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NON-STATE ACTORS WORKING GROUP, Landmine Monitor Report 2005

Non-State Actors Working Group

The Non-State Actors Working Group (NSA WG) is comprised of 23 country campaigns. It was co-chaired by the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Swiss Campaign to Ban Landmines through 2004 and the Colombia, New Zealand, Zambia, and Sri Lanka national campaigns beginning in 2005.[1] The goal of this working group is to address the particular challenge posed by non-state actors—armed groups operating outside of government control—in fully universalizing the norm prohibiting antipersonnel landmines. The NSA WG coordinates, supports and initiates ICBL activities aimed at promoting NSA engagement in the landmine ban. The 2005 Landmine Monitor Fact Sheet on NSAs identified 65 non-state armed groups (NSAGs) involved in use or alleged use of antipersonnel mines in 19 countries. ICBL national campaigns in Colombia, India, Nepal, the Philippines and Thailand continue to promote the idea that NSAGs should bring their actions into compliance with the norm established by the treaty.

The Working Group collaborates closely with local and international entities such as the ICRC and the Geneva Call. The Geneva Call, an independent, humanitarian Swiss-based NGO, works with ICBL country campaigners, and provides NSAs with an opportunity to become engaged in a parallel, complementary process to the Mine Ban Treaty through the Deed of Commitment for Adherence to a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines and for Cooperation in Mine Action (DoC).[2]

During the year 2004, country campaigns in partnership with local and international organizations such as Geneva Call engaged non-state actors in Bangladesh, Burma, Burundi, Colombia, Greater Horn of Africa, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

In Colombia, a series of 11 workshops, missions, and national and regional fora have been organized by the Colombian Campaign Against Mines and Geneva Call. The CCCM also organized several other meetings and public debates about landmines including an academic seminar at the University of Magdalena on the landmine situation in Colombia.

From 15-17 September, the NSA WG made a presentation at the 2nd Continental Conference on African Experts on Landmines on the need for African states to engage NSAs in the context of the Organization of African Unity/African Union's Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, the AU's Common African Defence and Security Policy and the AU's Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. The ultimate result of the presentation was the inclusion of a paragraph in the African Union's new Common Position recognizing the need to engage with groups other than states.

From 31 October-2 November 2004, the first meeting of the signatories to Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment was held in Geneva, organized by the Geneva Call, PSIO (Program for the Study of International Organizations) and the Armed Groups Project. Armed groups from more than 22 war-torn countries met to evaluate the implementation of their commitment to a total ban on the use of antipersonnel mines.

On 26 November 2004, in Nairobi, the NSA-WG organized a workshop on Non-State Actors, Peace Processes, Human Security and Antipersonnel Landmine Campaigns. The following day, they held a public forum on Non State Actors and Landmines. It also launched a book called, Looking Back, Looking Forward, Lessons Learned in Engaging Non-State Actors in a Landmine Ban, which is the conference report of the meeting held in conjunction with the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in Bangkok.

In collaboration with Geneva Call and the Kenya Coalition Against Landmines, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, a DoC signatory, started a series of regional mine ban education workshops in south Sudan.

In Paris on 23 July 2005, the ICBL participated in a workshop organized by the Geneva Call in collaboration with the Centre for Just Peace and Democracy called Advancing Mine Action in Sri Lanka: Mobilising the European Tamil Diaspora.

During the 2005 intersessional SC meetings, ICBL staff and NSA WG members documented references to NSAs by at least 15 countries, as well as by the ICRC and UNMAS.

[1] Country campaign members of the NSA WG include: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Australia, Colombia, Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Palestine, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UK, and Zimbabwe.
[2] Under the DoC, armed groups commit themselves to a total prohibition on the use of antipersonnel mines and other victim-activated explosive devices, under any circumstances; to undertake, to cooperate in, or to facilitate, programs to destroy stockpiles; to demine contaminated areas; to provide assistance to victims; to promote awareness programs; to facilitate the monitoring and verification of their commitments by Geneva Call; and to ensure that the prohibition on use of antipersonnel mines and any other victim-activated explosive devices are communicated to the rank and file.