Landmine Monitor 2020, continues to document progress toward a mine-free world, but also highlights challenges such as non-state armed groups (NSAGs) using antipersonnel mines, particularly of an improvised nature. The use of improvised mines has again resulted in a high number of casualties in 2019, with the majority of victims being civilians. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 also generated a new set of unanticipated challenges to which the mine action community had to adapt in order to stay focused on the treaty’s ultimate objective of putting an end to the suffering caused by landmines.
Currently, 164 countries are bound by the Mine Ban Treaty. Despite no states joining the treaty in the reporting period, most of the 33 countries that remain outside continue to act in compliance with the international normative framework. However, the United States (US) new landmine policy announced in January 2020 reversed a previous directive banning production and limiting the use of antipersonnel mines. The decision was met with condemnation in the US and internationally as an unjustified step backwards, at odds with both the global recognition of the ban norm and the impact of this indiscriminate weapon on civilians.
As countries continue to work to clear mine-contaminated land and provide risk education to affected communities, the Monitor identifies much that remains to be done, including to support the needs of landmine survivors and their communities as well as to ensure the sustainability of resources as global funding to mine action fell for the second consecutive year.
From mid-2019 through October 2020, Landmine Monitor has confirmed new use of antipersonnel mines by the government forces of one country—Myanmar, which is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty.
NSAGs used antipersonnel mines in at least six countries during the reporting period: Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Libya, Myanmar, and Pakistan.
- There were as yet unconfirmed allegations of new antipersonnel mine use by NSAGs in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen.
2019 was the fifth year in a row with high numbers of recorded casualties due to the indiscriminate use of antipersonnel mines and antivehicle mines, including improvised types, as well as cluster munition remnants and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). The continuing high total recorded since 2014 is mostly the result of a large number of casualties recorded in countries facing intensive armed conflict and involving the large-scale use of improvised mines.
- In 2019, at least 5,554 casualties of mines/ERW were recorded: 2,170 people were killed, 3,357 people were injured, and for 27 casualties the survival status was unknown.
- Although the 2019 total indicated a decline from the 6,897 casualties of mines/ERW recorded in 2018, it was still 60% higher than the lowest determined annual number of 3,457 casualties in 2013.
- The States Parties with over 100 recorded casualties were: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria, Ukraine, and Yemen.
Casualties in 2019 were identified in 55 states and other areas, of which 36 are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty.
- The vast majority of recorded landmine/ERW casualties were civilians (80%) where their status was known.
- In 2019, children accounted for 43% of all civilian casualties where the age was known.
- Men and boys represented 85% of all casualties for which the sex was known.
Sixty states and other areas are contaminated by antipersonnel mines as of October 2020. This includes 33 States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, 22 states not party, and five other areas.
- Three States Parties need to clarify the extent of residual contamination (Algeria, Kuwait, and Nicaragua) and five States Parties need to provide information regarding suspected or known contamination by improvised mines (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Nigeria, and Tunisia).
- Mauritania which declared itself free of mines in 2018, reported finding new contamination dating from the 1970s Western Sahara conflict in 2019 and needed to confirm whether this contamination was actually on its territory.
Massive antipersonnel mine contamination (defined by the Monitor as more than 100km2) is believed to exist in 10 States Parties: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Cambodia, Croatia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Yemen.
Support for Mine Action
In 2019, donors and affected states contributed approximately US$650.7 million in combined international and national support for mine action, a decrease of $48.8 million compared to 2018, and the second year in a row of declining support.
In 2019, 35 donors contributed a total of $561.3 million in international support for mine action in 41 affected states and other areas. This represents a decline of $81.3 million compared to 2018 and the first time since 2016 that international support fell below $600 million.
- The 15 largest donors accounted for $78.2 million of the global decline. Despite this drop, they continued to provide the majority of international funding (96%).
- In 2019, 27 states and areas experienced a change of more than 20% in funding compared to 2018, including 15 recipients receiving less support. In addition, seven countries did not receive new support.
- International funding was distributed among the following sectors: clearance and risk education (56% of all funding), victim assistance (8%), capacity-building (1%), and advocacy (1%). The remaining 34% was either not disaggregated by the donors or unearmarked.
The Monitor identified 10 affected states that reported providing $89.4 million in national support for their own mine action programs: Afghanistan, Angola, BiH, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Lao PDR, Lebanon, and Zimbabwe. This represents an increase of $32.5 million from 2018.
