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Country Reports
Swaziland, Landmine Monitor Report 2004


Key developments since 1999: The Mine Ban Treaty entered into force for Swaziland on 1 June 1999. Swaziland has not provided any annual updated Article 7 reports. Clearance of Swaziland’s small minefield has not begun.

Mine Ban Policy

The Kingdom of Swaziland signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997, ratified on 23 December 1998, and became a State Party on 1 June 1999.[1] In its initial Article 7 report, provided in February 2000, Swaziland stated that full national implementation legislation “is presently being drawn up,” but the status of such legislation remains unknown as the country has not submitted any updated transparency reports, due annually by 30 April.[2]

Swaziland was an active participant in the Ottawa Process in 1997 and vocal opponent of antipersonnel mines, but financial constraints have limited its subsequent engagement.[3] The country has attended one annual meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty (in 1999) and one intersessional Standing Committee meeting (in January 2000). It has, however, voted in support of every pro-ban annual United Nations General Assembly resolution since 1996.

Swaziland has not produced or exported antipersonnel mines, and it does not possess any, including for training purposes.[4]

Mine Action

Swaziland has a small minefield near the town of Mananga on the border with Mozambique in the northeast of the country, which has been marked to warn the public.[5] The minefield remains despite several claims made by government officials, as recently as February 2003, that it will be cleared.[6] While the Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force (USDF) received demining training, support, and commitments of funding from the United States, in March 2003 the US Embassy in Swaziland noted a complete lack of progress on demining of the minefield, including a failure to use donated demining equipment; it commented that it would not endorse any further requests for demining support.[7] Swaziland never submitted a request to use funds allocated by the US for clearance of the minefield and the offer of support was subsequently withdrawn.[8] The Mine Ban Treaty requires that Swaziland destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas as soon as possible, but no later than 1 June 2009.

No mine casualties have been reported in Swaziland for at least the last decade, but the Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society has provided mine risk education for inhabitants living near the Mozambique border.

[1] Swaziland spoke in favor of the landmines ban at the 1997 Fourth International NGO Conference on Landmines in Maputo and during the May 1997 Organization of African Unity (OAU) Meeting in Kempton Park. It also supported the landmines resolution by the OAU in June 1997, and spoke against proposals to weaken the treaty text at the Oslo treaty negotiations.
[2] See Article 7 Report, Form A, 16 February 2000 (for the period from 1 July 1999 to 30 January 2000).
[3] Interview with Bernard Gumede, Under Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mbabane, 24 February 2003; Interview with Brig. Gen. Tshabalala, Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force, Mbabane, 4 March 2003.
[4] Article 7 Report, Forms B and G, 16 February 2000
[5] For more information on the issue, see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, footnote 7, p. 89.
[6] Interview with Bernard Gumede, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 24 February 2003.
[7] Email from Lisa Kenna, Political/Economic Officer, US Embassy, Mbabane, 21 March 2003.
[8] In 1998, the US government’s Humanitarian Demining Interagency Working Group approved Swaziland for humanitarian demining assistance, with a program valued at US$1,327,000. The US Department of Defense allocated US$828,000 in fiscal year 1999 and US$289,000 in fiscal year 2000 to cover the expenses of US personnel deployed to conduct demining training. Forty demining instructors were trained. Email from Col. Tom Stott, Office of Humanitarian Assistance and Anti-Personnel Landmine Policy, via Helen Savva, Reference Specialist, Public Affairs Office, Information Resource Center, US Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa, 16 March 2000; Interview with Thomas T. Jung, Second Secretary, US Embassy, 17 January 2002.