An OAS Update
The Organization of
American States (OAS) Mine Action Program works extensively in Central
America. Over the past year, a number of activities have been
conducted, including the organization’s expansion to parts of South
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OAS Mine Action Program, known formally as the “Comprehensive Action
Against Antipersonnel Mines (AICMA),” supports a wide range of mine
action activities in six member states including Costa Rica, Ecuador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru. The Unit for the Promotion of
Democracy (UPD) of the General Secretariat provides the overall
coordination and management of the Program. Cooperation with
international entities over the past year has improved the efficiency
and effectiveness of all of the mine action programs. The following is
a brief update on AICMA’s activities and specifically in Nicaragua.
AICMA Program Activities
From September 2001 to August 2002, AICMA expanded demining activities
from Central America to include operations in Peru and Ecuador. So
far, more than 6,000 mines and 300,000 square meters of land have been
cleared. The United States and the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB)
provided military trainers to conduct demining training courses for 50
Nicaraguan Army personnel in November 2001.
Since June 2002, demining officials from Peru and Ecuador have met to
discuss the mutual cooperation of mine clearance activities along
their common border in Zarumilla Channel. Both countries are
developing plans that will be assisted by the OAS in the near future.
Last year the AICMA program raised $487,533 (U.S.) from international
donors to complete a project called the “Managua Challenge” to
complete stockpile destruction. By September 2001, Peru and Ecuador
joined Honduras as OAS member states to finalize the process before
the Third Meeting of the States Parties. Peru destroyed over 313,000
mines over a four-month period, Ecuador 154,344, and in August 2002,
Nicaragua destroyed the last of its stockpiled mines, retaining only a
limited number for training purposes.
This update focuses on two recent mine action activities in Nicaragua:
In May and June 2002 the AICMA assisted Nicaraguan authorities in a
mission to contact civilians in Nueva Segovia about the presence of
nearby landmines. As a result, 250 mines and 60 pieces of
unexploded ordnance (UXO) were identified and destroyed.
In coordination with the National Institute of Technology of
Nicaragua (INATEC), the OAS supported a training workshop for 25
victims of AP mines. The courses will last eight
months and include skills in auto mechanics, carpentry, shoemaking,
computer technology and cosmetology. The training is part of a
two-year pilot project that may be expanded, depending on its
success and continued donor participation.
*All information has
been adapted with permission from El Desminado: A publication of the
OAS Unit for the Promotion of Democracy. The publication can be
directly accessed online at
http://www.upd.oas.org/demining/enews/default_eng.htm or at
http://www.upd.oas.org/demining/enews/ for the publication in
Organization of American States
Unit for the Promotion of Democracy
1889 F Street
Washington, DC 20006