Landmine Monitor and Belarus Campaign to Ban Landmines
Since 1998 SCAF has conducted campaign to ban landmines and an annual landmine monitor research. This research results in annual publications of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) «Landmine Monitor Report: Toward a Mine-Free World» (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005). It is an effort by civil society to hold governments accountable to the obligations that they have taken on with regards to antipersonnel mines; that is done through extensive collection, analysis and distribution of information that is publicly available. In 2000 and 2003 SCAF in co-operation with the ICBL and Belarus Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense organized the international conferences to promote the total ban of this inhuman weapon in Belarus (Belarus has one of the largest stockpiles of landmines in the world). SCAF managed to promote transparency of the Belarus government on these issues. It provided the international community with the information needed for solution of this important humanitarian problem and also engaged the European Commission and other international donors in the solution of the landmine problems in Belarus. SCAF built trust between the international and Belarus stakeholders. As a result Belarus has recently acceded to the Mine Ban Convention. In this peace building and arms control activities SCAF has successfully used the strategy of «citizen diplomacy» proposed by the ICBL and strategy of «democracy corridors» developed by SCAF.
Actions on Small Arms
SCAF has also successfully used the Democracy Corridors approach in promoting transparency of the Belarus government on small arms transfers. SCAF serves as the national independent research and monitoring agency for small arms surveys in Belarus and corresponding publications by SAS, NISAT, SIPRI and IANSA.
In co-operation with the UNDP office in Minsk SCAF organized international meetings on transparency in small arms transfer that took place in Minsk. Top experts from the main Belarusian agencies involved in arms transfer issues namely National Security Council, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as representatives of the European and international community — OSCE, EC, UN, NATO, Germany, France, Italy, UK, and other EU countries participated in and contributed to the meetings.
The meetings helped elucidate issues surrounding transparency in the reporting by Belarus its small arms transfers. Clarification was partly the result of points made by several representatives of foreign countries but also by the expression of underlying concerns from the Belarusians side which may, in turn, have been supported by recent agitation from abroad regarding Belarus’ arms trade. There was considerable goodwill expressed on the Belarusian side which had, independently, led to the conclusion that there are inherent advantages to be derived from increased accessibility to information surrounding the small arms trade.
The next step in advancing through “democracy corridor” was the Regional Workshop involving Belarusian and international government and civil society stake holders organized by SCAF and its partners in Minsk. Top experts from the regional governments and representatives of the major international organizations such as SIPRI (Stockholm), Small Arms Survey (Geneva), Saferworld (UK), NISAT (Oslo) actively participated in the regional meeting and developed the standards and recommendations for the region on transparency in small arms transfers.
The initial progress made through Democracy Corridor strategy in promoting Belarus government transparency in arms transfer includes initiation of regular publications by the Belarus government of its National Reports on Arms Transfers and making it available for Belarus and international communities. Belarus is now also engaged in a project supported by the OSCE that will lead to the destruction of its surpluses of small arms.
Global Survey on ERW and MOTAPM
SCAF serves as a primary research organization for developing a chapter for the Global Survey Reports on Explosive Remnants of War and Mines Other than Anti-Personnel Mines in region 20 (Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine). This initiative is an important step in implementation of Protocol 5 of the Geneva Convention of Conventional Weapons (CCW).