United Kingdom

Last Updated: 14 September 2011

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Commitment to the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Convention on Cluster Munitions status

State Party

National implementation measures

Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010

Participation in Convention on Cluster Munitions meetings

Attended First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010 and intersessional meetings in Geneva in June 2011.

Key developments

Submitted initial Article 7 report in April 2011

Policy

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified on 4 May 2010, and became a State Party on 1 November 2010. 

The UK submitted its initial Article 7 report on 28 April 2011.[1] Under national implementation measures, the report lists the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010, which entered into force on 25 March 2010 and creates criminal offenses to enforce the prohibitions contained in the convention.[2] In December 2010, the government stated that it is in the process of extending the Act to all UK Overseas Territories and that, until it is formally extended, the government’s position is to “act in accordance with its prohibitions.”[3] In November 2010, the UK stated that under its Export Control Order of 2008, cluster munitions are considered in the highest category of prohibited exports.[4]

The Coalition Government that came to power after the May 2010 general elections has affirmed its commitment to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on several occasions. On 27 July 2010, Foreign Secretary William Hague described the convention as “the most significant disarmament agreement of recent years” and urged “all states not yet party to sign and ratify the convention.”[5]  In November 2010, the UK reiterated that cross-party political support for the convention remains strong and said, “It is a stated priority of our Coalition Government to work to achieve a global ban on cluster munitions.”[6]

The UK participated throughout the Oslo Process that created the convention. Its position changed just before the conclusion of the negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 to support a ban on all cluster bombs, a decision that had significant impact in influencing others’ support for the convention text.[7]

The UK has continued its active engagement with the work of the convention in 2010 and the first half of 2011. It attended the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010, where it announced a contribution of approximately £2.5 million ($4 million) for clearance of unexploded ordnance contamination, including cluster munition remnants in Lao PDR.[8] The UK participated in the convention’s first intersessional meetings in Geneva in June 2011, where it made several statements, including on universalization.

In November 2010, the UK said it “takes all opportunities to encourage universal adherance to the Convention.” It noted that in the past year “this has included lobbying most major users and producers of cluster munitions, irrespective of any bilateral or multilateral ties” and expressed its interest in collaboration with civil society in support of “well-targeted multi-country or regional initiatives.”[9] In June 2011, the UK said that it continues to use all possible opportunities, both bilateral and multilateral, to encourage universalization of the convention and said that government ministers such as Foreign Secretary Hague regularly raised universalization with states not party. The UK said that it used its 1 November 2010 entry into force “as a springboard for our diplomatic network to globally engage with states yet to join and encourage swift ratification and accession.”[10] 

In January 2011, the UK said that its universalization work in support of the convention had found little traction with major powers, such as the United States (US), Russia, India, China, and Pakistan.[11] The UK said that it had undertaken outreach on universalization to African countries at the African Union Summit.[12]

At the UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in New York in October 2010, the UK said it is committed to continuing its work to clear contaminated areas and “ensure further suffering does not occur by encouraging other States to join us.”[13]  The UK also attended a UN Special Event on the convention in October 2010.

In response to reports of Thai use of cluster munitions in its border conflict with Cambodia in February 2011, a UK Foreign Office spokesperson told media, “We are aware of the recent allegations of the use of cluster munitions by the Thai army and have raised this with the Thai authorities. That cluster munitions may have been used is of serious concern to the UK. We condemn in the strongest terms the use of cluster munitions that causes unacceptable harm to the civilian population.”[14] In a House of Commons debate regarding UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, stated that “we do not use [cluster munitions] and we do not believe that others should either.”[15]

Interpretive issues

The UK expressed its views on the interpretation and implementation of a number of key provisions in the convention during the process of preparing its national legislation, including the prohibition on foreign stockpiling, the prohibition on transit, the prohibition on investment in cluster munitions producers, and the prohibition on assistance with prohibited acts in joint military operations. A number of ministerial statements are on record clarifying the meaning of the UK’s national legislation on these issues and recognizing the positive obligations under the convention.[16] Additionally, during late 2010 several questions were raised in Parliament in response to reports in the British media based on US Department of State cables made public by Wikileaks.

Foreign stockpiling

In June 2008, immediately after the adoption of the convention, the UK stated that did not read the prohibition on foreign stockpiling as a legal requirement under the treaty, but said it would seek the removal of foreign stockpiles of cluster munitions from UK territories within the eight-year period allowed for stockpile destruction in the convention.[17] In December 2009, the government stated that the US had identified the cluster munitions on UK territory as “exceeding operational planning requirements” and that they would be “gone from the UK itself by the end of [2010]” and “gone from other UK territories, including Diego Garcia, by the end of 2013.”[18]

At the First Meeting of States Parties in November 2010, the UK announced that there were now “no foreign stockpiles of cluster munitions in the UK or on any UK territory.”[19]

Transit

In March 2010, UK parliamentarians asked if “transit” of cluster munitions through UK territory is prohibited under the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010.  The government stated that transit “would not in itself be prohibited, but a direct application would have to be made to the Secretary of State who would have to grant permission before it could happen. We would be reluctant to grant such permission.”[20]

In December 2010, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence said that under Section 8 of the UK’s legislation the Foreign Secretary may grant authorization for visiting forces of states not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “possess cluster munitions on, or transfer them through, UK territory.”[21]

In January 2011, however, a Minister of State, Lord Howell of Guildford, clarified that this provision had been used only once and that future use of the provision might be brought before parliament.  He stated that “the one exception was made very properly by the previous Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, Mr Miliband, allowing the US a temporary extension of its right to keep cluster munitions while it went through the process of getting rid of them as part of the running down of cluster munitions stores in UK territory and in the United Kingdom. That is the only exception that has ever been made. For the future, we will consider bringing to Parliament and recording any decisions that may be proposed for temporary extension, and we will do that on a case-by-case basis. I have to say that in a number of instances it could be governed and limited by security considerations.”[22]

A US Department of State cable dated 21 May 2009 and made public by Wikileaks on 1 December 2010, stated that the head of the Foreign Office's Security Policy Group, Nicolas Pickard, had “reconfirmed” to US officials that “off-shore storage” of cluster munitions “on US ships would still be permitted.” According to the cable, the UKs position was that any U.S. cluster munitions currently stored on British territory (either UK territory proper, Diego Garcia, or elsewhere) would be permitted to stay until 2013, while any new cluster munitions the USG [US Government] wanted to bring to those sites after the treaty's entry into force for the UK - either before or after 2013 - would require the temporary exception. Any movement of cluster munitions from ships at Diego Garcia to planes there, temporary transit, or use from British territory also would require the temporary exception after entry into force.”[23]

The cable quoted a UK Foreign Office official as telling US officials that:

It would be better for the USG [US government] and HMG [Her Majesty’s Government - UK] not to reach final agreement on this temporary agreement understanding until after the CCM ratification process is completed in Parliament, so that they can tell parliamentarians that they have requested the USG to remove its cluster munitions by 2013, without complicating/muddying the debate by having to indicate that this request is open to exceptions.

