Namibia

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 19 June 2019

Summary: Namibia ratified the convention on 31 August 2018. Namibia has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention and it has condemned new use of cluster munitions. It voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2018. Namibia states that it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.

Policy

The Republic of Namibia signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified on 31 August 2018, and the convention entered into force for the country on 1 February 2019.

Namibia has not indicated if it will enact national legislation or other measures to enforce its implementation of the convention.

Namibia must provide an initial Article 7 transparency report for the convention no later than 31 July 2019.

Prior to ratifying, Namibia often signaled its intent to ratify the ban convention as soon as possible. [1] The government approved ratification on 3 July 2018 in line with Article 63 (2)(e) of the country’s constitution. Namibia deposited the ratification instrument on the eve of the convention’s Eighth Meeting of States Parties, making it the 104th State Party.

Namibia participated in two Africa regional meetings held during the Oslo Process that produced the Convention on Cluster Munitions. [2]

Namibia has attended every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, most recently the Eighth Meeting of States Parties in September 2018, where it announced the ratification. [3]

In December 2018, Namibia voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that urges states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” [4] It has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was introduced in 2015.

Namibia has condemned new use of cluster munitions, expressing “abhorrence and strong disapproval” of the use of cluster munitions in conflict zones around the world. [5]

Namibia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Namibia has stated several times since 2008 that it has not used, produced, or transferred cluster munitions and does not stockpile the weapon. [6] It must provide a transparency report for the convention to formally confirm this cluster munition-free status.



 [1] See, for example, statement of Namibia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Sixth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 6 September 2016; statement of Namibia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 5 September 2014; statement of Namibia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, April 2014; statement of Namibia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 9 September 2013. Notes by the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC); and CMC meeting with the Namibian delegate, International Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Santiago, 7–9 June 2010. Notes by the CMC.

 [2] For details on Namibia’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 123.

 [3] Statement of Namibia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Eighth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 3 September 2018. Namibia also attended intersessional meetings in 2013–2015 and was invited to, but did not attend, the First Review Conference in September 2015. Namibia also attended regional workshops on the convention, most recently in Kampala, Uganda in May 2017.

 [4]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 73/54, 5 December 2018.

 [5] Statement of Namibia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 3 September 2014.

 [6] See, for example, statement of Namibia, Opening Ceremony, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 9 September 2013; statement of Namibia, Kampala Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 30 September 2008. Notes by the CMC; and statement of Namibia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, 13 September 2012. Namibia is reported to possess Grad 122mm surface-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if these include versions with submunition payloads. International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 434.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019

Policy

The Republic of Namibia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 21 September 1998, becoming a State Party on 1 March 1999. In 2009, Namibia reported that it views the Explosive Act of 1956 as “sufficient” legal measures to ensure implementation of the treaty.[1] The Mine Ban Treaty is also viewed as part of national law under the Namibian Constitution.[2]

Namibia attends meetings of the treaty semi-regularly, most recently the Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties in Santiago in November–December 2016. Namibia also attended the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014. Namibia has not submitted an updated Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report since April 2010.

Namibia is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons. It is party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Production, transfer, use, stockpile destruction, and retention

Namibia maintains that it has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines and that it obtained mines as “leftovers during the liberation struggle.”[3] There have been no serious allegations of use of antipersonnel mines by Namibian forces since the April 2002 peace agreement in Angola.[4]

In 2004, Namibia provided its initial Article 7 transparency report where it disclosed that its stockpiles were comprised of 298 PPM-2, 100 OZM-72, 41 PROM-1, 3,720 PMN, 777 POMZ-2, 7,364 POMZ-2M, 19,412 PMD-6, 22 Claymore, and 122 “Mine Sharpener” mines. Namibia reported that by May 1998 it had destroyed 21,857 stockpiled antipersonnel mines and was retaining 9,999 mines.[5] By the end of 2005, it had reduced the number of retained mines to 3,899.[6] In April 2009, Namibia reported a reduced total of 1,734 mines retained for training and stated that 2,165 mines were destroyed “in past years” in “training of our troops and deminers in order to enabled them to identify and learn how to detect, handle, neutralize and destroy the mines wherever been found.”[7] In April 2010, Namibia further reduced the total number of mines retained for training by 100 to 1,634 mines, but reported the transfer for the purposes of training of a 400 PMD-6 mines as well as 20 “Mine Sharpener” and two Claymore mines.[8] Namibia has not provided updated information on mines retained since 2010.