Risk education is a core pillar of mine action, but one that has received little attention or acknowledgement by the broader mine action community in the last decade and, as a result, has frequently been under-funded. 2019 marked a significant and positive turning point for risk education, also known as Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE).
- An international advisory group was established in 2019 to steer efforts related to EORE.
- The Oslo Action Plan adopted at the Fourth Review Conference includes a distinct set of actions specifically dedicated to mine risk education and risk reduction.
- Twenty-eight States Parties were known to have conducted risk education to populations affected by antipersonnel mine contamination in 2019.
In 2020, risk education has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as face-to-face sessions are often the most appropriate way to reach affected communities and to promote behavioral change. However, operators have shown innovation to address the challenges in terms of using digital methods and combining risk education and COVID-19 messaging.
At least 156km² of land was reported cleared of landmines in 2019 and more than 123,000 antipersonnel mines were cleared and destroyed. This represents an increase from the estimated 146km² cleared and nearly 98,000 landmines destroyed in 2018.
- The largest total clearance of mined areas in 2019 was achieved in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Croatia, and Iraq, which together accounted for 86% or all recorded clearance.
- In 2019, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen have all continued landmine clearance despite ongoing conflict or insecurity.
- In 2020, mine clearance was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 related restrictions in Armenia, BiH, Chad, Colombia, Lebanon, Peru, Senegal, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe, in other areas Kosovo and Western Sahara, as well as in the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas.
Thirty States Parties, one state not party, and one other area have completed clearance of all mined areas on their territory since the treaty’s entry into force.
- Chile became the most recent State Party to declare completion of clearance of all mined areas in early 2020. No State Party declared completion of clearance in 2019.
- As of 15 October 2020, 25 States Parties have deadlines to meet their Article 5 obligations, before and no later than 2025. Four States Parties have deadlines after 2025: Croatia (2026), Iraq (2028), Palestine (2028), and Sri Lanka (2028), and three have requested an extension of their current deadline after 2025: BiH (2027), Senegal (2026), and South Sudan (2026).
- Eight countries requested extensions to their Article 5 obligations in 2020: BiH, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, South Sudan, and Ukraine. These requests will be considered at the Eighteen Meeting of States Parties in November 2020.
- Eritrea and Nigeria were expected to submit an Article 5 extension request in 2020, but have yet to do so as of 15 October 2020.
The following findings relate to 34 States Parties with significant numbers of mine victims. In 2019–2020, many states indicated improvements in the accessibility, quality, or quantity of services for victims. However, important challenges remained in all countries.
- Only 14 of the 34 States Parties had victim assistance or relevant disability plans in place to address recognized needs and gaps in assistance. Another nine still need to complete the revision or adoption of a draft national disability strategy relevant to the implementation of victim assistance.
- Approximately two-thirds of the States Parties had active coordination mechanisms, and survivors’ representatives participated in the coordinating processes in 18 of those States Parties. However, there was little evidence that their input was considered or acted upon.
- Significant gaps remain in access to economic opportunities for survivors and other persons with disabilities in many of the States Parties where opportunities for livelihoods were most needed.
In 2020, victim assistance activities and services were strongly impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions and prevented survivors and other persons with disability to access services and to exercise their rights on an equal basis in a number of mine-affected countries. The impact of the pandemic was compounded by years of under-resourcing for victim assistance activities in many countries. Mine victims, especially in remote areas, often already struggled to reach or lacked access to adequate services.
Stockpile Destruction and Mines Retained
States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty have destroyed more than 55 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines, including more than 269,000 destroyed in 2019.
- Greece and Ukraine remain in violation of the treaty as both have missed successive deadlines to complete destruction of their stockpiles.
- Three States Parties possess approximately four million antipersonnel mines remaining to be destroyed: Ukraine (3.3 million), Greece (343,413), and Sri Lanka (62,510).
A total of 64 States Parties have reported that they retain a combined total of more than 145,000 antipersonnel mines for training and research purposes, of which 32 retain more than 1,000 mines each.
- Botswana, Brazil, and Uruguay reported the destruction of their remaining retained mines in 2019.
- Seven States Parties have never reported consuming any mines retained for the permitted purposes since the treaty entered into force for them: Burundi, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Nigeria, Oman, Senegal, and Togo.
The Monitor lists 12 states as landmine producers because they have yet to disavow future production: China, Cuba, India, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, the US, and Vietnam.
- This is an increase of one country from the previous report, following the change in US landmine policy which rolls back the 2014 policy pledge to not produce antipersonnel mines.
NSAGs have produced improvised landmines in Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Yemen in the reporting period.