Foreign Secretary Hague said there was “no evidence that Parliament was misled” during the development of the national implementation legislation.[24] The Minister of State responsible for the legislation in the previous Labour Government said that “it was our complete intention that there would be no American cluster munitions on British territories anywhere in the world.”[25]

Interoperability

The convention’s Article 21 provisions on interoperability, the issue of joint military operations with states not party that use cluster munitions, are addressed in Clause 9 of the UK’s national legislation.[26] At the intersessional meetings in June 2011, the UK said that its interpretation of the Article 21 is that “notwithstanding the provisions of Article 1 [prohibition on assistance], Article 21(3) allows States Parties to participate in military operations and cooperation with nonStates Parties who may use cluster munitions. UK law and operational practice reflect this.”[27]

During the development of the UK’s implementation legislation, parliamentarians expressed concern that this clause would provide a loophole that would undermine the purpose of the convention and the UK’s legislation, which is the elimination of cluster munitions.[28]  When pushed by members of parliament to clarify just exactly what activities this clause would permit UK troops engaged in joint military operations to carry out, the government responded that UK troops “would not be allowed to request use of [cluster] munitions where the choice of munitions was within their exclusive control,” but that “they could facilitate operations where [cluster munitions] might be used by a partner.”[29]

Parliamentarians argued that there would likely be situations that, while not illegal under the Bill, would clearly be against the spirit and intention of the legislation and pressed the government on the need to develop proper guidelines and briefings for the UK military.[30] The government responded that, “States Parties have to make sure that any other state with which they are working understands the basis on which their personnel will be engaged…. We have to make sure there is clear guidance for personnel, so they know exactly what they can and cannot do. That is already in hand.”[31] A significant result of the parliamentary debates on interoperability and Clause 9 was the recognition by the government of the need to promote universal adherence to the convention.

In November 2010, the UK described the convention’s Article 21 on interoperability as “a necessary evil” until the convention is fully universalized and said it allowed for a balance between “the need to achieve immediate humanitarian gains and the need to continue to work alongside our coalition partners who are not yet in a position to join the Convention.”[32]

A US Department of State cable dated 21 May 2009 and made public on 1 December 2010, suggested that the UK government’s view of the convention was that, UK pilots embedded in U.S. units could fire cluster munitions,” but US officials conceded this would not be allowed under the UK legislation.[33]

Investment

The UK’s legislation does not explicitly include a prohibition on investment in, or the provision of financial services to, companies involved in the production of cluster munitions. However, in response to parliamentary questions, the government issued a Ministerial Statement on 7 December 2009 confirming that “under the current provisions of the Bill, which have been modelled upon the definitions and requirements of the convention, the direct financing of cluster munitions would be prohibited. The provision of funds directly contributing to the manufacture of these weapons would therefore become illegal.”[34]

In December 2009, the government stated that it would work to develop a code of conduct for business on investment:

The convention does not prohibit so-called indirect financing of cluster munitions. Indirect financing is therefore not within the scope of the Bill’s provisions. As such, it would not become illegal to provide funds generally to companies that manufacture a range of goods, including cluster munitions. However, aware of the humanitarian suffering caused by cluster munitions and the threat they pose to development in post-conflict areas, the Government are keen to see a complete end to cluster munitions. Due to the complex nature of indirect financing, there is a need for thorough consultation to consider the impact of any measures, and to ensure that we develop the most appropriate and effective measures to end direct financing. The Government intends to work with the financial sector, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties, to promote a voluntary code of conduct to prevent indirect financing, and if necessary would use their right to initiate legislation. We shall also review public investment guidelines to the same end.[35]

In January 2011, the government stated that “a working group has been set up to work out the problem of remote financing.”[36] In May 2011, a government official noted that “the [previous] policy announcement does not bind the current UK Government, which is considering the need to take further action on investment.”[37]

A May 2011 report by CMC-members IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen on global cluster munition investment listed 12 UK-based financial institutions that still invest in cluster munitions producers.[38]

Other institutions have reported to Parliament that they do not consider investment in companies producing cluster munitions to be appropriate. The Church Commissioners of the Church of England “manage an investment portfolio, held mostly in company shares and property, to produce money to support the Church of England’s work across the country.”[39]  In a statement of 15 April 2010, the fund managed by the Commissioners was reported to stand at £5.3 billion ($8 billion).[40] In response to a parliamentary question regarding the ethical investment practices of the Commissioners, Tony Baldry, Second Church Estates Commissioner and Conservative MP, stated that, “there are a number of US companies that we have made a conscious decision not to invest in because of their involvement in cluster munitions systems.”[41]

In February 2011, a movement to boycott the UK Census over its ties to US company Lockheed Martin, a cluster munition and nuclear weapon producer, spread widely in social media.[42]

Convention on Conventional Weapons

The UK is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but has not yet ratified CCW Protocol V on explosive remnants of war. The UK continued to participate in CCW deliberations on cluster munitions in 2010 and the first half of 2011.

In June 2011, the UK stated that the objective of the CCW talks on cluster munitions is, in its view, “to establish restrictions on a significant number of cluster munitions, which would have a notable humanitarian effect.” It described the desired outcome as “complementary, rather than contradictory” to the spirit of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[43]

In September 2010, the UK described the draft chair’s text under discussion as “a mixed bag” and “complicated” with “the kind of duplicity and contradiction…that will surely keep our lawyers employed for time to come.”[44] In February 2011, the UK supported a German proposal for an immediate CCW prohibition on transfers of cluster munitions, which it called a “useful contribution” and “a move in the right direction.”[45] In March 2011, the UK supported a proposal to ban cluster munitions produced before 1980, but also noted that it would also support “a rolling ban” on cluster munitions that are more than 30 years old. It also stated its preference for no transition period to be included in the chair’s draft text.[46]

In June 2011, the UK stated that it did not agree that the CCW work to create a new protocol that would allow continued use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions is “somehow contrary to the letter or spirit” of its obligations under Article 21 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions to promote the norms of the convention, encourage others to join, and actively discourage the use of cluster munitions.[47]

Use, production, and transfer

The UK used cluster munitions extensively in the past: in the Falkland Islands in 1982, in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991, in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (including Kosovo) in 1999, and in Iraq in 2003.[48]

The UK has also produced, exported, and imported cluster munitions.

