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Landmine Monitor: Africa ICBL/Landmine Monitor Regional Meeting

Africa ICBL/Landmine Monitor Regional Meeting

Final Declaration & Report on Activities.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
11-14 December 2002

Final Declaration

We, African representatives of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), met in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa from 11-14 December 2002 to:

  • Discuss progress made by African governments in implementing the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Mine Ban Treaty);
  • Develop our campaigning strategy for region for 2003;
  • Prepare our research for our fifth annual report, Landmine Monitor Report 2003;
  • Visit mine risk education activities conducted by the non-governmental organisation Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (RaDO) in the northern border region of Tigray;
  • Observe mine clearance activities by the Ethiopian Mine Action Office (EMAO) in Tigray;
  • Meet with representatives of the Government of Ethiopia and the African Union;
  • Reaffirm our commitment to achieve a Mine-Free World.

We express:

  • Our deep appreciation to the government and people of Ethiopia for their kind hospitality during our stay in their beautiful country and our sincerest concern that at least 12 million of its people are currently at risk of starvation;
  • Our gratitude to the African Union and the Commonwealth and Foreign Office of the Royal British Embassy to Ethiopia for their financial support of our regional meeting;
  • Our heartfelt thanks to our host, RaDO, for its professional organisation of our regional meeting and the Tigray field trip;
  • Our gratitude to EMAO, UNDP, and UNICEF for sharing their mine action experience with us.

We Recall:

  • Africa's common position on the antipersonnel mine ban as developed by the First Continental Conference of African Experts on Landmines, in May 1997;
  • The critical role taken by African governments in the Ottawa Process, in particular during the September 1997 negotiation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

We Welcome:

  • Ethiopia's commitment to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty, as reflected in the opening address of our regional meeting by Mr. Mehreta' ab Mulugeta, the government's representative;
  • The fact that 48 of the 52 African states have joined the Mine Ban Treaty;
  • The pledge made by newly established African Union to play an active role in the promotion and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

We express our deepest concern that:

  • Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Somalia remain outside the Mine Ban Treaty;
  • Burundi, Ethiopia, São Tomé e Principe and Sudan signed the Mine Ban Treaty in December 1997, but have not yet ratified;
  • Egypt remains the sole landmine producer on the African continent;
  • Antipersonnel mine use has continued since entry-into-force of the Mine Ban Treaty in March 1999, by a number of governments and non-state actors throughout the African continent;
  • No States Party in Africa completed destruction of its stockpiled mines in the past year;
  • Djibouti, a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty, has yet to declare and destroy its antipersonnel mine stockpile, as required by March 2003;
  • Thirteen African governments have not yet fulfilled their treaty obligation to provide an Article 7 transparency report on progress they have made to implement the Mine Ban Treaty (Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Togo);
  • Only four African States Parties have reported domestic legislation in place to implement the mine ban (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritius and Zimbabwe);
  • At least 16 countries in Africa have reported new landmine casualties in 2002;
  • Existing mine action and survivor assistance are inadequate to meet the demand posed by mine and UXO-affected communities in half the countries of Africa.

We therefore challenge:

  • Those African governments that have not yet signed or ratified the Mine Ban Treaty to do so as soon as possible, no later than the time of the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2003;
  • The African Union, in collaboration with sub-regional organisations and NGOs, to develop a concrete programme of action to take forward the commitments made at the First Continental Conference of African Experts on Landmines in May 1997 and expressed in subsequent OAU resolutions;
  • Any African government or non-state actor that is using, manufacturing, stockpiling or transferring antipersonnel mines to immediately cease these activities;
  • All African States Parties to issue a full Article 7 transparency report detailing their implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, including the annual report required by the end of April 2003;
  • All African States Parties to destroy their stockpiled antipersonnel mines without delay, and no later than their treaty-mandated deadlines;
  • All African States Parties to establish domestic national legislation criminalising the use, manufacture, stockpiling, and transfer of antipersonnel landmines;
  • All African governments to enhance their cooperation, coordination and transparency in all aspects of mine action between themselves and with African members of the ICBL, including its Landmine Monitor researchers;
  • Donor governments to provide adequate resources to support comprehensive mine clearance, mine risk education and survivor assistance programs in all mine-affected countries in Africa;
  • All relevant stakeholders to continue to vigorously work towards the creation of a Mine-Free Africa.

