02 April 2008

Article 4 of the Mine Ban Treaty requires States Parties to destroy their stockpile of antipersonnel landmines as soon as possible but not later than four years after joining the treaty. It is one of the positive obligations of the treaty, along with the obligation to clear all mined areas and to provide assistance to landmine victims. There is no possibility for an extension of the four-year deadline.

The obligation to destroy all stockpiles serves both the treaty’s disarmament and humanitarian goals. First and foremost, destroying mines is a cornerstone of a treaty aiming to eliminate a class of weapons. Their destruction also ensures that the mines can never be laid in the ground and can therefore never claim a victim.

The good news:

- The stockpile destruction obligation of the Mine Ban Treaty is one of its most successful provisions - 83 States Parties have finished destroying their stockpiles, destroying around 41.8 million antipersonnel mines total. 60 states declared no stockpiles; 5 states have not yet reported on stockpiles but are not believed to have any. - Only four of those states missed their deadlines over the past nine years: o Cape Verde and Guinea, each of which only had very small stocks; o Turkmenistan, which mistakenly believed it could retain tens of thousands of mines for training purposes; and o Afghanistan, which had to convince a regional leader to hand over a stockpile of around 1,000 mines under his control. - Both States Parties with 1 April 2008 deadlines met them just on time: Burundi destroyed its stockpile of 610 mines on 17 March, and Sudan finished destroying its last 6078 AP mines on 31 March.

The bad news:

- Three countries missed their 1 March 2008 deadline: Belarus (3.4 million remaining), Greece (1.6 million remaining), and Turkey (2.9 million remaining) - None have predicted an end date for the destruction of these large stockpiles- Belarus remaining mines are PFM mines, which contain a chemical explosive that is particularly difficult and expensive to destroy. - Turkey presented has a new high-tech weapons disposal facility but is still incapable of predicting when it can finish the destruction of its stockpile. In 2006, Turkey destroyed 94,111 mines by open detonation. - Greece has not informed other States Parties about its failure to comply with its deadline and apparently has not yet finalized a contract for their destruction. It has not destroyed any mines to date. - No State Party has yet publicly reacted to these severe treaty infractions. - Of the other States Parties with upcoming stockpile destruction deadlines: o Ethiopia (deadline of 1 June 2009) has not yet submitted its initial transparency report, due on 28 November 2005, that should have provided details about its stockpile among other critical information o Ukraine (deadline of 1 June 2010) has around 6 million PFM mines. In the spring of 2007 an EC-funded contract to destroy these mines was abruptly cancelled by the contractor. The contractor did not destroy any mines before leaving.

Countries with 2008+ Stockpile Destruction Deadlines

  Country Deadline Approximate Stockpile
1 Belarus 1/3/08 3.37 million
2 Greece 1/3/08 1.6 million
3 Turkey 1/3/08 2.87 million
4 Burundi 1/4/08 Finished 17/3/08
5 Sudan 1/4/08 Finished 31/3/08
6 Ethiopia 1/6/09 Quantity unknown – initial transparency report late
7 Ukraine 1/6/10 6.3 million
8 Indonesia 1/8/11 16,500
9 Iraq 1/2/12 Quantity unknown – initial transparency report not due yet

As of 1 April 2008 the following 83 states had completed the destruction of their antipersonnel mine stockpiles , except in some cases those retained for research and training purposes : Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, Colombia, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Gabon, Germany, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, FYR Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Yemen, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

60 States Parties have declared that they did not possess stockpiles of antipersonnel mines, except in some cases those retained for research and training purposes: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Comoros, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte D’Ivoire, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Nauru, Niger, Niue, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Qatar, Rwanda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, Timor Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vanuatu. A number of these apparently had stockpiles in the past, but used or destroyed them prior to joining the Mine Ban Treaty including Eritrea, Rwanda and Senegal.

An additional five states have not yet formally declared the presence or absence of stockpiles, but are not believed to possess any mines: Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Haiti, Kuwait and São Tomé e Principe.