The UK produced several variants the BL-755 bomb with 147 submunitions, and has also produced the L20A1 artillery projectile with 49 M85 dual purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions under license from Israel Military Industries.[49]

BL-755 cluster bombs were exported to, or otherwise ended up being possessed by, the following countries: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[50]

The UK also imported cluster munitions from the US: M483 155mm artillery projectiles; M26 rockets for Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS); M261 Multi-Purpose Submunition rockets used in the CRV-7 air-to-surface launchers; and CBU-87 cluster bombs.[51]

Stockpiling and destruction

In its Article 7 report of April 2011, the UK declared a stockpile of at least 190,828 cluster munitions containing 38,758,898 submunitions, which was withdrawn from service by 30 May 2008.[52]  As of 31 March 2011, the UK had destroyed 22,153,148 submunitions, comprising 57% of its stockpile. The UK noted that as of 31 March 2011, 67,500 cluster munitions containing 16.6 million submunitions remain to be destroyed.[53]

Cluster munitions stockpiled by the UK[54]

Cluster munition type

Submunition type (and quantity per weapon)

Quantity declared in stock as of 31 March 2011

Quantity destroyed before entry into force

Quantity of submunitions destroyed after entry into force

BL-755 bomb

No2 Mk1 (147)

-

2,393

-

IBL-755 bomb

No2 Mk1 (147)

-

4

-

RBL-755 bomb

No2 Mk1 (147)

-

1,290

-

M261 rocket

M73 (9)

-

4,571

-

M26 rocket

M77 (644)

22,350

16,320

3,234,166 M77

L20A1 projectile

M85 (49)

45,150

2,453

410,375 M85

M483 projectile

M42/M46 (88)

-

82,900

-

Total

 

67,500

109,931

3,644,541

The UK stockpile is being destroyed at locations in Germany, Italy, and Sweden. The HE M483A1 were destroyed by Esplodenti Sabino in Casalbordino, Italy. The BL-755 bombs were destroyed by Spreewerk in Lubben, Germany. The CRV-7 M73 were destroyed by the Nordic Ammunition Group (NAMMO Group) Demil Devision in Sweden. The ERBS L20A1 are being destroyed by NAMMO Buck in Pinnow, Germany. The MLRS M26 are being destroyed by Esplodenti Sabino in Italy, with subcontractors Spreewerk (Germany) and Noceto (Italy). [55]

In June 2011, the UK stated that 60% of its stockpile had been destroyed and the remainder would be destroyed by 2013.[56] 

Retention for training

In its Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 report, the UK stated that it is retaining 956 explosive submunitions of four different types for the development of countermeasures, research on rendering safe procedures, “defeat of armour” demonstrations and other projects: 576 KV-1 (from the M87 Orkan), 244 M42 (from the M483A1), 96 M46 (from the M483A1), and 40 Alpha bomblet submunitions (from the CB470).[57]

According to the report, 12 M42 explosive submunitions were consumed for these purposes as of 31 March 2011. [58]

In June 2011, the UK stated that it did not intend to retain any additional cluster munitions from its current holdings and reiterated that it would always retain what it considers the minimum number absolutely necessary.[59]

The “Starstreak” missile

Questions had been raised about the status of the “Starstreak” missile, manufactured by Thales Air Defence Limited (TADL) in the UK, in relation to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the UK’s Cluster Munition (Prohibitions) Act.  Some of the literature produced by the manufacturer asserted a utility for the weapon against ground-based targets, which would seem to contradict its exclusion from the Convention on Cluster Munitions on the basis that it has been “designed exclusively for an air defence role.”[60]

In 2010, when the UK Ministry of Defence was asked, under the Freedom of Information Act, whether it had received any information suggesting that the Starstreak has “a capability” against ground-based targets it replied: “As far as we have been able to ascertain, we have received no information suggesting that the A5 missile, known by Thales Air Defence Ltd (TADL) as Starstreak II, has a capability against ground based targets.…We have, however, seen some articles in the trade press and on the internet reporting a ground based capability. Having discussed the matter with TADL, it is our understanding that confusion may have arisen from a briefing they gave, as it covered several different systems with differing capabilities.”[61]

In May 2011, the UK Ministry of Defence provided more information on their analysis of Starstreak.

Starstreak HVM (High Velocity Missile) is manufactured by Thales Air Defence Limited.  It was designed exclusively for an air defence role to meet the UK MOD’s [Ministry of Defence’s] requirement for Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD). In accordance with Article 2.2(a) of the Convention on Cluster Munitions it is therefore not a cluster munition - for the purposes of either the Convention or the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010.  This sole air defence role is reflected in the MOD’s Concept of Employment and Concept of Use of Starstreak.


The Starstreak I HVM (High Velocity Missile) entered into service before 1998 and as such does not require a legal review unless it is subject to substantial modification. MOD trials were, however, conducted on the Starstreak I missile system in 2006 to investigate a broader utility of Starstreak in a ground to ground reversionary role, purely as a weapon of last resort, and for self defence only.  This concept of a wider utility was subsequently rejected and no additional secondary roles for Starstreak were adopted.  No other trials of Starstreak ground to ground capability have been conducted by the MOD, including on Starstreak II.


Prior to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions coming into force, Thales had marketed Starstreak as a multi-role system, but this ceased with the introduction of the Convention.  Unfortunately it takes time to redact such capability from the manufacturer’s marketing media and this has served to create an unfortunate misclassification.  Starstreak was designed initially, and exclusively, for an air defence role.  It will continue to be marketed as an air defence only system by Thales on a variety of launch platforms including the LML (Lightweight Multiple Launcher) and the MMS (Multi-Mission System).
[62]

Cluster Munition Remnants

In its Article 7 report, the UK states that “there are no UK areas contaminated by cluster munitions or explosive sub-munitions.”[63] However, there is a small residual threat from cluster munition remnants on the Falklands Islands as a result of use of BL-755 cluster bombs by the UK during the 1982 armed conflict. Clearance operations by the UK in 2009–2010 across four areas encountered and destroyed two unexploded submunitions.[64]

In February 2009, in a letter to Landmine Action, the Ministry of Defence stated the following:

According to historical records either 106 or 107 Cluster Bomb Units (CBU) were dropped by British Harriers and Sea Harriers during the conflict. Each CBU contains 147 BL-755 submunitions and using the higher CBU figure (107), a total of 15,729 sub-munitions were dropped. Using a 6.4% failure rate assessed during in-service surveillance over 15 years, we would estimate that 1,006 would not explode. Given that 1,378 BL-755s were cleared in the first year after the conflict and that a further 120 have been found and disposed of since (totalling 1,498), clearly there was a slightly higher failure rate. Even if the rate had been closer to 10% and 1,573 had failed, we can only estimate that some 70 remain but that due to the very soft nature of the peat found on the islands, many of these will have been buried well below the surface. We believe that the majority of those remaining are now contained within existing minefields and these will be cleared in due course.[65]

Compliance with Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Under Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the UK is required to destroy all cluster munition remnants in areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible but not later than 1 November 2020.

In Article 7 report, the UK declared no areas under its jurisdiction or control that contained cluster munition remnants.[66] One BL-755 unexploded submunition was found and destroyed by clearance operations in December 2009.[67] A second submunition was found during clearance operations in 2010.[68] According to information provided by the Ministry of Defence in 2009, no unexploded submunitions were cleared in 2008, but an unexploded BL755 submunition was destroyed in November 2007.[69]

 



[1] The initial report is for the period ending 31 March 2011.

[2] House of Lords, Hansard (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, HMSO, 25 March 2010), Column 1057, www.publications.parliament.uk; and “Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010, 2010 Chapter 11,” www.opsi.gov.uk. A person guilty of an offense under this section is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, or a fine, or both. For analysis of the legislation, see ICBL, Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), pp. 109–111.

