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To Walk the Earth in Safety: The United States Commitment to Humanitarian Demining
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
November 2001
Report
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Albania

The Landmine Problem
The Albanian Mine Action Executive (AMAE), the Government of Albania's demining coordination agency, estimates that mines placed by Serb and Kosovar Albanian forces before and during the Kosovo conflict affect almost 1,400 hectares of land. Some 36 km in the Kuski and Hasi Districts appear to be mined within 300-400 m of the border with Kosovo, while 18 of the 24 km of Albanian border territory in the Troopja district is suspected of mine contamination. In addition, reports indicate that there are mines in the Barjam Curri District, on the border with Montenegro. Presently, there is no way to assess accurately the number of landmines in these areas. There is also an unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem, mainly as a result of the NATO bombing campaign in the spring of 1999. The Government of Albania also includes in its UXO problem about 13 "hot spots" of former military ammunition storage depots. As with the landmines, the number of UXO is unknown. Since the beginning of 1999, landmines and UXO have inflicted 225 casualties, with 21 victims dying from their wounds.

United States Assistance
The United States provides demining assistance to the Albania-Kosovo border region through the Slovenian International Trust Fund (ITF) for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance. In Fiscal Year (FY) 00, the United States provided over $1 million to the Fund for mine clearance in Albania. Demining operations commenced in early June, with commercial demining teams working on priority demining tasks assigned by AMEA. FY01 funding of $684,401 continued support for demining operations.

Accomplishments
Mine awareness programs are largely responsible for a sharp drop in landmine and UXO casualties; only 31 of the 225 casualties occurred in 2000. The commercial mine clearing company RONCO has cleared 10.6 hectares of land, destroying more than 500 mines and three UXO "hot spots."

Armenia

The Landmine Problem
The 1980-1994 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan is the primary source of Armenia's landmine problem. The Government of Armenia (GOA) estimates there are 80,000 to 100,000 mines in its soil. This number may include active minefields along the line of contact in the sparsely populated Tavush region in the northeast that are still being maintained for defensive purposes. While the GOA stressed that the most severe landmine problems are in Nagorno-Karabakh, there are also problems in the Syunik region in the southeast along the now peaceful border between Armenia and Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani territory. This region, which includes the cities of Goris and Kapan, has suffered about 40 to 50 civilian landmine-related deaths and injuries over the last six years. According to the GOA, approximately 1,800 to 2,500 sq. km of land are known, or suspected to be, mine-affected.

United States Assistance
The United States accepted Armenia into the U.S. Humanitarian Demining Program in December 2000. In Fiscal Year (FY) 01, Armenia received $3.15 million in humanitarian demining assistance from the United States. The funds helped the Government of Armenia renovate facilities, train its National Mine Action Center staff, and develop mine awareness, information management, and Level One, Two, and Three Survey capabilities.

Azerbaijan

The Landmine Problem
The 1988-1994 conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other Azerbaijani land held by Armenian troops left Azerbaijan with a landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem. The UN estimates that landmines and UXO affect 604 sq. km of liberated Azerbaijani land, representing 24 of the 65 regions in the country. Although there is no accurate estimate of the total number of landmines, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) believes that there are 50,000 mines in Nagorno-Karabakh alone. A cease-fire has essentially held since 1994, although Armenia continues to occupy 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory. The Government of Azerbaijan has decided that internally displaced persons (IDP) from Fizulu and Agdam, which Azerbaijan reclaimed shortly before the cease-fire, should return home. Many of the 800,000 IDPs have returned, but run the risk of injury, primarily from UXO. The landmine threat is secondary. Preliminary data compiled by the UN indicates that UXO and landmines have caused 7,000 casualties to soldiers and civilians since 1998.

United States Assistance
In Fiscal Year (FY) 00, Azerbaijan received $1.07 million in U.S. humanitarian demining assistance for joint demining training with Armenians in Georgia, conducting a Level One Survey, acquiring demining equipment and a team of mine detection dogs (MDD) for verification and quality assurance purposes, mine awareness training, and creating the necessary infrastructure to support the return of IDPs to their homes. The United States Department of State contributed another $1.1 million in FY01, $600,000 for extension of the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP) mine detection dog program, $250,000 for additional demining equipment, and another $250,000 to set the foundation for establishing an indigenous MDD capability within Azerbaijan's existing mine action center, (ANAMA). The U.S. Department of Defense also allocated $2.3 in FY01 for mine action activities. The United States will continue to support the Azerbaijani government in order to strengthen its national demining program.

