committee meetings. It served as co-rapporteur then co-chair of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Awareness and Mine Action Technologies from May 1999 to September 2001. The Netherlands became co-chair of the Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention in September 2003, having served co-rapporteur the previous year. The Netherlands chaired the Mine Action Support Group in 2000-2001, which brings together major donor countries in order to coordinate mine action funding. The Netherlands has supported the Landmine Monitor initiative of the ICBL, and co-hosted a global researchers’ meeting in May 2000.

The Netherlands has been particularly active in the Mine Ban Treaty’s Universalization, Article 7 and Resource Mobilization Contact Groups. During 2003, Dutch universalization efforts included bilateral contacts to promote the adherence of Indonesia and Uzbekistan. A planned workshop in Lebanon was canceled. In February 2004, the Netherlands co-funded a regional workshop in Romania on implementation of the treaty, and in June 2004, it co-funded a regional universalization seminar in Lithuania.[3] In previous years, the Netherlands also promoted the treaty with other countries, some of which have since become States Parties, including Eritrea, Guyana, Suriname, and Turkey. In December 2003, the Netherlands voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 58/53, which calls for universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. The Netherlands has voted for similar General Assembly resolutions since 1996.

The Netherlands declared that, during its presidency of the European Union (EU) in the second half of 2004, it would “be working actively to make the Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty a success. Within the framework of the EU we regularly stress the importance of adequate participation.... Additionally, the Netherlands will, under the coordination of the Universalization Contact Group, continue to actively promote the accession of as many countries as possible, including the three mentioned EU member states [Finland, Latvia, and Poland].”[4]

The Netherlands submitted its annual Article 7 transparency report on 29 April 2004. This includes the Voluntary Form J, which gives details of Dutch funding of mine action in 2003. Four previous Article 7 reports have been submitted.[5]

At the Standing Committee meetings in February 2004, the Netherlands, as co-chair, conducted discussions on interpretation and implementation of Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty with a view to reaching common understandings on these matters before the Review Conference in November 2004. Following consultations, a Non-Paper with suggested language was presented at the Standing Committee meetings in June 2004, further discussed and transmitted to the President-Designate of the Review Conference.[7]

Joint Military Operations and “Assist”

The Dutch Non-Papers addressed the prohibition on “assistance” in Article 1, citing prohibited activities during joint military operations with non-States Parties. In March 2004, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the government’s understanding, presented at the Standing Committee meetings in May 2001, that the treaty prohibits involvement in any activities related to antipersonnel mines during joint military operations with non-signatory countries. The Netherlands has encouraged States Parties in previous intersessional meetings to reach a common understanding on this issue.[8]

Antivehicle Mines with Sensitive Fuzes and Antihandling Devices

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in March 2004 that the government’s position remains unchanged since January 2000 on mines with sensitive fuzes or antihandling devices: if these may be activated by the unintentional act of a person they are to be considered as antipersonnel mines and are banned by the treaty. The Ministry added that the Netherlands remains a strong advocate for more stringent regulation of antivehicle mines.[9]

During 2003, a study of the feasibility of adapting the DM31 antivehicle mine was halted for financial reasons.[10] Concerns have been raised that the DM-31 may explode when a standard metal detector is swept over it. The study was being carried out to determine if it is possible to ensure that, “that the sensors of this type of AVM...will not explode when detected with regular devices. DM31 mines will not be used unless adapted.”[11] The Netherlands possessed a stock of 80,000 DM31 mines in December 2000. In 2002, it was reported that 10,000 of this stockpile had been destroyed as “surplus.”[12]

CCW

The Netherlands is a State Party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II, and attended the Fifth Annual Conference of State Parties to the Protocol in November 2003. The Netherlands submitted its annual report under Article 13 of Amended Protocol II on 1 October 2003. It has attended annual conferences in previous years, and submitted annual reports in previous years.

In the CCW, the Netherlands has taken the lead on the issue of explosive remnants of war. In 2001, its delegation played a key role in preparations on this issue for the CCW Second Review Conference. The Netherlands proposed setting up a Group of Governmental Experts on explosive remnants of war, and then Dutch Ambassador Chris Sanders served as coordinator of the Group. He successfully guided the process to an agreement on a new Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War in November 2003.[13]

Production and Transfer

Following World War II, the Netherlands developed an arms industry that included production of antipersonnel mines. One of several producers was Eurometaal, which was part government-owned. Three types of antipersonnel mine were produced. Mines were also imported from other countries, including the US, Germany, and Austria.[14] Landmine Monitor is not aware of any significant export of antipersonnel mines by the Netherlands in the past.