[3] Statement by Lord Howell of Guildford, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), House of Lords Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 13 December 2010), Column 110WUK officials had previously stated that US cluster munitions would be removed from the UK itself by the end of 2010 and from other UK territories, including Diego Garcia, by the end of 2013. See statement by Baroness Glenys Kinnock, House of Lords Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 8 December 2009), Column 1020; and statement by Chris Bryant, House of Commons Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 17 March 2010), Column 925, www.publications.parliament.uk.

[4] Statement of the UK, First Meeting of States Parties, Convention on Cluster Munitions, Vientiane, 12 November 2010. Notes by the CMC.

[5] House of Commons, Hansard, (London: Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Written answers and statements, 27 July 2010), Column 972W.

[6] Statement of UK, First Meeting of States Parties, Convention on Cluster Munitions, Vientiane, 9 November 2010.

[7] Statement by Gordon Brown, Prime Minister, “Breakthrough on cluster bombs draws closer,” 28 May 2008. For more details on the UK’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 173–180.

[8] Statement of UK, First Meeting of States Parties, Convention on Cluster Munitions, Vientiane, 9 November 2010. Average exchange rate for 2010: £1=US$1.5452. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 6 January 2011.

[9] Speech of UK, First Meeting of States Parties, Convention on Cluster Munitions, 9 November 2010.

[10] Statement of the UK, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meeting, Session on Universalization, Geneva, 27 June 2011.

[11] Statement by Lord Howell of Guildford, House of Lords Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 31 January 2011), Column 1185.

[12] Statement of UK, First Meeting of States Parties, Convention on Cluster Munitions, Vientiane, 9 November 2010.

[13] Statement by Amb. John Duncan, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 19 October 2010.

[14] Andrew Spooner, “UK Government condemns Thai use of cluster munitions,” Asian Correspondent, 13 April 2011, asiancorrespondent.com.

[15] House of Commons Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 18 March 2011), Column 626, www.publications.parliament.uk.

[16] See ICBL, Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), pp. 109–111.

[17] Statement by Lord George Mark Malloch-Brown, Minister of State, FCO, House of Lords Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 3 June 2008), Column 79.

[18] Statement by Baroness Glenys Kinnock, House of Lords Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 8 December 2009), Column 1020; and statement by Chris Bryant, House of Commons Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 17 March 2010), Column 925.

[19] Statement of UK, First Meeting of States Parties, Convention on Cluster Munitions, Vientiane, 10 November 2011.

[20] Statement by Chris Bryant, House of Commons Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 17 March 2010), Column 925.

[21] Statement by Lord Astor of Hever, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Defence, Conservative, House of Lords Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 21 December 2010), Column 278W.

[22] Statement by Lord Howell of Guildford, FCO, Conservative, House of Lords Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 31 January 2011), Column 1186, www.theyworkforyou.com. See also, House of Commons Debate, Hansard, 9 December 2010, c427W, Secretary of State, Defence, Liam Fox: “Neither I nor any other Secretary of State in this Government has issued any authorisation under Article 8 of the Act. Article 8 does not require such requests to be scrutinised by Parliament. However, in the event of a future request, we would consider on a case-by-case basis how best we can keep Parliament informed within the constraints of classification and operational planning.”

[23] “UK CLUSTER MUNITIONS DIALOGUE,”  US Department of State cable 052368 dated 21 May 2009, released by Wikileaks on 1 December 2010, www.guardian.co.uk.

[24] House of Commons Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 14 December 2010), Column 814.

[25] House of Commons Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 15 December 2010), Column 913. In June 2008, Minister of State for the FCO, Lord Malloch-Brown, stated that although the UK did not read the prohibition on foreign stockpiling as a legal requirement under the treaty, it would seek the removal of foreign stockpiles of cluster munitions from UK territories within the eight-year period allowed for stockpile destruction in the convention. The government later told parliamentarians that the US had identified the cluster munitions on UK territory as “exceeding operational planning requirements” and that they would be “gone from the UK itself by the end of [2010]” and “gone from other UK territories, including Diego Garcia, by the end of 2013.” Statement by Lord George Mark Malloch-Brown, Minister of State, FCO, House of Lords Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 3 June 2008), Column 79; statement by Baroness Glenys Kinnock, House of Lords Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 8 December 2009), Column 1020; and statement by Chris Bryant, House of Commons Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 17 March 2010), Column 925.

[26] The clause states: “It is a defence for a person charged with an offence specified in any of  paragraphs 1 to 6 of Schedule 2 [the prohibitions of the convention] to show that the person’s conduct took place in the course of, or for the purposes of, an international military operation or an international military co-operation activity.” Members in the House of Commons went to great lengths to seek clarification on the scope of this clause.

[27] Statement of the UK, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meeting, Session on Other Implementation Measures, Geneva, 30 June 2011, www.clusterconvention.org.

[28] See for example, statement by William Cash, House of Commons Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 23 March 2010), Column 160; statement by Jo Swinson, House of Commons Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 17 March 2010), Column 906; and statements by John Redwood and William Cash, House of Commons Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 17 March 2010), Columns 902–903.

[29] Statements by John Redwood and Chris Bryant, House of Commons Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 23 March 2010), Column 162.

[30] Statement by John Redwood, House of Commons Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 23 March 2010), Column 163.

[31] House of Commons Debate, Hansard (London: HMSO, 23 March 2010), Columns 161–164.

[32] Statement of UK, First Meeting of States Parties, Convention on Cluster Munitions, Vientiane, 9 November 2010.

[33] “UK CLUSTER MUNITIONS DIALOGUE,”  US Department of State cable 052368 dated 21 May 2009, released by Wikileaks on 1 December 2010, www.guardian.co.uk.

[34] Statement by Chris Bryant, House of Commons Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 7 December 2009), Column 2WS, www.publications.parliament.uk.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Statement by Lord Howell of Guildford, House of Lords Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 31 January 2011), Column 1185.

[37] Comment by Michael Clark at a meeting between Article 36 and UK FCO and Ministry of Defence officials, 26 May 2011.

[38] IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen, “Worldwide investments in cluster munitions – a shared responsibility.” Utrecht, May 2011, www.ikvpaxchristi.nl. See also “UK government should stop banks financing cluster bombs,” 25 May 2011, Article36.org.

[39] “The Church Commissioners,” website of the Church of England, www.churchofengland.org.

[40]“Church Commissioners’ results confirm long-term growth,” website of the Church of England, 15 April 2011, www.churchofengland.org. Average exchange rate for 2010: £1=US$1.5452. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 6 January 2011.

[41] House of Commons Debate, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 26 October 2010), Column 164.

[42] “Boycott the UK census over links to Lockheed Martin, protestors say,” The Guardian, 19 February 2011, www.guardian.co.uk. Lockheed Martin was awarded a £150 million ($232 million) contract to run the census on the UK government’s behalf. Protestors stated they were willing to pay the £1,000 ($1,545) fine for failing to submit the census in protest of the arrangement. Average exchange rate for 2010: £1=US$1.5452. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 6 January 2011.

