Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 16 November 2016


The Republic of Yemen signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified it on 1 September 1998. It entered into force on 1 March 1999.

Yemen enacted legislation to enforce implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty on 20 April 2005.[1]

Yemen last submitted an annual transparency measures report for the treaty in April 2014.[2]

Yemen has participated in all of the Mine Ban Treaty’s Review Conferences, including the Third Review Conference in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2014. It has attended every Meeting of States Parties of the treaty, such as the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November-December 2015. Yemen has participated in most of the treaty’s intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva.

In May 2016, Yemen told an intersessional meeting of the Mine Ban Treaty that its mine clearance efforts have been hampered by “obstacles,” including new mine-laying and explosive remnants from cluster munitions and other explosive weapons used by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of states that began an operation against Houthi forces in Yemen, also known as Ansar Allah, in late March 2015.[3]

Yemen is not a party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It is also not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, transfer, stockpile destruction, and retention

Yemen has stated that it has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines.

Yemen reported destruction of the last of its known stockpile of 74,000–78,000 antipersonnel mines in April 2002.[4] An additional 30,000 mines found in November 2006 were destroyed in December 2007.[5]

In 2014, Yemen again reported the retention of 3,760 antipersonnel mines of four types for training and research purposes, the same quantity and types declared retained since 2008.[6] Yemen has never reported on the intended purposes and actual uses of its retained mines, as was agreed by States Parties in 2004.[7]

Three types of antipersonnel mines produced in the 1980s have been used in Yemen since 2013: PPM-2 mines manufactured in the former East Germany, GYATA-64 mines made in Hungary, and a Bulgarian-made PSM-1 bounding fragmentation mine.[8] The latter type was found in its 1980s-vintage factory packaging in an arms bazaar in the town of Marib in 2015. None of these mines was among the four types of antipersonnel mines that Yemen has reported stockpiling in the past, including for training mine clearance personnel.

The evidence of further use of these antipersonnel mines in 2015 and 2016 suggests either that the 2002 declaration to the UN Secretary-General on the completion of landmine stockpile destruction was incorrect, or that these mines were acquired from another source after 2002.

In a September 2016 letter, Yemen’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sanaa, controlled by the Houthis and the General People’s Congress, alleged that individuals had smuggled weapons, including landmines, into Yemen in recent years, noting that the government had not been able to control its land or sea borders due to instability and fighting.[9]


There was the first confirmed use of antipersonnel mines by a State Party, in Yemen in 2011–2012, and after some initial efforts to address the matter by the current government, it has not been in a position to do so during the ongoing turmoil.

A joint operation by a coalition of states led by Saudi Arabia against Houthi forces, in Yemen was continuing as of October 2016. The Islamist armed group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is also a party to the conflict in Yemen.

New Use

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported numerous instances of antipersonnel mine use by Ansar Allah, also called Houthis, and their allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abduallah Saleh in 2015 and 2016. AQAP also appears to be using antipersonnel mines.

Areas in and near the city of Taizz in Taizz governorate that Houthis and allied forces occupied from March 2015 until March 2016 were subsequently discovered to have been mined, including with PPM-2 mines manufactured in the former East Germany.[10] Houthi officials denied using antipersonnel mines in Taizz.[11] A September response by Yemen’s Foreign Ministry affirmed Yemen’s commitment to the Mine Ban Treaty and said that when the conflict ends a committee will be created to investigate the landmine use in Taizz.[12]

In November 2015, HRW reported numerous casualties from landmines, including PPM-2 and Hungarian-made GYATA-64 antipersonnel mines that Houthi forces laid before retreating from Abyan governorate and Aden governorate in July 2015.[13] New use of landmines by Houthi forces was also reported in Marib and Lahj governorates, but the areas remain inaccessible to independent researchers.