Namibia did not report in detail on the intended purposes and actual uses of its retained mines, as agreed by States Parties.



[1] In 2004 and 2005, Namibia reported that draft implementation legislation was “under consideration.” In May 2006, a defense official told the Monitor that it may not be necessary since the government believes that it has completed its obligations under the treaty. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports, Form A, 7 July 2004, 9 September 2005, and 20 April 2006. Interview with Maj. Filemon Kotokeni, Chief of Mine Action, Namibian Defence Force, Ministry of Defence, in Geneva, 9 May 2006.

[2] For details on Article 144 of Namibia’s Constitution, see, Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 121. It is not clear how penal sanctions would be applied to offending parties with regard to specific articles of the Mine Ban Treaty.

[3] Statement of Namibia, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 21–22 June 2004. The United States Department of Defense claimed that Namibia produced PMD-6 antipersonnel mines in the past. See, Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 65.

[4] In 2000 and 2001, Landmine Monitor reported on antipersonnel mine use in Namibia by UNITA rebel forces and Angolan government forces, and on unsubstantiated allegations of use by Namibian troops. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 81–84; and Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 123–125.

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms D and G, 7 July 2004. Prior to this Namibia had made no official declarations about its stockpile, even though its treaty deadline for stockpile destruction was 1 March 2003.

[6] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 20 April 2006. In June 2005, Namibia stated that it had destroyed 3,848 of the retained mines during training activities, leaving 6,151 mines. Statement of Namibia, Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 17 June 2005. Notes by the Monitor.

[7] Namibia reported retaining 550 PMD-6, 500 POMZ-2M, 400 PMN, 100 PPM-2, 100 POMZ-2, and 40 OZM, as well as 40 “Mine Sharpener” and two Claymores, which totals 1,732 mines, not 1,734. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms B and D, 30 April 2009.

[8] Namibia has reported retaining 600 POMZ-2M (100 more than reported in 2009), 400 PMN, 400 PMD-6 (150 fewer than in 2009), 80 PPM-2 (20 fewer than in 2009), 90 POMZ-2 (10 fewer than in 2009), 40 OZM-72, and two PROM-1, as well as well as 20 “Mine Sharpener” and two Claymores. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms B and D, 30 April 2009.


Mine Action

Last updated: 13 July 2011

Contamination and Impact

Mines

The extent of any mine problem in the Republic of Namibia remains unclear. According to its most recent Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report covering 2009, Namibia has no known or suspected mined areas containing antipersonnel mines.[1] It further reports that it completed demining operations in 2001,[2] although, as noted below, mines have been cleared subsequently. At the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in December 2009, Namibia claimed that it was in full compliance with Article 5 of the treaty.[3]

Despite this declaration, there are indications that Namibia still has a mine problem. In late 2009, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism is reported to have claimed it “will need between N$3 million [US$369,420] and N$5 million [$615,700] for a landmine clearance operation along the border between Bwabwata National Park in Caprivi region and Angola that emerged from a brutal conflict several years ago.”[4] At the Third Continental Conference of African Experts on Landmines in Pretoria in 2009, Namibia reported that a mine incident had occurred that year.[5] The location of the incident was not reported. Furthermore, Namibia received training in humanitarian demining from the United States (US) Department of Defense between October 2009 and September 2010.[6]

Other governments have warned of a possible mine threat in Namibia. In April 2011, Australia repeated its warning that: “In the Kavango and Caprivi regions of north-eastern Namibia, particularly in areas bordering Angola, you should stay on well-travelled routes. Unexploded landmines and munitions remain in these regions.”[7] The same month, Canada warned travelers to be aware of the presence of mines in the border area from Katwitwi (a village on the Okavango River in western Kavango region) to Kongola town (Caprivi region).[8]

Cluster munition remnants and other explosive remnants of war

Namibia has a problem with explosive remnants of war (ERW), particularly unexploded ordnance (UXO). Indeed, in its 2009 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, Namibia acknowledged that “isolated cases of UXOs do occur.”[9] UXO has been found around former shooting ranges and consisted of grenades either from the South African Defence Forces or from three South African ammunition storage areas in the north that exploded in the 1990s.[10] From January 2006 to June 2007, Namibian police reported finding more than 11,000 items of UXO while finding 17 mines during the same period.[11] There is no evidence of any cluster munition remnants in Namibia.

