PREPARING FOR THE FIRST REVIEW CONFERENCE
COMMUNICATING ELEMENTS OF PLANS
TO IMPLEMENT ARTICLE 5
State Party: Namibia
Contact name / information: Major F. Kotokeni, Landmine Focal Point, Ministry of Defence
1. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Namibia‟s mine problem emanated from two separate causes. The first were the
nine military protective minefields laid by the South African Defence Force (SADF)
in the early 1980s around military bases, and the 401 protective minefields laid by
the SADF around the power-line pylons supporting the national electrical grid. The
areas affected in this way were Kunene and the northern regions. The second was
nuisance mining conducted by UNITA rebel elements in the Kavango and Western
Caprivi Strip areas to harass the local Nambian population and to disrupt military
operations against UNITA elements.
Namibia has had an extensive mine action programme in place since 1995 to clear
all the known regular minefields. This programme has been well supported by the
US Government and has been highly successful. Under Phase 1 of this
programme, the nine military protective minefields were cleared between 1995 and
1998. The 401 minefields protecting the power-line pylons were cleared between
1998 and 2001. The US commercial firm, RONCO, provided post clearance quality
assurance using mine detection dogs. All known minefields were declared free from
mines in February 2001. People now live in these cleared areas.
Clearance of the nuisance mines laid by UNITA elements has been more
problematic. It is assessed that most have been cleared but that there may still be a
small residual problem in certain areas, despite the best efforts of the Namibian
Defence Force to investigate, assess, survey and clear all reported incidents and
concerns. There is also still a UXO problem. A national awareness campaign has
significantly lowered the casualties caused by UXO to a minimal level. The
Namibian Police Force sponsors the campaign to manage the UXO problem.
It is assessed that the mine problem in Namibia has been successfully resolved.
Those isolated mines that may still be present will be treated in the same manner as
UXO when found.
What is the impact of the problem on local communities from a human risk and socio-
economic point of view?
There is a very minimal impact in communities from a human risk and socio-
economic point of view. Areas still affected are Kavango and Western Caprivi.
There is confusion nationally and internationally between accidents arising from
mines and those arising from UXO. It is the assessment of the Namibian Defence
Force that the small number of casualties over the last two years has been mainly
as a result of UXO and not mines. One mine incident took place in an area deemed
to have been cleared of mines. A second clearance of the area determined that
there were no more mines present.
Prior to this, there were a small number of casualties in those areas targeted by
UNITA elements. Each incident was investigated and resolved in terms of the land
cleared and survivors treated and assisted.
What is the impact of the problem from a national development point of view?
Two areas of mine action still need to be followed through in terms of national
development. The first is continuing the identification, clearance and mine risk
education programme of „don‟t touch it, report it” in areas where UXO remain a
threat. The second is victim assistance. The Namibian Government provides victim
assistance through the normal health system in terms of prostheses, physiotherapy
services, psychological support and socioeconomic reintegration, as well as
providing monthly pensions and other assistance to landmine survivors.
International assistance could be requested to support landmine survivor specific
programmes for prosthetic limb replacement and additional socioeconomic
To what extent must mines be cleared (e.g., border minefields, minefields surrounding
military installations or infrastructure) in the context of the Convention’s prohibitions of the
use of anti-personnel mines?
Namibia has fully complied with the Convention. With the assistance of the US
Government, the Namibian Defence Force has cleared all known and recorded
minefields around the former SADF bases and the power-line pylons. This land has
been declared mine free. This clearance work resulted in the detection and
1388 R2M2 and J69 anti-personnel mines around the former SADF bases
over 4000 R2M2 and J69 anti-personnel mines from around the power-line
some 1500+ UXO
This work was completed without a single casualty amongst the deminers. The US
commercial demining company, RONCO, conducted quality assurance using mine
In 1998, in accordance with the Convention, Namibia destroyed its stock of 31,856
anti-personnel mines held by the NDF.
How has your State responded to date with respect to the situation it faces?
Namibia has implemented a thorough and successful mine action programme in
response to the mine and UXO threat in Namibia:
Namibia was among the first group of nations to sign and ratify the Ottawa
In 1992, Cabinet tasked:
o NDF to clear all known existing minefields in the country.
o Nambian Police with the responsibility for UXO.