In September 2015, the Mine Ban Treaty’s Cooperative Compliance Committee requested to meet with Yemen to discuss continuing mine use. According to the committee’s report, Yemen replied that due to the difficult circumstances faced by the government “it is not able to conduct an investigation for the moment on these new allegations and that due to the lack of adequate information it was unable to attend the meeting.”[14]

Officials reported in May 2016 that large stocks of antipersonnel and antivehicle mines had been recovered from the port city of Mukalla in Hadramout governorate that were allegedly used by AQAP until it was forced out in April 2016. The governor of Hadramout told a regional media outlet that Al-Qaeda forces extensively mined the Dhabah oil terminal.[15]

There has been no evidence to suggest that members of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition have used landmines in their military operations in Yemen.

Previous Use

Houthi forces emplaced PPM-2 mines and a GYATA-64 mines in Aden before withdrawing from the city in July 2015.[16] 

The Houthis may also be responsible for laying new antipersonnel mines, located immediately to the east of Aden. A retired Yemeni deminer told HRW that he witnessed Houthi fighters laying mines on 8 August 2015, shortly after an attack by southern forces that pushed Houthi forces out of an area in Abyan governorate. Deminers cleared 14 PPM-2 antipersonnel mines that they described as “newly laid.”[17]

Yemen’s most recent Article 7 report from 2014 described a “new challenge” in Saada governorate from “new kinds of mines made manually by insurgences [sic] and planted.”[18] In November 2013, the office of Yemen’s prime minister admitted a “violation” of the Mine Ban Treaty occurred in 2011 at Bani Jarmooz, a location north of Sanaa in 2011, during the popular uprising that led to the ousting of then-President Saleh.[19] According to witness testimony and evidence gathered by human rights organizations and media, GYATA-64, PMN, and PMD-6 antipersonnel mines were laid around the camps of the government’s Republican Guards at Bani Jarmooz in late 2011.[20]

Yemen provided Mine Ban Treaty States Parties with an interim report on 29 March 2014 detailing plans for clearance and marking, risk education, and victim assistance at Bani Jarmooz.[21] In June 2014, it informed States Parties that the Military Prosecutor’s Office had begun an investigation to identify those responsible for the mine use at Bani Jarmooz.[22]

However, as of October 2016 the area of Bani Jarmooz is no longer under government control as it was seized by Houthi forces in mid-2014.[23]


[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 30 March 2007. On 16 December 2004, the Yemeni Parliament endorsed national implementation legislation; on 20 April 2005, Presidential Law No. 25 was issued to bring the legislation into force. The implementing legislation has not been listed in recent Article 7 reports. Instead, under national measures, Yemen has listed its ratification legislation, stating that “The Parliament of Yemen issued, and the President signed law on 8\98 in June 1998. The law states that the Government of Yemen will enforce the ban from the day the law was issued.” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 31 March 2012 to 31 March 2013), Form A.

[2] The report covered the period covering the period from 31 March 2013 to 31 March 2014.

[3] Statement of Yemen, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, 19 May 2016.

[4] In its Article 7 reports submitted in 2001 and 2002, Yemen reported a stockpile of 78,000 mines, including 4,000 to be retained for training. Its reporting on the destruction of the mines has contained discrepancies, but appeared to total about 74,000. Yet its Article 7 reports have usually cited the figure of 78,000 destroyed. See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 522, and subsequent editions of Landmine Monitor.

[5] On 16 December 2007, Yemen destroyed an additional 30,000 POMZ-2 antipersonnel mines that were found in November 2006 in an old military warehouse undergoing transformation into a tourist site. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 31 March 2008; and Form B, 30 March 2007.

[6] Yemen declared the following mines: 940 PPMISR-2, 940 PMD-6, 940 POMZ-2, and 940 PMN. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 31 March 2013 to 31 March 2014), Form D. It declared the same number (3,760) of retained mines in its Article 7 reports provided in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. Yemen’s 2011 report declared a total of 4,000 antipersonnel mines retained for training and research purposes, including 240 additional mines (60 more of each type): 1,000 PPMISR-2, 1,000 PMD-6, 1,000 POMZ-2, and 1,000 PMN. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 30 March 2010 to 30 March 2011), Form D. Yemen has not provided any explanation for the increased number listed in the 2011 report.