Production of antipersonnel mines ceased more than 20 years ago.[15] A partial export moratorium dating from 1993 became a complete ban on transfer with entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty in October 1999.

In April 2004, the Dutch banking group ING was accused by the Socialist Party and Belgian shareholders of investing in arms manufacturers, including a Singapore-based company producing antipersonnel landmines.[16]

Stockpile Destruction

The Netherlands started to destroy its stockpile of 264,500 antipersonnel mines at the end of 1996, with 45,026 AP23 mines transported to France for destruction, which was completed in May 1998. In June 1997, 209,500 AP22 mines were transported to Germany for destruction.[17] By 1 October 1999 when the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force for the Netherlands, there were only 272 Gator mine systems to be destroyed. These Gator cluster munitions, described by the Netherlands as “non-Ottawa convention compliant,” contained a total of 5,984 BLU-92B antipersonnel mines, as well as BLU-91B antivehicle mines. They were transferred to a civilian facility in Germany and destroyed by December 2002.[18]

At the end of 2003, the Netherlands retained 3,553 antipersonnel mines (2,711 AP22 and 842 DM31) for training and development purposes, as permitted under Article 3. This represented a reduction of 313 mines from the data reported at the end of 2002 (3,866 mines retained).[19] The Netherlands originally retained 4,076 AP22 mines, to which it added 864 DM31 mines imported from Denmark in December 1999.[20] Some of the mines have been consumed each year (in 2000: 544 mines, in 2001: 216, in 2002: 314, in 2003: 313), but the Netherlands has not reported specifically on how the mines are used or consumed.

The Netherlands has a quantity of directional fragmentation (Claymore-type) mines. In December 2000, the Defense Secretary told Parliament that these will be used only in command-detonated mode, which is not prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty. No tripwires, for operation of the mines in victim-activated mode, remain in stock.[21]

Mine Action Funding and Assistance

Dutch policy for the funding of mine action focuses on countries that have signed the Mine Ban Treaty, and follows UNMAS guidelines. Assisted activities must fit with existing plans for socioeconomic rehabilitation, and responsibility for mine clearance must be transferred to national authorities at the earliest opportunity. Multi-year projects are favored.[22] In 2003–2004, all mine action funding was transferred to the Stability Fund, which will result in changes in the geographical grouping of funding. For the period 2004–2007, all NGO mine action funding has been committed.[23]

In 2003, funding totaled $12,140,390, according to Landmine Monitor calculations based on three different (and inconsistent) Dutch government sources.[24] This represents a large reduction from $16,028,030 in 2002, and less than the annual budget of €13.6 million.[25] The reduction resulted in part from a shortfall in the 2003 Development Cooperation budget. For 2004, the Netherlands budgeted mine action expenditure totaling €12.6 million, of which €12.2 million was committed by April.[26]

In 2003, funds were allocated to 13 countries and five organizations:

Countries:

  • Afghanistan: $1,468,561, consisting of $600,000 to UNMAS for Afghanistan[27] and $868,561 to HALO for mine clearance
  • Angola: $1,096,631, consisting of $596,631 to HALO for mine clearance and $500,000 to NPA for integrated mine action
  • Azerbaijan: $650,000 to HALO for mine clearance in Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Cambodia: $675,489 to HALO for mine clearance
  • Eritrea: $1,655,093 to HALO for mine clearance. This donation was initially $2,283,117, but when the Eritrea program closed, $628,024 of the funds was moved to Kosovo.
  • Georgia – $300,000 to HALO for mine clearance in Abkhazia
  • Iraq: $975,000, consisting of $675,000 through Stichting Vluchteling to MAG for mine action in Kirkuk and $300,000 to Mine Action Coordination Teams in Baghdad and Basra
  • Kosovo: $628,024 to HALO (transferred from Eritrea)[28]
  • Mozambique: $973,568, consisting of $673,568 to HALO for mine clearance and $300,000 to NPA for integrated mine action
  • Somalia: $457,445 to HALO for mine clearance in Somaliland
  • Sri Lanka: $465,987 to HALO for mine clearance
  • Ukraine: $36,000 to NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund, for stockpile destruction[29]
  • Yemen: $300,000 to the UNDP for support to the national mine action program

Organizations:

  • UNMAS: $300,000 for coordination of the Voluntary Trust Fund
  • HALO Trust Global Appeal 2003: $324,592 for mine clearance resources (dogs)[30]
  • ICBL: $120,000 for the Landmine Monitor Report 2003[31]
  • ICRC: $454,000 to the special appeal for victim assistance
  • UNDP: $300,000 for a non-country/region-related Mine Action Team
  • UNDP: $870,000 for mine action management courses by Cranfield University
  • GICHD: $90,000 for Implementation Support Unit sponsorship program.