[43] Statement of the UK, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meeting, Geneva, 30 June 2011.

[44] Statement of the UK, CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 3 September 2010. Notes by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).

[45] Statement of the UK, CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 21 February 2011. Notes by AOAV.

[46] Statement of the UK, CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 28 March 2011. Notes by AOAV.

[47] Statement of the UK, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meeting, Session on Other Implementation Measures, Geneva, 30 June 2011, www.clusterconvention.org.

[48] Human Rights Watch, “Ticking Time Bombs: NATO’s Use of Cluster Munitions in Yugoslavia,” vol. 11, no. 6(D), June 1999; Human Rights Watch, “Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign,” vol. 12, no. 1(D), February 2000; and Human Rights Watch, Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2003), www.hrw.org. 

[49] Adam Ingram, Written Answers, House of Commons, Hansard, (London: HMSO, 17 November 2003), Columns 497W and 498W.

[50] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), pp. 468–470; Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2007–2008, CD-edition, (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008), entries for: Iran, 10 January 2008; Italy, 10 January 2008; Netherlands, 10 January 2008; Oman, 10 January 2008; Pakistan, 10 January 2008; Saudi Arabia, 3 December 2007; Thailand, 10 January 2008; and United Arab Emirates, 10 January 2008; and Landmine Action, Explosive remnants of war: unexploded ordnance and post-conflict communities (London: Landmine Action, 2002), www.landmineaction.org. Croatia, Germany, Montenegro, and Portugal declared stockpiles of BL-755 bombs, or the destruction thereof, in their Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 reports submitted in January 2011. BiH disclosed stockpiling BL-755 in a statement to the intersessional meeting on stockpile destruction held in Geneva in June 2011.

[51] The US supplied the UK with 1,008 CBU-87 cluster bombs at some point between 1970 and 1995, but they do not appear to be in service any longer. US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Department of Defense, “Cluster Bomb Exports under FMS, FY1970–FY1995,” obtained by Human Rights Watch in a Freedom of Information Act request, 28 November 1995. The NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) reported in June 2009 that it contracted the destruction 600 CBU-87 bombs for the UK. See, presentation by Peter Courtney-Green, Chief of the Ammunition Support Branch, NAMSA, “Technical Aspects of Cluster Munitions Stockpile Destruction,” Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions, 25 June 2009, Slide 15.

[52] In the first line of the narrative total on Form B, of the Article 7 Report, the UK states: “The UK withdrew all of its 191,128 (38,758,898 submunitions),” but the total stockpile listed in the report is 190,828 cluster munitions: 109,931 destroyed, plus 67,500 remaining. The difference between these two total stockpile figures is 300. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 28 April 2011. UK representatives have acknowledged errors in the figures included in the initial transparency report and informed Human Rights Watch that a corrected report will be issued. For example, the total number of cluster munitions destroyed prior to entry into force was incorrectly reported as 96,513, but the correct total is 109,931. The quantity of M26 rockets was incorrectly listed on Form B.2.2, the correct number is 16,320. The quantities of M26 and L20A1 destroyed after entry into force were omitted on Form B.3.a, and the correct entries should read 5,022 M26 rockets and 8,372 L20A1 projectiles. Interview with UK delegation, CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 23 August 2011.

[53] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 28 April 2011.

[54] Ibid. This table includes corrected information provided by the UK in August 2011. Interview with UK delegation, CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 23 August 2011.

[55] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B – PART II, 28 April 2011.

[56] Statement of the UK, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meeting, Session on Universalization, Geneva, 27 June 2011.

[57] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 28 April 2011.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Statement of the UK, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meeting, Geneva, 27 June 2011.

[60] See Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada: October 2010), Report on the UK, p. 113.

[61] Letter to Richard Moyes, Policy and Research Director, AOAV, from the Ministry of Defence no. 29-01-2010-152831-002, 29 March 2010.

[62] Letter to Richard Moyes from Karen Webb, Defence Equipment and Support, Policy Secretariat Weapons 4 May 2011, Ministry of Defence, Ref: 04-03-2011-130922-005

[63] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, 28 April 2011, p.19.

[64] Statement of UK, Mine Ban Treaty Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 1 December 2010.

[65] Letter from Lt.-Col. Scott Malina-Derben, Ministry of Defence, 6 February 2009.

[66] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form F, 31 March 2011.

[67] Email from Kathryn Lindsay, Policy Officer, FCO, 3 March 2010.

[68] Statement of the UK to the Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, 22 June 2010.

[69] Letter from Lt.-Col. Scott Malina-Derben, Ministry of Defence, 6 February 2009.


Last Updated: 21 September 2011

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

Mines

The United Kingdom (UK) is affected by antipersonnel mines by virtue of its control and assertion of full sovereignty over the Falkland Islands/Malvinas,[1] which were contaminated during the armed conflict between the UK and Argentina in 1982. The conflict resulted in many thousands of antipersonnel and antivehicle mines being laid on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas, most by Argentina. It is believed that 113 mined areas remain to be released, covering a total area of some 13km2, which contain approximately 19,000 mines.[2] This includes suspected hazardous areas (SHAs) measuring some 5.5km2.[3]

No human casualties from mines or UXO have been reported in the Falkland Islands/Malvinas since 1984. The UK has reported that six military personnel were injured in 1982 and a further two injured in 1983. Most military accidents took place while clearing the minefields in the immediate aftermath of the 1982 conflict or in the process of trying to establish the extent of the minefield perimeters, particularly where no detailed records existed.

No civilian mine casualties have ever occurred on the islands.[4] Over the years, however, there have been numerous instances where civilians have deliberately or inadvertently entered a minefield. The Ministry of Defence has reported “infringement” of minefields by a total of six locals and 15 foreign fishermen or tourists between March 2000 and December 2008.[5] On 6 December 2008, three crew members of a Belgian yacht inadvertently entered a minefield at Kidney Cove on East Falklands but were not injured. In October 2002, a Falkland Islander was fined £1,000 (then US$1,503) for entering a minefield on Goose Green.[6] It is a criminal offense on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas to enter a minefield.

The socio-economic impact of contamination in the Falkland Islands/Malvinas is said to be minimal. All mined and suspected hazardous areas are reported to have been “perimeter-marked and are regularly monitored and protected by quality stock proof fencing, to ensure the effective exclusion of civilians.”[7] According to the UK, the 13km2 of SHA represent “only 0.1% of land used for farming. The mined areas cover a wide range of terrain including sandy beaches and dunes, mountains, rock screes, dry peat, wet swampy peat, and pasture land.”[8] A number of instances of cattle, sheep, or horses entering the minefields have been recorded since 2000, some of which resulted in the animal’s deaths.[9]

Cluster munition remnants

There are an unknown number of cluster munition remnants on the Falklands Islands/Malvinas as a result of use of BL755 cluster bombs by the UK against Argentine positions during the 1982 armed conflict.

