Humanitarian Disarmament in Lebanon
Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) became actively involved in Lebanon following the Israeli invasion in 1982. NPA initiated its work with emergency relief, physical rehabilitation and, vocational training.
Lebanon is contaminated by mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), and most significantly cluster munitions, after fifteen years of civil war and two Israeli invasions and occupations in 1982 and 2006. The contamination is spread throughout the country, but the southern districts of Lebanon have seen the heaviest contamination due to the Israeli Forces extensive use of cluster munitions in 2006, and use of mines supporting Israeli positions during the occupations, especially along the Blue Line near the southern border. It is estimated that South Lebanon was bombed with up to four million cluster sub-munitions in 2006, which of more than one million failed to explode, preventing people to use their land safely. It is estimated that more than 55 million square kilometers of land were contaminated in South Lebanon after this aggression.
The northeast of Lebanon was occupied by Jabhat Al-Nusra, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other non-state armed groups from 2014 until 2017, as a spillover from the Syrian civil war. The area was subsequently recaptured by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in 2017 and was found to contain a large number of improvised landmines, and other Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), as well as other ERW caused by the fighting between security forces and non-state actors.
NPA Humanitarian Disarmament in Lebanon
NPA Humanitarian Disarmament programme has been working in South Lebanon, clearing the land contaminated with cluster munitions since 2006. Then in 2017, NPA started mine clearance along the Blue Line. Since 2018, NPA, in partnership with Mines Advisory Group (MAG), is mapping out the contamination to clear contaminated land.
Convention on Cluster Munitions: state party; clearance deadline: 2020
Mine-Ban Treaty: not a state party
Currently, NPA operates with a number of Multi-Task Teams (MTT) in south and northeast Lebanon, supported by Technical Survey (TS) teams composed of searchers and Explosive Detection Dogs (EDD). NPA also assists Lebanon Mine Action Centre (LMAC) in manual clearance methods, as well as mine risk education.
NPA’s Humanitarian Disarmament programme has released thousands of square metres of land for safe use and destroyed over 10,000 cluster munitions since 2006 and 6,000 Anti-Personnel (AP) mines since 2017.
NPA supports Lebanon in fulfilling its obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions via direct advocacy work and through other stakeholders such as Norway’s Embassy in Lebanon and NPA's Mine Action Review project. In parallel, NPA is also advocating for Lebanon to become a state party to the Mine-Ban Treaty.
In addition to the Humanitarian Disarmament project, NPA has a Young Empowerment programme, Aid and Emergency programme and a Human rights programme.
There are almost 4000 recorded accidents and 900 victims of landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of war in Lebanon according tothe Landmine Monitor.
NPA Mine Action started its BAC program in Lebanon in September 2006 aiming at assisting local authorities in eliminating the risk of injury and death from unexploded cluster munitions threatening south Lebanese communities, as well as enabling communities to restore their livelihoods.
In 2017, NPA started mine clearance along the Blue Line in South Lebanon and in 2018, NPA extended its activities to northeast Lebanon to clear IEDs and other ERW following Al Nusra and ISIS/ISIL occupation in the region.
Norwegian People’s Aid started its work in solidarity with the Palestinian refugees in Shatila refugee camp and the surrounding Sabra area after the Israeli invasion in 1982.