Multiyear funding for 2003-2008 is provided by the Netherlands to four mine action organizations: $20.5 million to the HALO Trust for mine clearance in Abkhazia, Angola, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mozambique, Nagorno-Karabakh and Somaliland; $8 million to MAG for mine clearance in Angola and Iraq; $8 million to NPA for mine clearance in Angola, Cambodia and Mozambique; and $1.4 million to Handicap International for victim assistance in Angola and Iraq.[32]

In 2003, the Dutch armed forces deployed one technical mine clearance advisor in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 2003 – as in 2002 – and one advisor continued working in Ethiopia until February 2003. The Dutch armed forces have a pool of some 30 deminers, some of whom were also deployed in Eritrea in previous years.[33]

Since 1999, the Netherlands has contributed mine action funding totaling about $65.1 million (1999: $8.9 million, 2000: $14.2 million, 2001: $13.9 million, 2002: $16 million, 2003: $12.1 million).[34] At least 19 countries and regions have received Dutch mine action funding, including Albania, Chile, Guinea-Bissau, Northern Iraq, Laos, and Moldova, in addition to those funded in 2003. The Landmine Monitor estimates that this funding included about $5.8 million allocated to victim assistance projects (1999: $1.8 million, 2000: $2.3 million, 2001: $0.7 million, 2002: $0.5 million, 2003: $0.5 million).[35] In 1996–1998, the Netherlands contributed about $30 million for mine action.[36]

Nongovernmental Mine Action Funding

In 2003–2004, Stichting Vluchteling (Netherlands Refugee Foundation) provided funding of €278,385 ($314,993)[37] for three projects by MAG: in Northern Iraq, €163,750 for mine action teams in Erbil and Kirkuk from January 2003–March 2004; in Angola, €80,606 for community liaison and mine awareness in Cunene province from July 2003–June 2004; and in Sri Lanka, €34,029 for mine risk education in Batticaloa district from July 2003–June 2004. These projects started in 2001.[38]

KerkinActie (Action by Churches Together) provided €43,800 ($49,560) to the International Demining Group for community-based mine action in El Salvador, from January–May 2003. This project started in 2002.[39]

Novib provided €553,208 ($625,955): in Afghanistan: €73,927 for mine clearance and mine risk education, and €449,281 for mine clearance by OMAR, and in Angola €30,000 ($33,945) for mine risk education.[40]

In April 2003, Pax Christi Netherlands became part of the steering committee developing the Cluster Munition Coalition. It organized a conference in The Hague on 12–13 November 2003 where the Coalition was launched. Over one hundred NGOs have since joined the coalition, including the Dutch NGOs Novib, Amnesty International and DOCA.[41]

Since 1999, Dutch NGOs have provided at least $4.3 million for mine action funding in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chechnya, Kosovo, El Salvador, Laos, Mozambique, Northern Iraq, and Sudan. Stichting Vluchteling has provided mine action funding totaling $511,211 (2003: $314,993; 2002: $156,218; 2001: $40,000), KerkinActie has provided $334,650 (2003: $49,560; 2002: $47,640; 2001: $177,450, 2000: $60,000), Novib has provided more than $3.5 million (2003: $625,000; 2002: $1.6 million; 2001: $1.3 million), and the Anti-Landmine Foundation provided $190,000 in 1999. These and other NGOs provided additional mine action funding in the years before 1999.[42]

Landmine Casualties

In July 2003, three Dutch ISAF peacekeepers were injured when their vehicle hit a landmine near Kabul in Afghanistan.[43]