Accomplishments
U.S. assistance has funded the training of 15 Azerbaijani deminers, and in conjunction with UNICEF, mine awareness instruction for 800 teachers, 500 medical personnel, and 200 representatives of public organizations. ANAMA is currently developing all components of mine action in order to acquire a national, sustainable capability for humanitarian demining.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

The Landmine Problem
Bosnia-Herzegovina has a very severe landmine problem, the result of the five-year civil war that broke apart Yugoslavia. Although the Bosnia-Herzegovina Mine Action Center (BHMAC) has records for 18,154 minefields, with 307,000 mines, it believes that there are approximately one million mines and an undetermined quantity of UXO contaminating an estimated 4,200 sq. km of land. Heavy concentrations of landmines are found in regions where ethnic conflict occurred. Minefields are located in the Zones of Separation (between the Federation and the Republika Srpska), the front line during the civil war. Combatants mined road systems, power plants, bridges, dams, and other components of Bosnia-Herzegovina's infrastructure. Since the end of the war in 1995, landmines have killed 318 people, including 33 deminers, and injured another 945, of whom 74 were deminers.

United States Assistance
In Fiscal Year (FY) 00, the United States provided Bosnia-Herzegovina with $5.5 million in humanitarian demining assistance through the Slovenian International Trust Fund (ITF) for Demining and Mine Victim Assistance. An additional $5.16 million was provided in FY01.

The United States has supported demining activities in Bosnia-Herzegovina since FY96. FY01 funding brought total U.S. support to approximately $45 million. The initial assistance funded the establishment of a Mine Action Center (MAC) in Sarajevo, a mine clearance training school at Brus, and three regional administration and operational centers in Banja Luka, Tuzla, and Buna, all operating under combined local and international supervision. In 1996, the United States, DC Comics, and UNICEF distributed a special-edition Superman comic book devoted to mine awareness. Also in 1996, RONCO, a commercial contractor, trained nearly 170 demobilized military personnel in demining methods and techniques, including the use of mine detection dogs. In 1997, U.S. Special Operation Forces (SOF) soldiers conducted a training program and provided necessary demining equipment for 450 military deminers from all three former warring factions. By May 1997, the United States had turned over all U.S. equipment at the civilian regional centers to the respective parties and ceased the direct management of demining operations.

In 1997, the United States Congress set aside $28 million in matching funds for humanitarian demining assistance to the Balkans, to be disbursed through the ITF. This action allowed Balkan nations to benefit from one-to-one matching of U.S. contributions to the ITF. As of June 2001, 48 donors had deposited just over $29 million in the ITF, with additional pledges outstanding. The United States matched $28 million of those contributions, and made several unilateral contributions to the ITF totaling more than $8 million. These contributions met pressing demining needs in the Balkans that had not been addressed by other donors.

In 1998, the United States provided $7 million to fund the operations of one international and three regional commercial demining companies. These companies cleared nearly three sq. km of land in that year, representing the most productive demining operation of the year. The U.S. Department of State also initiated in 1998, a research and development program to test prototypical demining equipment for possible use in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Previously, in 1997, the U.S. Department of Defense initiated the field evaluation portion of its Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program with the test of four prototype technologies in Bosnia.

Accomplishments
Bosnia-Herzegovina's mine detection dog teams, primarily funded and trained by the United States, are extremely valuable for conducting safe and cost-effective demining and mine survey operations. They have helped more than 1,200 Bosnian-Herzegovinian deminers clear 23 sq. km and survey 133 sq. km, with roughly half the surveyed land reclassified as posing no risk to civilians. In the process, they have cleared more than 36,000 landmines in the year 2000 alone.

Although the Bosnian-Herzegovinian humanitarian demining program is now at the sustainment level, the United States will continue to support Bosnia's efforts of becoming mine-safe through matching donations to the ITF.

Croatia

The Landmine Problem
Croatia has a serious landmine problem stemming from its 1991-1995 war with the Yugoslav Federation. An estimated one to 1.2 million landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) affect almost a tenth of Croatian territory. The Government of Croatia has identified minefields on 500 sq. km of its land and suspects that another 3,500 sq. km may be affected. The mine-affected areas run the length of the country, roughly paralleling the lines of confrontation between Croatian and Serbian forces during the war. From 1991 through December 2000, the Croatian Center for Demining recorded 1,320 landmine incidents, which killed 365 persons and wounded another 1,281 with many of the wounded requiring amputations. Casualty estimates also indicate that mines and UXO killed nearly 300 children and injured even more. A mine awareness program, begun in 1998, seems to be having a positive effect. There were 16 civilian mine-related incidents in 2000, causing nine deaths and 13 injuries. Another five landmine incidents during demining operations in 2000 killed three deminers and wounded five others.