In February 2009, in a letter to Landmine Action, the Ministry of Defence stated the following: “According to historical records either 106 or 107 Cluster Bomb Units (CBU) were dropped by British Harriers and Sea Harriers during the conflict. Each CBU contains 147 BL755 submunitions and using the higher CBU figure (107), a total of 15,729 sub-munitions were dropped. Using a 6.4% failure rate assessed during in-service surveillance over 15 years, we would estimate that 1,006 would not explode. Given that 1,378 BL 755s were cleared in the first year after the conflict and that a further 120 have been found and disposed of since (totaling 1,498), clearly there was a slightly higher failure rate. Even if the rate had been closer to 10% and 1,573 had failed, we can only estimate that some 70 remain but that due to the very soft nature of the peat found on the islands, many of these will have been buried well below the surface. We believe that the majority of those remaining are now contained within existing minefields and these will be cleared in due course.”[10]

Clearance operations in 2009–2010 (see Battle area clearance in 2010 section below) across four mined areas encountered and destroyed two submunitions.[11]

Other explosive remnants of war

The precise extent of other explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas is not known, though a number of UXO are believed to remain to be cleared. Clearance operations in 2009–2010 across four mined areas encountered and destroyed 11 ERW, including the two unexploded submunitions.[12] The UK has also noted the presence of booby-traps on the islands.[13]

Mine Action Program

Key institutions and operators

Body

Situation on 1 January 2011

National Mine Action Authority

NMAA

Mine action center

Falkland Islands DPO

National demining operator

None. One commercial company, BACTEC, departed in 2010 upon completion of its clearance contract.

A National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) composed of both the UK and the Falkland Islands governments was established in 2009 to oversee clearance of mined areas on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas.[14] The Ninth Meeting of States Parties noted the UK’s undertaking to provide regular reports on the establishment of an NMAA “and other implementation bodies.”[15]

In May 2009, the UK issued a request to tender for the Falkland Islands Demining Programme Office (DPO). The role of the DPO is to execute the policies of the NMAA and to coordinate mine action activities on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas.[16] In August 2009, the contract to establish the DPO was awarded to Colin King Associates,[17] which subsequently set up the Office at Tenacres, south of Stanley.[18]

In mid-October 2009, it was announced that BACTEC International Limited had been awarded the contract to clear four sites at Fox Bay (East), Goose Green, Sapper Hill, and Surf Bay (near the airport).[19] Operations were initiated at the beginning of December 2009.[20]

Land Release

The first formal clearance operations since the UK became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty in 1999 took place at the end of 2009. Four sites were chosen for the first phase of operations, with work starting on two of them during December 2009. On 4 December, clearance work started at Surf Bay (site no. SA-008). On 11 December, work started at Sapper Hill (site no. SA-025). On 11 December, work also started on a battle area clearance (BAC) task adjacent to the Sapper Hill demining area. Technical assessments of the two remaining sites at Goose Green and Fox Bay took place in early 2010.[21] The Sapper Hill site was cleared on 25 March 2010.[22]

BACTEC’s mine clearance operations were undertaken by 36 Zimbabwean personnel under the management of two ex-Royal Engineers: a project manager and an operations manager. Both had previously served on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas on bomb and mine clearance projects.[23] There were also 15 Lebanese BAC personnel used for clearance of former battle areas.[24]

Operations used wholly manual techniques with a combination of full excavation (against the P4B antipersonnel mines which are almost undetectable using metal detectors) and a layered search technique against the SB33 and SB81 mines. A mechanical unit was deployed to the Surf Bay site to accelerate clearance in sandy areas.[25]

Mine clearance in 2010

In the clearance effort in 2009–2010, a total of 1,246 antipersonnel and antivehicle mines were destroyed on the Islands,[26] including 626 antipersonnel mines destroyed in 2010.[27]

Compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with the 10-year extension request granted by the Ninth Meeting of States Parties in November 2008), the UK is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2019.

Following opposition from a number of States Parties, as well as the ICBL and ICRC, to the UK’s blanket 10-year extension request at its initial presentation, the UK had revised its request to make it explicit that Scenario 5 of the Field Survey (part of the Feasibility Study conducted by Cranfield University) was its clearance plan for fulfillment of its Article 5 obligations.[28] Scenario 5 proposed clearance of all mined areas on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas within a 10-year period, beginning with the establishment of a project office on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas and ending with the handover of all cleared land to a fully fledged mine action center.[29] The UK decided to disregard the Field Survey’s recommendation for trials of clearance methods and to proceed directly to full clearance.[30]

While “a number of substantive concerns were raised,” the Ninth Meeting of States Parties decided to grant the request for an extension until 1 March 2019. The meeting took note of the UK’s agreement to provide as soon as possible, but not later than 30 June 2010, a detailed explanation of how demining is proceeding and the implications for future demining in order to meet the UK’s obligations under Article 5.[31] The meeting also took note that the UK will keep under annual review the possibility of reducing the time necessary to fulfill its obligations. A number of States Parties expressed the wish that the UK proceed with the implementation of Article 5 much faster than suggested by the amount of time requested.[32]

At the June 2010 intersessional Standing Committee meetings, the UK stated that, “We are delighted to announce that the 4-site pilot project started on 4 December 2009, completed on 4 June.”[33] The UK stated that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) “will now analyse the data gathered from this project and make recommendations for future work based on this analysis to the new Government. We intend to report the findings of our analysis and agreed next steps to States Parties at the Meeting of States Parties in November 2010.”[34]

The UK did not announce any further clearance plans at the Tenth Meeting of States Parties. In a statement to the meeting, the ICBL regretted the failure of the UK to meet its undertaking to provide “as soon as possible, but not later than 30 June 2010 a detailed explanation of … the implications for future demining” in order to meet the UK’s obligations under Article 5 of the treaty.[35]

In June 2011, the UK announced that it would be seeking contractors for land release of at least part of one or possibly two SHAs, one behind the Stanley Common Fence, which borders the capital, Port Stanley, the other at the Murrell Peninsula, some 4km from Port Stanley.[36] However, it was not foreseen that any mine clearance would take place. According to the UK: “The identification of the exact location and extent of the minefields in this area will be useful for subsequent clearance programmes.”[37]

In an annex to its Article 5 deadline extension request, the UK included the Feasibility Study conducted in 2007, which concluded with respect to the Murrell Peninsula that: “The whole of the Murrell peninsula was classified as suspect on the basis of very little evidence, except for the five coves, which are assumed as mined. Since then, the whole area has been heavily pastured for 25 years by sheep and possibly cattle without accident, and a colony of penguins lives in the middle of it. The entire peninsula, except for its coves, could probably be re-classified as clear if some confidence-building clearance activity took place.”[38] The UK reported its extension request that the SHAs in the Murrell Peninsula total some 5.5km2 in size.[39] The Feasibility Study also suggested that SHA M65 beside the Stanley Common Fence (some 229,800m2 in size) may contain no mines.[40]

The ICBL called upon the UK to provide a concrete plan and budget for fulfilling its Article 5 clearance obligations. It also reiterated that affected States Parties must clear all mined areas, not only those with a humanitarian impact.[41] In response, the UK stated that it had foreseen a two-year pilot project in its extension request before it would be in a position to set out a full plan to meet its legal obligations.[42] 

Battle area clearance in 2010

During BAC in 2010, one unexploded submunition was found and destroyed.[43] During 2009, one BL755 unexploded submunition had been found and destroyed at the Sapper Hill BAC task.[44]

Compliance with Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Under Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the UK is required to destroy all cluster munition remnants in areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 November 2020.