[1] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 747–748. The Netherlands also called for a ban within NATO and the European Union.
[2] Article 7 Report, Form A, 29 April 2004; email from Sjoerd Smit, Policy Advisor, Disarmament Desk, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 April 2004. See also Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 748.
[3] Email from Sjoerd Smit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 April 2004.
[4] Letter from Hans Horbach, Director for Security Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Handicap International, 5 July 2004. Translated by Landmine Monitor.
[5] See Article 7 reports submitted: 29 April 2004 (for calendar year 2003); April 2003, day not stated (for calendar year 2002); 19 April 2002 (for calendar year 2001); 20 April 2001 (for calendar year 2000); 7 January 2000 (for the period 1 March–31 December 1999).
[7] Non-Paper on Articles 1, 2, and 3, presented by the Netherlands, Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 25 June 2004.
[8] Email from Alexander Verbeek, Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 March 2004; Statement to Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 11 May 2001. See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 746–747. In March 1999, the Foreign Minister told the Senate that the Netherlands will not assist any NATO partners in the use or preparations for use of antipersonnel mines, and will not tolerate use on Dutch territory. See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 691.
[9] Email from Alexander Verbeek, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 March 2004; Statement to Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, 10–11 January 2000; Statement to Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 11 May 2001.
[10] Email from Foulkert Joustra, General Policy Affairs, Ministry of Defense, 27 April 2004.
[11] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form C, 1 October 2002.
[12] Letter from State Secretary of Defense H.A.L. Van Hoof to Parliament on Anti-Tank Mines and Alternatives for AP Mines, The Hague, 19 December 2000; CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form C, 1 October 2002.
[13] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 366, and Landmine Monitor Report 2003, p. 359.
[14] The three types produced were: AP22 non-metallic blast mine, AP23 bounding mine, and Model 15 non-metallic blast mine. The Gator mine system and Claymore directional fragmentation mines were imported from the United States (1984–1986, 1991). Directional fragmentation mines were also imported from Austria (1997). See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 692.
[15] Netherlands Response to OSCE Questionnaire, 28 January 1999, p. 2.
[16] “Dutch ING accused of investing in arms manufacturers,” Dutch News Digest, 27 April 2004.
[17] Article 7 Report, Form D, 7 January 2000 (for the period 1 March–31 December 1999).
[18] Statement by the Netherlands, Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, 6 February 2003, Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form C, 1 October 2002, and Article 7 Report, Form G, April 2003 (for calendar year 2002). See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 693.
[19] Article 7 Report, Form D, 29 April 2004 (for calendar year 2003).
[20] Response to OSCE Questionnaire, 9 December 2002, p. 2.
[21] Letter from State Secretary of Defense on Anti-Tank Mines, 19 December 2000.
[22] Statement by the Netherlands, Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 16–20 September 2002 (see Landmine Monitor Report 2003, p. 360). This policy was established in 1999 (see Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 695).
[23] Email from Johanneke de Hoogh, Desk Officer, Department of Humanitarian Assistance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 April 2004 and telephone interview, 2 April 2004.
[24] The Netherlands’ Article 7 report notes total funding of €12.4 million ($14.03 million at average 2003 exchange rate), but itemizes donations in US dollars adding to $11,815,798 million. Article 7 Report, Form J, 29 April 2004. Other itemized sources include: “Current and Planned Donor Activity for the Netherlands 2003,” UNMAS Mine Action Investments database, www.mineaction.org, accessed on 30 June 2004 (which cites $11,975,857 total), and, CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form E, 1 October 2003 (which cites $12,326,763 total). This excludes Dutch co-funding of the treaty workshop in Romania in February 2003, for which funding has not been reported.
[25] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a revised estimate of $12,140,750 funding in 2003 (but without itemization) and confirmed 2002 funding as $16,028,030. Email from Johanneke de Hoogh, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 July 2004.
[26] Emails from Johanneke de Hoogh, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 and 6 April 2004, and telephone interview, 2 April 2004. Carry-over of ongoing commitments between years may result in differences between budgeted and actual annual expenditures.
[27] Email from Johanneke de Hoogh, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4 October 2004. This item is recorded as $720,000 in the Netherlands’ Article 7 report for 2003.
[28] Email from Johanneke de Hoogh, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 July 2004.
[29] This item is recorded by the 2003 Article 7 Report, but not included in the MAI database.
[30] This item is recorded by the MAI database, but not included in the 2003 Article 7 Report.
[31] Ibid.
[32] Mine Action Investments database, accessed on 30 June 2004.
[33] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form E, 1 October 2003.
[34] Funding data taken from previous editions of the Landmine Monitor, at exchange rates used in each year. The totals do not include funding for research and development projects. The Netherlands spent Dfl12.8 million ($5 million) on the HOM 2000 research project on demining technologies from 1997 to 2001.
[35] Funding data taken from previous editions of the Landmine Monitor. The MAI database showed a lower total for victim assistance funding 1999–2003.
[36] See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 694.
[37] Landmine Monitor conversion, using average 2003 exchange rate of €1=$1.1315. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 2 January 2004.
[38] Email from Stichting Vluchteling project administration, 18 March 2004.
[39] Email from Evert van Bodegom, Emergency Officer, ACT Netherlands, 31 March 2004.
[40] Email from Tilleke Kiewied, Emergency Operations Coordinator, Novib, 8 April 2004.
[41] Interview with Micha Hollestelle, Policy Advisor Peace & Conflict, Pax Christi, 14 April 2004.
[42] See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 696–697. Funding data taken from previous editions of the Landmine Monitor, at the exchange rates for each year. The total probably underestimates Dutch NGO funding of mine action.
[43] “Dutch peacekeepers injured in Kabul landmine explosion,” Xinhua, 5 July 2003.