Mine Action Program

There is no national mine action authority or mine action center in Namibia. The Namibian Defence Force has a mine focal point who reports to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence. The Namibian Defence Force is nominally responsible for mine clearance, and the Police Explosives Unit is responsible for clearing ERW (although it also reports on mine clearance).[12]

Land Release

There were no reports of demining or clearance of ERW in 2009 or 2010.

Compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Namibia was required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2009. Namibia did not apply for an extension of its Article 5 deadline. At the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in December 2009, Namibia said it had completed the full destruction of antipersonnel mines in all mined areas and was in full compliance with Article 5.[13]

Other Risk Reduction Measures

In 2008, UNICEF said it did not conduct mine/ERW risk education (RE) in Namibia because mines were not a major problem.[14]The Police Explosives Unit requested assistance for RE but has not received support since 2004.[15]

 



[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2009.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Statement of Namibia, Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 4 December 2009.

[4] Chrispin Inambao, “Thousands of villagers swamp game reserve,” Shona Adventures Blog, 9 November 2009, shonaadventures.blogspot.com. Average exchange rate for 2009: N$1=US$0.12314. Oanda, www.oanda.com.

[5] International Security Studies, “Third Continental Conference of African Experts on Landmines adopts new African common position,” Pretoria, 15 September 2009, reliefweb.int.

[6] US Department of Defense, “Fiscal Year 2010 Report on Humanitarian Mine Action,” US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Washington, DC, February 2011, www.dsca.mil.

[7] Government of Australia, “Travel Advice,” www.smartraveller.gov.au.

[8] Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, “Travel Report: Namibia,” www.voyage.gc.ca.

[9] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2009.

[10] Interview with Chief Inspector John N. Alweendo, Explosives Unit, Namibian Police Force, Windhoek, 17 March 2008.

[11] Fax from Maj.-Gen. M’Lukeni and Chief Inspector John N. Alweendo, Namibian Police Force, 18 June 2007.

[12] Ministry of Defence, “Preparing for the First Review Conference, Communicating Elements of Plans to Implement Article 5,” undated but 2004, pp. 2–3.

[13] Statement of Namibia, Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 4 December 2009.

[14] Telephone interview with Judy Matjila, Communications Specialist, UNICEF, 19 March 2008.

[15] Interview with Chief Inspector John N. Alweendo, Namibian Police Force, Windhoek, 17 March 2008.


Support for Mine Action

New information will be added soon.


Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 22 September 2015

Casualties

The Republic of Namibia is responsible for survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) and has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty.

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2014

619 (145 killed; 474 injured)

 

In May 2014, a 21-year-old woman was injured following the explosion of a rifle grenade placed in a box of used military equipment in the city of Swakopmund.[1] Before this incident, the last reported casualties occurred in 2007, when there were 12 casualties from ERW.[2] The last known landmine casualty was in March 2005.[3]

At least 618 mine/ERW casualties have been recorded since 1999.

Following a peak in the number of casualties in 2000, the incidence of new mine/ERW casualties per year in Namibia has declined rapidly. In 2000, official statistics reported 14 people killed and 126 injured by mines/ERW. By 2002, this number had decreased to two people killed and 17 injured.[4] Between 1999 and December 2007, at least 145 civilians were killed and 473 injured by mines/ERW.[5]

Victim Assistance

Namibia has no specialized mine/ERW victim assistance coordination body or mechanism. The National Disability Council, established in 2004, coordinates and monitors implementation of disability policy in cooperation with disabled persons’ organizations, service providers, and government agencies.[6] Within the Office of the Prime Minister, a Disability Advisory Unit is responsible for overseeing concerns of persons with disabilities.[7]

Namibian law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and all new government buildings must be physically accessible, but enforcement has been ineffective and societal discrimination has persisted.[8]

Namibia ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 4 December 2007.



[1] Floris Steenkamp, “Grenade explosion a wake-up call,” Informanté, 15 May 2014.

[2] ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, 2008).

[3] Fax from John N. Alweendo, Chief Inspector, Namibian Police Force, 18 June 2007.

[4] ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2004: Toward a Mine-Free World (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2004).

[5] ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, 2008).

[6] Government of Namibia, National Disability Council Act, 28 December 2004.

[7] United States (US) Department of State, “2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Namibia,” Washington, DC, 28 February 2014; and Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, Strategic Plan 2011–2016.

[8] US Department of State, “2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Namibia,” Washington, DC, 27 February 2014.