As noted above, the Falkland Islands/Malvinas are believed to be still affected to a limited extent by unexploded submunitions. During clearance operations, one BL755 unexploded submunition was destroyed in the first month of operations and a second submunition was destroyed in 2010.[45] According to information provided by the Ministry of Defence in 2009, no unexploded submunitions were cleared in 2008, but a BL755 submunition was destroyed in November 2007.[46] At the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, the UK said that the three areas it was clearing contained unexploded submunitions and other ERW.[47] None was found at the Fox Bay site (no. FB-008W) where part of a submunition had been found in 1983.[48]

In its initial Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 report, the UK states that “there are no UK areas contaminated by cluster munitions or explosive sub-munitions.”[49] The UK seems to consider the possible contamination in the Falklands to be residual in nature and not amenable to being addressed in terms of “contaminated areas.” With significant amounts of clearance already undertaken, such an assessment may be reasonable. An additional check to clarify this assessment would be the release of any data on the locations of strikes using BL-755 cluster munitions to determine if any strikes were targeted inside the mined areas. Any strike sites inside mined areas would likely not have been addressed in the earlier phase of clearance due to the challenge of access.

Quality management

The clearance program was said to be working to a set of National Mine Action Standards (NMAS), originally drafted by Cranfield University, and closely related to International Mine Action Standards. Following award of the contract for the DPO, a full review of NMAS was carried out and a number of amendments to points of detail were recommended for consideration by the NMAA based in London.[50]

The DPO conducted quality control over BACTEC’s demining activities to ensure that they met the required standards.[51]

Safety of demining personnel

No deminers were killed or injured during 2009 or 2010.[52]

 



[1] There is a sovereignty dispute over the Falklands Islands/Malvinas with Argentina.

[2] UK Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 30 May 2008, p. 2. The estimate of the number of mines remaining to be cleared was higher than the 16,000 reported by Argentina in 2006. See Argentina Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 4 May 2006.

[3] UK Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 30 May 2008, Tables B.3 and B.4.

[4] Statement of the UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, Geneva, 27 May 2009.

[5] Letter from Permanent Joint Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence to Landmine Action, 16 February 2009.

[6] Lisa Johnson, “Lucky minefield incident for landing crew in Falklands,” MercoPress, 9 December 2008, www.mercopress.com.

[7] UK Article 5 deadline Extension Request, Executive Summary, 14 November 2008, p. 1.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Letter from Permanent Joint Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence to Landmine Action, 16 February 2009.

[10] Letter from Lt.-Col. Scott Malina-Derben, Ministry of Defence, 6 February 2009.

[11] Statement of the UK, Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 1 December 2010.

[12] Ibid.

[13] See, for example, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 2 April 2007.

[14] Statement of the UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, Geneva, 27 May 2009.

[15] Decision on the UK Article 5 deadline Extension Request, Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 28 November 2008.

[16] FCO, “UK-London: mine sweeping services 2009/S 97-140126, Contract Notice,” 19 May 2009.

[17] Email from Colin King, Programme Manager, DPO, 19 November 2009.

[18] Juanita Brock, “Falklands: Falklands are ‘Go’ for Demining,” Falkland Islands News Network, 13 October 2009, sartma.com.

[19] BACTEC, “BACTEC Awarded Falkland Islands Project,” 20 October 2009, www.bactec.com.

[20] “Mine Clearance Begins In The Falklands,” Blog of UK Amb. John Duncan, www.flickr.com. 

[21] Email from Kathryn Lindsay, Policy Officer, FCO, 3 March 2010.

[22] “First minefield cleared in Falkland Islands – thanks to Zimbabweans,” MercoPress, 25 March 2010, en.mercopress.com.

[23] BACTEC, “BACTEC Awarded Falkland Islands Project,” 20 October 2009, www.bactec.com.

[24] Cory Kuklick, “Falkland-Malvinas Islands Update,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 14.1 (Spring 2010), maic.jmu.edu. Kuklick claims 37 rather than 36 Zimbabwean deminers.

[25] Email from Kathryn Lindsay, FCO, 3 March 2010.

[26] Statement of the UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, 21 June 2011.

[27] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2010), Form F.

[28] Decision on the UK Article 5 deadline Extension Request, Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 28 November 2008.

[29] Cranfield University, “Field Survey to Examine the Feasibility of Clearing Landmines in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas),” 9 July 2007, Executive Summary.

[30] Statement of the UK, Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 26 November 2008.

[31] Decision on the UK Article 5 deadline Extension Request, Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 28 November 2008.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Statement of the UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, 22 June 2010.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Statement of the UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, 21 June 2011.

[37] Ibid.

[38] “Field Survey Report, Cranfield University,” 9 July 2007, p. 33.

[39] UK Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 30 May 2008, Table B.4.

[40] “Field Survey Report, Cranfield University,” 9 July 2007, p. 104; and see UK Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 30 May 2008, Table B.4.

[41] Statement of ICBL, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, 21 June 2011.

[42] Statement of the UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, 21 June 2011. Notes by ICBL.

[43] Statement of the UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, 22 June 2010.

[44] Email from Kathryn Lindsay, FCO, 3 March 2010.

[45] Statement of the UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, 22 June 2010.

[46] Letter from Lt.-Col. Scott Malina-Derben, Ministry of Defence, 6 February 2009.

[47] Statement of the UK, Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 2 December 2009.

[48] Statement of the UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, 22 June 2010.

[49] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, 28 April 2011, p. 19.

[50] Email from Kathryn Lindsay, FCO, 3 March 2010.

[51] Juanita Brock, “Falklands: Falklands are ‘Go’ for Demining,” Falkland Islands News Network, 13 October 2009, sartma.com.

[52] Statement of the UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, 22 June 2010.


Last Updated: 18 October 2010

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Casualties

In 2009, Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor identified 76 British military casualties (all killed) in Afghanistan from improvised explosive devices (IEDs); based on information available it was not possible to determine how many of the casualties were caused by victim-activated devices.[1] No casualties from landmines or explosive remnants of war (ERW) were identified.[2] This compares to 33 British military casualties (all killed) in Afghanistan from IEDs and landmines in 2008.[3] With the limited data available, it is not possible to determine incidents specifically caused by victim-activated landmines, ERW, or IEDs. Total figures on British mine, ERW, and victim-activated IED casualties abroad were not available, though given military casualty statistics, it is likely that they number in the hundreds.[4] In 2009, non-governmental sources tracking casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq criticized the Ministry of Defence for the lack of transparency and accuracy in reporting British casualties.[5]

Victim Assistance

The total number of mine/ERW survivors in the United Kingdom is unknown, but the vast majority are thought to be disabled veterans who were injured on foreign soil and who receive compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). Other benefits to which military survivors claiming AFCS compensation may have been eligible (depending on the severity of their injuries) included income support, housing benefit, and free medical prescriptions, among others.[6]



[1] Icasualty.org, “Coalition deaths by Nationality,” updated 8 August 2010, icasualties.org. Most media reports seemed to refer to casualties from incidents involving command-detonated devices, such as roadside bombs, which are not included in Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor casualty totals.