The National Liaison Demining Committee was formed to coordinate the
national mine action effort. This committee consisted of the Ministry of
Defence, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Information and
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting developed and implemented a
Namibia Mine Awareness Campaign to follow on from the Ministry of Home
Affairs campaign in 1990
The US Government has been a key supporter of the Namibian mine action
programme since 1995.
All known minefields have been cleared and the land deemed mine free.
Some examples of success are:
o Oshikango where a town has been developed on the site of a former
o Ohanghwena, where a police station has been built on the site of a
former SADF minefield.
o The township of Utapi has expanded and grown into the area that was
formerly an SADF minefield.
Nuisance mines laid by UNITA have been cleared when discovered.
A national mine risk education programme of “Don‟t Touch It, Report It” (to
the Police) was established.
All landmine survivors and victims have been treated and rehabilitated under
the national health system.
Namibia has been an active member of the regional forum for mine action,
the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Mine Action
Committee. This committee has met ten times between 1997 and 2003.
Consultation with the Zambian Mine Action Centre to address common mine
problems along the Namibia-Zambia border.
Consultation with Angola to address common mine problems along the
Destruction of 31,856 anti-personnel mines from NDF stocks with a small
number retained for training purposes in accordance with the Convention.
Mine risk education programmes run by ICRC amongst the Angolan refugees
being repatriated to their homelands under UNHCR sponsorship.
Namibia submitted its Article 7 report on 22 June 2004 through the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs to UN New York.
The Namibian Police Force‟s Chief Inspector of Explosives continues to
sponsor the identification and clearance of UXO using national resources and
donor assistance where made available.
Namibia continues to be safe at the community and national level from the negative
humanitarian and economic effects of landmines by eliminating mine/UXO accidents
and by ensuring that socio-economic development activities are not impeded by the
presence of landmines/UXO.
3. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES 2005-2009
Objective 1: Identification of mined areas
Identify if there are any remaining areas of concern through a rapid survey in
Maintain a national response capability to investigate any areas where mines
are suspected to be present or reported to be present. This response
capability will also be able to react to UXO in a similar manner.
Continue with UXO identification and clearance.
Objective 2: Protecting civilians from access to mined areas or areas of suspected of being
If any new areas of mine or potential mine contamination are identified, Namibian
authorities will implement protection measures for the local community in
accordance with procedures that have been in practice for the last 14 years.
Authorities will conduct an information campaign to inform the local populace while
conducting detection and clearance operations.
Objective 3: Mine Risk Education
Namibia supports the efforts of ICRC in the provision of mine risk education to
Angolan refugees being repatriated to their homelands. ICRC are sponsoring and
funding this programme as part of the UNHCR sponsored repatriation process.
There are 11,000 Angolan refugees in Namibia and it is planned that they will be
repatriated by 2005.
Namibia will also continue to sponsor its own mine and UXO awareness campaign.
Objective 4: Victim Assistance
Namibia will continue to provide victim assistance to landmine survivors as part of
the national health system.
4. IMPLEMENTATION MECHANISMS
Namibia chose not to follow the international norm of a National Mine Action
Authority and a National Mine Action Centre. Cabinet tasked extant government
departments with responsibilities according to their specialties:
NDF to clear all known minefields.
Nambian Police with the responsibility for UXO.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to develop and implement a
Namibia Mine Awareness Campaign.
Victim assistance to be provided through the national health system.
The National Demining Liaison Committee was later established to coordinate the
government response to the landmine problem in Namibia and to link mine action to
national development. The Committee was chaired by the Minister of Defence.
The National Demining Liaison Committee met on a regular basis. The Committee
has now ceased to meet as the mine problem in Namibia has been resolved to the
extent where such a national focus is no longer required.
The NDF continue to maintain a Landmine Focal Point who reports to the
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence.
The Namibian Police Force has established seven Regional Coordination Centres to
aid in the resolution of the UXO problem.
Namibia will continue to participate in the SADC mine action committee.
5. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN 2005-2009
Strategic Objectives 1 and 2 will be managed internally from within the resources of
the Government of Namibia and require no further reporting.
Strategic Objective 3 will be managed by the ICRC for mine risk education for the
refugees and requires no further reporting here. UXO/mine awareness targeted at
Namibia citizens will be managed internally from within the resources of the
Government of Namibia and requires no further reporting here.
Strategic Objective 4 will be implemented by the Ministry of Health under the
auspices of the national health system. If donor assistance is required, then the
Ministry of Health will sponsor this requirement.