United States Assistance
In Fiscal Year (FY) 01, Croatia received $2.65 million in U.S. assistance, provided through the Slovenian International Trust Fund (ITF) for Demining and Mine Victim Assistance. This allocation supported the upgrade of a prototype demining vehicle, encompassing new mini-flail technology, which is manufactured in Croatia. The prototype has the potential for use throughout the Balkans. Additional U.S. matching funds, also channeled through the ITF, paid for the clearing of agricultural land in wine-growing regions of Croatia as part of a funding partnership with U.S. winemakers.

Since 1998, the United States has provided more than $6.2 million in humanitarian demining assistance to Croatia. In 1998, the United States provided $600,000 to support the Return Assistance Program (RAP) that is designed to encourage the return of ethnic minorities and other displaced persons to their homes in the war-affected areas of Croatia. In addition, the United States donated $1 million to the ITF to match a like donation from the Government of Croatia to fund mine clearance initiatives conducted through the Croatian Mine Action Center.

Accomplishments
Since 1999, deminers, utilizing ITF and matching funds, cleared 1.6 million sq. m. of land of more than 2,600 landmines. At least 150,000 sq. m of the cleared land is now in agricultural use.

Estonia

The Landmine Problem
Although Estonia's landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem dates back to World War I, the majority of UXO on the ground today remains from World War II. While it is difficult to estimate the exact number of landmines, Estonian authorities believe the number of UXO is in the hundreds of thousands. Since 1992, the Government of Estonia has reported finding 27,426 pieces of UXO and landmines on its territory, mostly in the Narva region in the northeast, and along the Emajogi River in the east central Tatu region, where large battles occurred in 1944. In addition, a large quantity of Soviet UXO remains on former target practice ranges, including on all of Pakri Island. Landmines and UXO have killed 43 people and wounded another 90, including two fatalities and 16 injuries in 2000.

United States Assistance
In Fiscal Year (FY) 00, the U.S. allocated $998,493 to establish a training center in Tartu and to enable U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) soldiers to conduct a train-the-trainer program emphasizing UXO disposal, while also providing mine clearance assistance in coordination with Estonia's various demining agencies. In addition the SOF conducted humanitarian demining/UXO disposal training, emergency medical treatment, and communications training for the Estonian National Demining Office. Estonia received an additional $99,000 in humanitarian demining assistance in FY 01.

Since FY99, Estonia has received $1.43 million in U.S. humanitarian demining assistance. These funds have enabled the Government of Estonia to establish a National Demining Office to coordinate demining activities, develop a comprehensive mine/UXO awareness program, acquire modern demining equipment and protective clothing, and expand demining/UXO clearance operations.

Accomplishments
This year, the Government of Estonia's Self Defense Board, an organization with experience in demining and now possessing modern equipment, training, and organization, began conducting proactive rather than reactive landmine and UXO clearance operations. Since 1996, the Self Defense Board has destroyed some 27,500 pieces of UXO.

Georgia

The Landmine Problem
The landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem in Georgia stems primarily from the 1992-1994 conflict in the Abkhazia region of the country. Ongoing partisan activity in some parts of Abkhazia also contributes to the problem. According to the Government of Georgia (GOG) there are about 50,000 mines in the country's soil. The mines are predominantly located in Abkhazia in northwestern Georgia, the South Ossetia/Tskivani region in north central Georgia, the former Soviet ammunition storage facility in Osiauri in eastern Georgia, Kopitnari air base in western Georgia, Omal, Shenako, and areas near Georgia's northern border with Chechnya, and parts of the Georgia-Armenia and Georgia-Azerbaijan borders. Many of these mines are located around former Soviet and present Russian military bases. Others are in minefields adjacent to or collocated with residential, agricultural, and grazing areas, posing a serious danger to people and livestock. The GOG estimates there are approximately 1,500 UXO present, mainly in Orfilo in the Akhaltsikhe region in southern Georgia and at the former Russian military base at Vaziani, under Georgian control as of July 1, 2001. According to the GOG, mines and UXO affect approximately 220 sq. km of land. Since 1994, landmines and UXO have killed four military personnel and wounded one civilian; another two military personnel and 115 civilians were injured.

United States Assistance
The United States provided $603,714 in humanitarian demining assistance to Georgia in Fiscal Year (FY) 00 for Georgia to host a joint demining training program with Armenia and Azerbaijan. In FY01, Georgia received $1 million in U.S. assistance to fund the Hazardous Area Life-support Organization (HALO) Trust mine clearance operations in Ochamchire Province.

Accomplishments
In the fall of 2000, U.S. Special Operation Forces (SOF) trained and equipped 45 Georgian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani deminers in compliance with UN humanitarian demining standards. The training also included emergency medical treatment and communications.