[7] The retained mines were transferred from centralized military storage facilities in Sanaa and Aden to the Military Engineering Department Training Facility and Mine Detection Dogs Unit. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 30 March 2011 to 30 March 2012), Form D.

[8] Styrofoam crates of PPM-2 antipersonnel mines found by deminers in Bab al-Mandeb in Taizz governorate in October 2015 contained original packaging dated 17 June 1981, while the crate exteriors were marked with various dates in 1980 and 1982.

[11] Officials at the Ministry of Human Rights in Sanaa, controlled by the Houthis and Saleh’s General People’s Congress party, told HRW in late July that the Houthis and allied forces did not use antipersonnel mines. An official with the office of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee, a Houthi body, said in early August that the group did not plant antipersonnel mines in the city of Taizz. He acknowledged Houthi use of antivehicle mines, but said the use was “in military areas” only and claimed that civilian casualties from antivehicle mines were rare. The official alleged that other, unnamed, armed groups in Yemen had used antipersonnel mines.

[13] HRW, “Yemen: New Houthi Landmine Use,” 18 November 2015.

[14] Mine Ban Treaty Committee on Cooperative Compliance (Algeria, Canada, Peru, Sweden), “Report and preliminary observations for 2016 intersessional meetings,” May 2016. On 19 February 2016, the treaty’s compliance committee met with a representative of Yemen, who informed it that in Yemen “the situation remains unchanged and that no new investigations into the alleged use of anti-personnel mines have been conducted. The last investigation took place in 2011 but had to be halted due to the political and security situation, and has not been resumed.”

[15] Saeed Al Batati, “Tip-offs helped accelerate Al Mukalla liberation,” Gulf News, 9 May 2016.

[16] HRW Press Release, “Houthis Used Landmines in Aden,” 5 September 2015.

[17] Ibid.

[19]The government pledges its commitment to implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty,” Saba News Service, 19 November 2013. See also, ICBL Web Post, “Yemen mine use: official communiqué,” 22 November 2014. In a statement on the matter at the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties in December 2013, Yemen said it had “lost control on the ground” during the 2011 political crises and committed to be “serious and transparent on that issue.” It said the prime minster had directed that an inter-agency investigation committee be established to look into the incident and determine who was responsible, and to apply criminal sanctions in accordance with the 2005 implementation law. Yemen reported that the “Minister for Defense had given the order to implement this investigation, to account for those who participated in that action, and to clear the mines.” It stated that the engineering corps and the general reserve forces had commenced clearance operations at Bani Jarmooz. Statement of Yemen, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2013. Original in Arabic, translation by the Monitor.

[20] Joe Sheffer, “Revenge Landmines of the Arab Spring,” Foreign Policy, 24 May 2013; and Yemen Rights Foundation, “A report issued by the Yemen Rights Foundation about landmines that were previously used by members of the Republican Guard stationed in the military bases al-Sama and al-Fareeja in the valleys and mountains of Bani Jarmooz, Sana’a province, in 2011,” 10 April 2013; HRW Press Release, “Yemen: Investigate, Respond to Landmine Use Reports,” 27 May 2013. In April 2014, HRW reported that the landmines laid at Bani Jarmooz had killed at least two civilians and wounded 20 others since late 2011, including at least one dead and six wounded in the year since April 2013. The casualties all occurred in the vicinity of military camps that the 63rd and 81st Brigades of the Republican Guard established at Bani Jarmooz around 26 July 2011, and which remained in place as of September 2014. During an April 2013 visit, HRW did not observe any fencing or warning signs. HRW, “Memorandum to Mine Ban Treaty Delegates: Yemen’s Compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty,” 8 April 2014.

[21] According to the report, locals in Bani Jarmooz and Arhab districts intervened to stop the demining operations on their first day in protest at the government’s failure to provide compensation for mine-related deaths and injuries, damaged vehicles, and loss of agricultural income. “Yemen Initial Report to the President of the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties,” 29 March 2014.

[22] Interview with Yemen’s Delegation to the Third Review Conference, Maputo, 26 June 2014. Notes by HRW.

[23] Email from HRW’s Yemen researcher, 21 October 2014.