Report on Activities

From 11-14 December 2002, representatives of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and its Landmine Monitor research network gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for an Africa-wide meeting to prepare the ICBL's fifth annual
report: Landmine Monitor Report 2003.

The meeting began on Wednesday 11 December with an opening plenary attended by over two-dozen diplomatic representatives, as well as members of the Ethiopian mine action community. Mereso Agina of the Kenyan Coalition Against Landmines chaired the session which featured presentations by Tilahun G.kidan, director of the Rehabilitation and Development Organization (RaDO), host of the regional meeting; Mehreta'ab Mulugeta, director of the International Organizations and Economic Cooperation General Directorate of Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs; El Ghassan Wane, African Union; Teklewold Mengesha, director of the Ethiopian Mine Action Office (EMAO); Ibrahim Jabr, UNICEF; Jim Prudhomme, UNDP; and Mary Wareham, Human Rights Watch, on behalf of the ICBL.

In the afternoon, participants moved to the United Nations Conference Center at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to begin their internal deliberations. They reviewed and strategized on the status of the ICBL's advocacy efforts throughout the African region, by examining universalization, mine use, non-state actors, stockpile destruction, transparency reporting, domestic legislation, mine clearance and survivor assistance issues. While just four countries in the entire continent remain outside the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty (Egypt, Libya, Morocco,and Somalia), much work remains to ensure full and complete implementation of the prohibitions established by the ban treaty.

The internal Landmine Monitor meeting took place on 12 December. Participants spent the day in pairs meeting with various research coordinators on issues relating to their 2003 research for Landmine Monitor. Twenty-three researchers attended the meeting for the following countries: Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Eight Landmine Monitor researchers were unable to attend (Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, Somaliland, and Swaziland). All of Landmine Monitor's research coordinators for Africa attended the meeting, as well as the thematic research coordinators for ban policy and victim assistance, and the ICBL information and technologies officer and the advocacy and media officer.

On 13 December, the participants took a short flight to Mekelle, capital of the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, and then traveled four hours by bus to the border. At the village of Addis Tesfa, they were greeted by local schoolchildren, including mine survivors, who performed dance, music, and drama using mine risk education messages taught by RaDO. Since 1998, RaDO has recorded 393 mine/UXO casualties in Tigray region; the most recent incident was in October 2002. RaDO also carries out counselling, in particular psychological treatment for mine/UXO survivors. Later in the day, RaDO provided a mine risk education briefing for the participants, many of whom come from mine-affected countries.

Further north, the participants drove through the border town of Zala Anbesa, which was destroyed during the 1999-2000 conflict with Eritrea, and visited a mine clearance project conducted by EMAO in the nearby village of Marta. At the mine clearance site, some researchers donned mine clearance safety gear and walked closer to the demining activities. They also asked the demining company leader, Tesfa Kidanemariam, many questions about the clearance program. The 92-member company had cleared 192,000 square meters of land, including the local church and a site for a new school. Kidanemariam said that while they had removed and destroyed twelve antipersonnel mines and several antivehicle mines, but fuzes and unexploded ordnance (UXO) were more commonly found and destroyed, where possible, in situ.

The ICBL and Landmine Monitor would like to express its deepest gratitude to RaDO, especially its director, Tilahun G.kidan, and its staff including Ambachew Negus, Berhanu Alamirew, Neguse Seifu, Getenesh Tilahun, Hagos Berhe, Berhanu Lodamo, Temesgen Abraha, and Samson Atsbaha. It is also indebted to the EMAO, in particular its director Teklewold Mengesha, Berhane Achame, and the deminers in Marta. We greatly appreciate the generous funding provided by the Commonwealth and Foreign Office of the Royal British Embassy to Ethiopia and the African Union, which made the Tigray fieldtrip possible and supplemented different costs of the regional meeting. Thank you to the numerous organizations that also contributed, including UNDP and UNICEF.

For more information, contact RaDO: rado@telecom.net.et or Landmine Monitor at lm@icbl.org and check out the ICBL website at www.icbl.org

The next regional ICBL/Landmine Monitor meeting will take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 28-31 January 2003. Landmine Monitor Report 2003 is due for release in September 2003.

En Français à http://www.icbl.org/lm/archives/000022.html#000022

Posted by Briana Wilson at 19:42, 17 December 2002