Kosovo

The Landmine Problem
The Province of Kosovo has a serious landmine and unexploded ordnance problem as a result of its civil war with greater Serbia in 1999 and subsequent NATO air strikes against Serbian military and internal security forces. The UN has identified approximately 800 mine-affected areas and over 300 unexploded ordnance (UXO) sites in the interior of the Province as well as along the borders with Albania and Macedonia. According to the UN, UXO have killed 86 people and injured another 351 over the last two years.

United States Assistance
In Fiscal Year (FY) 00, Kosovo received $9.32 million in humanitarian demining assistance from the United States for clearing mines and UXO, equipping the UN's Mine Action Coordination Center, and supporting UNICEF's and nongovernmental organizations' mine awareness programs. The United States provided an additional $1.94 million in FY01.

Since FY99, the United States has provided the majority of its more than $13 million in demining assistance to Kosovo through a variety of funding sources, including the Slovenian International Trust Fund (ITF) for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance. In 1999, the United States provided nearly $2.3 million in emergency demining assistance and another $343,350 for mine awareness education for Kosovar refugees living in camps in Albania and Macedonia prior to their return to Kosovo. The United States also provided $650,000 to fund UXO clearance operations, bringing in experienced technicians from Mozambique.

Shortly after the cessation of the NATO bombing campaign in Kosovo in 1999, the U.S. Department of Defense provided Handicap International with over 100 Thiokol demining flares for evaluation as an alternative method for disposing of both landmines and unexploded submunitions. The test against cluster bomblets proved highly successful.

Accomplishments
Initial landmine and UXO clearance operations in the summer of 1999 included schools, houses, roads, agricultural areas, water pipelines, irrigation channels and power lines, and a customs post for the United Nations on the Albania-Kosovo border. These operations made life safer for the Kosovar population and helped them prepare for the harsher living conditions of winter. As of June 2001, deminers and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel had cleared 27,000 mines, 14,000 UXO and 6,273 cluster bomb submunitions. The UN's Mine Action Coordination Center claims that deminers and EOD personnel will have cleared all known minefields in Kosovo by the end of 2001.

Macedonia

The Landmine Problem
Macedonia has a small landmine problem as a result of the 1999 conflict in Yugoslavia between Serbian military and police forces and Kosovar Albanians. As a result of a conflict earlier this year between the Government and rebel forces, there likely also is a UXO problem of undetermined magnitude. There are approximately six unmarked minefields in the mountains along the border with Kosovo. Macedonian border guards fear that additional landmines may exist in the area, posing a threat not only to their patrolling activities, but also to civilians and livestock. The Serbs planted mines in this territory to block access routes and forestall possible ground attacks by NATO forces in support of the Albanian insurgents. There also appear to be a few mines at one former Serb border crossing station, approximately 100-150 m inside the Macedonian border. The length of the affected area is not known, but is not thought to be extensive.

United States Assistance
In Fiscal Year (FY) 00, the United States provided $800,000 in humanitarian demining assistance to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, through the Slovenian International Trust Fund (ITF) for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance, for mine clearance in the Macedonia-Kosovo border region. In FY01, the Department of State set aside another $1 million for deposit into the ITF to support an expanded effort in Macedonia. State Department, ITF, and Macedonian government officials jointly are developing a plan to use those funds in landmine/UXO awareness and clearance programs.

Moldova

The Landmine Problem
Moldova declared itself mine-safe in March 2001. Its landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) problems dated back to World War II. The landmine problem escalated in 1992 during a civil war between Moldovans and Transnistrians (ethnic Russians), which created the Transnistrian Separatist Region located east of the Niestr River. The Joint Control Commission (JCC) currently administers the disputed Transnister area with the Republic of Moldova, which is represented by Moldova, the Transnistrians, and Russia. The UXO problem is countrywide. About 75-80 percent of the ordnance is from World War II battles that occurred throughout the country, while the remaining ordnance is from the 1992 civil war. Mined areas are limited to the Transnister region, encompassing approximately 210 acres (85 hectares) of land.

United States Assistance
Moldova received $71,000 in U.S. humanitarian demining assistance in Fiscal Year (FY) 99 to provide the Moldovan National Army (NAM) with the modern metal detectors and personal protective equipment necessary to conduct demining operations efficiently and safely.

Accomplishments
By the fall of 2000, NAM deminers had cleared the single remaining minefield in the country, restoring 210 acres of agricultural land for use as orchards, pastureland, and firewood gathering. In March 2001, Moldova declared itself mine-safe, having destroyed more than 2,100 landmines.



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