[2] Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor media for calendar year 2009; and Icasualty.org, “Coalition deaths by Nationality,” updated 8 August 2010, icasualties.org. In addition, 157 British soldiers were seriously or very seriously injured in Afghanistan during this period, but no information was available as to the cause of these injuries. Ministry of Defence, “Afghanistan Casualty and Fatality Tables: 7 October 2001 to 31 July 2010,” updated 31 July 2010. In Iraq, one British soldier was killed and one was seriously injured; the causes of these casualties were unknown. Ministry of Defence, “Operation Telic Casualty and Fatality Tables: 1 January 2003 to 31 July 2009,” undated, www.mod.uk.

[3] There was insufficient information in the data available to determine how many, if any, of these casualties were caused by victim-activated versus command-detonated explosive devices. Another 65 British soldiers were seriously or very seriously injured in Afghanistan in 2008 though no details were available as to the cause of the injuries. Icasualty.org, “Coalition deaths by Nationality,” updated 8 August 2010, icasualties.org; and Ministry of Defence, “Afghanistan Casualty and Fatality Tables: 7 October 2001 to 31 July 2010,” updated to 31 July 2010, www.mod.uk.

[4] See previous editions of Landmine Monitor.

[5] Casualty Monitor, “Monitoring and analysis of data on civilian and military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan,” 10 February 2009, www.casualty-monitor.org.

[6] Ministry of Defence, “Table Of Wider Benefits Potentially Available To AFCS Claimants,” undated, www.mod.uk.


Last Updated: 25 August 2011

Support for Mine Action

In 2010 the United Kingdom (UK) contributed £10,573,232 (US$16,337,757) in mine action funding.[1] The largest contribution went to Afghanistan (£1,984,278/$3,066,106), with four additional states/areas (Cambodia, Angola, Falkland Islands/Malvinas, and Sudan) each receiving over £1 million.

The UK provided global support through one organization and support to 15 states and areas through three organizations and one trust fund—the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action (UNVTF).[2]

Contributions by recipient: 2010

Recipient

Sector

Amount

(£)

Amount

($)

Afghanistan

Clearance

1,984,278

3,066,106

Cambodia

Clearance

1,440,062

2,225,184

Angola

Clearance

1,410,705

2,179,821

Falkland Islands/Malvinas

Clearance

1,100,000

1,699,720

Sudan

Clearance

1,077,389

1,664,781

Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)

Clearance

661,129

1,021,577

Nagorno-Karabakh

Clearance

469,321

725,195

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Clearance

465,202

718,830

Sri Lanka

Clearance

433,109

669,240

Somalia

Clearance

350,000

540,820

Lao PDR

Clearance

319,313

493,402

Lebanon

Clearance

253,186

391,223

Mozambique

Clearance

205,976

318,274

Global

Advocacy

187,084

289,082

Vietnam

Clearance

115,853

179,016

Somaliland

Clearance

100,625

155,486

Total

 

10,573,232

16,337,757

The UK allocated 98% of its mine action support in 2010 for clearance activities.

In its 2010–2013 mine action strategy the Department for International Development (DfID) stated it does not support programs that specifically target mine survivors, and that victim assistance is best provided through health services available to all persons with disabilities.[3] In its initial Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 transparency report, the UK reported on over £75 million in “bilateral expenditure on nondiscriminatory primary health care” for eight states affected by mines and/or cluster munitions.[4] 

Contributions by thematic sector: 2010

Sector

Amount
(£)

Amount
($)

% of total contribution

Clearance

10,386,148

16,048,675

98.23

Advocacy

187,084

289,082

1.77

Total

10,573,232

16,337,757

100

Of the total funds provided, 68% were allocated for activities where no differentiation was made between landmine and cluster munition related activities, while 32% went towards activities specifically related to mines.

Mine and cluster munition related contributions: 2010

Sector

Amount
(£)

Amount
($)

% of total contribution

Clearance

7,010,270

10,832,270

66.3

Advocacy

187,084

289,082

1.77

Undifferentiated subtotal

7,197,354

11,121,352

68.07

Mine clearance

3,375,878

5,216,405

31.93

Mine/ERW subtotal

3,375,878

5,216,405

31.93

Total

10,573,232

16,337,757

100

In 2008 the UK announced it had pledged £30 million ($46,983,000)[5] for mine action from 2010–2012. At the time then-Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander said, “Over the next three years, we will aim to reduce the impact of anti-personnel mines in developing countries through support to well established and effective de-mining organisations. And we will help mine affected countries develop the means to manage and deal with the remaining problems themselves.” [6]

DfID allocated all funding in 2010 with the exception of the £1.1 million towards clearance in the Falkland Islands/Malvinas, which was allocated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[7]

The UK’s contribution in 2010 decreased by 9% from 2009. Since 2001, DfID has contributed at least £10 million per year for mine action.[8] 

Summary of contributions: 2006-2010[9]

Year

Amount

(£)

Amount

($)

% change from previous year ($)

2010

10,573,232

16,337,760

-9

2009

11,440,275

17,916,610

-28

2008

13,451,597

24,945,990

-1

2007

12,586,513

25,198,200

+30

2006

10,491,251

19,339,570

-10

Total

58,542,868

103,738,130

 N/A

N/A = Not Applicable

 



[1] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hannah Binci, Security and Justice Team, Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department, DfID, 10 August 2011.

[2] Part of the UK’s contribution to Sudan (£321,248/$496,392) and its entire contributions to the OPT and Somalia were made via the UNVTF.

[3] DfID, “DfID Programme Strategy 2010–2013: Creating a safer environment: Clearing landmines and other explosive remnants of war,” 16 March 2010, www.reliefweb.int.

[4] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 31 March 2011.

[5] Average exchange rate for 2009: £1=US$1.56610.US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 4 January 2010.

[6]DfID, “UK steps up landmine fight,” Press release, 25 November 2008, London, webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

[7]Email from Hannah Binci, DfID, 18 August 2011.

[8]DfID, “UK steps up landmine fight,” Press release, 25 November 2008, London, webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

[9] See previous editions of Landmine Monitor; and ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: UK: Support for Mine Action,” www.the-monitor.org, 18 October 2010. Amounts in US$ have been rounded to the nearest ten. Average exchange rate for 2010: £1=US$1.5452; 2009: £1=US$1.5661; 2008: £1=US$1.8545; and 2007: £1=US$2.0020.  US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 6 January 2011. Average exchange rate for 2006: £1=US$1.8434. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 2 January 2009.