U.N. Announces Nepal Is Minefield-free

On 14 June 2011, the U.N. declared Nepal to be minefield-free. Nepalese troops cleared the last of the 53 minefields remaining from Nepal’s 10-year civil conflict (1996–2006). According to U.N. official Robert Piper, the minefield in Phulchoki was last to be demined; however, there are still areas in Nepal in which improvised explosive devices may be found. Since 2006, mines in Nepal have been responsible for 473 casualties and 78 fatalities. After clearing the minefields, the government and military is expected to focus on demobilizing around 19,000 former Maoist soldiers.

Since April 2007, the United Nations Mine Action Service, in coordination with UNICEF, has provided mine-action support to Nepal to clear all minefields and meet obligations under the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The CPAended years of conflict, but differences among members of Nepal’s three main political parties has stagnated success in drafting the new constitution in the past five years, leading to some political tensions and protests. The success of clearing Nepal’s last minefield is significant not only due to this political stalemate, but also because Nepal is not a signatory to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction. It therefore has no international legal obligations to clear its minefields.J

~ Shivani Bhatt, CISR Staff

Center for International Stabilization and Recovery
James Madison University
800 S. Main St. MSC 4902
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
cisr(at)jmu.edu
http://cisr.jmu.edu

Endnotes

  1. “Nepal declared free of mines five years after civil war”, 14 June 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13760249. Accessed 14 June 2011.
  2. “Nepal’s political deadlock reaches crisis point”, 26 May 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13563727. Accessed 14 June 2011.
  3. “Nepal army clears last landmine”, 14 June 2011. http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/06/14/idINIndia-57694420110614?feedType=RSS&feedName=southAsiaNews. Accessed 14 June 2011
  4. “UN Declares Nepal mine-field free”, UNMAS, 15 July 2011. http://www.mineaction.org/overview.asp?o=3968&rand=0.9609796&status_flag=L.