Angola

Angola destroys antipersonnel landmine stocks by 1 Jan 2007 deadline

Author(s): Tamar Gabelnick

On 28 December 2006, Angola marked in a public ceremony the destruction and demilitarization of its known stock of antipersonnel landmines, thus meeting its 1 January 2007 deadline under Article 4 of the Mine Ban Treaty.

On 28 December 2006, Angola marked in a public ceremony the destruction and demilitarization of its known stock of antipersonnel landmines, thus meeting its 1 January 2007 deadline under Article 4 of the Mine Ban Treaty. During the 2005-2006 phase of the stockpile destruction program, 83,557 antipersonnel mines were located. Of this total, 10,866 were demolished; 70,179 were demilitarized and the plastic and metal parts recycled; and 2,512 will be kept for training purposes under Article 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty. The Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) had destroyed 1,320 OZM 4 mines in 2003-2004.

The achievement is especially notable considering that Angola had previously stated that it did not believe it could meet its deadline. Angola had twice asked other States Parties for an "extension," though the treaty does not allow for extensions for stockpile destruction.

Additionally, over 30,000 antipersonnel mines were discovered since the spring of 2006 when Angola submitted its most recent Article 7 transparency report. That report, which covered the period through March 2006, listed a total of 50,659 antipersonnel mines in stocks. By working diligently through the end of December, Angola ensured that it would be in compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty by destroying all known stockpiles, not just those listed in the Article 7 report. The ICBL congratulates Angola and its implementing partners on this accomplishment.

The Stockpile Destruction program cost 1,765,000 Euros, and was funded by the European Commission (1,500,000 Euros), the government of Angola (170,000 Euros), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (95,000 Euros). It was managed by the NationalIntersectoral Commission for Demining and Humanitarian Assistance for Mine Victims (CNIDAH) in cooperation with the FAA, the National Demining Institute (INAD), and the UNDP.

During the public ceremony, Angola pledged to continue looking for stockpiled antipersonnel mines, especially in heavily mined areas, and to report these on future Article 7 reports. States Parties are obliged to report on and destroy as soon as possible any AP mines found in territory under its jurisdiction or control, even after the official stockpile destruction program ends.