Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 08 August 2016

Summary: Non-signatory Yemen said in May 2016 that it is considering acceding to the convention after becoming contaminated by cluster munition remnants during the previous year. Yemen has participated in the convention’s annual meetings, most recently in 2014. It abstained from voting on a UN resolution on the convention in December 2015. Yemen is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions, but apparently used cluster munitions in 2009 and may still have a stockpile.

Since 26 March 2015, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition has conducted a military operation in Yemen against Ansar Allah (Houthi forces) that has seen at least 19 cluster munition attacks involving the use of seven types of air-delivered and ground-launched cluster munitions from three countries.


The Republic of Yemen has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Yemen has expressed support for the ban on cluster munitions, but did not comment on its position on joining the convention until May 2016, when a government representative told a diplomatic conference that Yemen is considering accession due to new contamination from recent use of cluster munitions by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of states.[1]

Yemen abstained from the vote on a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 7 December 2015, which urges states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.”[2] Yemen did not explain why it abstained on the non-binding resolution that 139 states voted to adopt, including many non-signatories.

Yemen participated in two meetings of the Oslo Process that produced the convention (Lima in May 2007 and Belgrade in October 2007) and expressed its support for work to prohibit cluster munitions.[3] It did not attend the negotiations of the convention in Dublin in May 2008 or the Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference in Oslo in December 2008.[4]

Yemen participated as an observer in the convention’s annual Meetings of States Parties in 2011 and 2013–2014, as well as intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2013. It was invited to, but did not attend the First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015.

Yemen has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2015.[5]

Yemen is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Yemen is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions.

Evidence that came to light in 2013 and 2014 (detailed below) indicates that Yemen likely used RBK-series cluster bombs in 2009. It may still have a stockpile of the weapons.

Jane’s Information Group reported in 2004 that KMG-U dispensers that deploy submunitions are in service with the country’s air force.[6] Moldova exported 13 220mm Uragan multi-barrel rocket launch systems to Yemen in 1994, and Yemen possesses Grad 122mm surface-to-surface rocket launchers, but it is not known if the ammunition for these weapons includes versions with submunition payloads.[7]


On 26 March 2015, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition began a military operation in Yemen against Ansar Allah (Houthi forces) that was continuing as of 31 July 2016, despite a 10 April 2016 ceasefire agreement.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International have documented evidence of at least 19 cluster munition attacks in the conflict involving the use of seven types of air-delivered and ground-launched cluster munitions from three countries, as the following table shows.

Cluster munitions used in Yemen since April 2015[8]

Type of cluster munition

Country of origin

Stocks possessed by

Governorate and date of attack


CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon, each deploying 10 BLU-108 canisters that disperse four submunitions called “skeet” by the manufacturer Textron


Saudi Arabia,


Al-Shaaf in Saada, 17 April 2015

Al-Amar in Saada. 27 April 2015

Harf Sofian in Amran, 29 June 2015

Sanhan in Sanaa, 1 November 2015

Al-Hayma in Hodaida, 12 December 2015

Amran, 15 February 2016

CBU-87 bomb, each containing 202 BLU-97 submunitions


Saudi Arabia

Al-Nushoor in Saada, 23 May 2015

Al-Maqash in Saada, 23 May 2015

CBU-58 bomb, each containing 650 BLU-63 submunitions


Saudi Arabia,


Sanaa City in Sanaa, 6 January 2016

BL-755 cluster bomb, each containing 147 No 2 Mk 1 submunitions


Saudi Arabia

Al-Khadhra in Hajja, 6 January 2016


ASTROS II rocket, each containing up to 65 submunitions



Saudi Arabia

Ahma in Saada, 25 October 2015

M26 rocket, each containing 644 M77 Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) submunitions





Bani Kaladah in Hajja, April/May 2015

Al-Hazan in Hajja, May/June 2015

Malus in Hajja, 7 June 2015

Dughayj in Hajja, Jue/July 2015

Al-Qufl in Hajja, 14/15 July 2015

Haradh in Hajja, 25 July 2015

Al-Fajj in Hajja, 25 July 2015

“ZP 39” DPICM submunition (unknown delivery system)



Baqim in Saada, 29 April 2015


None of the states participating in the Saudi Arabia-led coalition—Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Sudan, UAE—are party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

HRW could not determine who used ground-launched cluster munitions containing “ZP-39” submunitions in Saada in April 2015, but Saudi Arabia and Houthi forces both possess rocket launchers and tube artillery capable of delivering them.[9]

The first recorded cluster munition attack occurred at al-Shaaf in the western part of Saada governorate according to a video uploaded to YouTube on 17 April 2015.[10] A subsequent visit by HRW researchers to al-Amar village, 30 kilometers south of Saada City, confirmed a cluster munition attack on 27 April, including the presence of explosive remnants.[11] The most recently-recorded cluster munition attack was on 15 February 2016 at a cement factory in Amran governornate. These three attacks all involved the use of CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons, the only cluster munition that the US now exports, and only on the condition that they are not used in civilian areas.[12] Both Saudi Arabia and UAE have received CBU-105s from the US.

In Yemen, HRW has found at least three instances in which CBU-105s malfunctioned as their “skeet” or submunitions did not disperse from the BLU-108 canister and did not explode.[13] Under existing US policy, the CBU-105 is required to have a failure rate of less than 1%. HRW also documented evidence showing CBU-105s were used in or near civilian areas, also in apparent violation of US export law.[14]

In August 2015, HRW published the results of a research investigation in northwestern Hajja governorate, which borders Saudi Arabia, showing at least seven cluster munition rocket attacks by coalition forces from late April to mid-July 2015 that claimed dozens of civilian casualties.[15]

On 6 January 2016, coalition forces dropped a US-made CBU-58 cluster bomb containing BLU-63 submunitions on Yemen’s capital Sanaa in an attack documented by HRW, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others.[16] Markings on the bomb remnants indicate that it was manufactured in 1978. In Saada, HRW and VICE News also documented coalition use of notoriously harmful BLU-97 submunitions delivered by CBU-87 cluster bombs.[17]

Amnesty International researchers documented the use of two types of cluster munitions in Yemen since April 2015, apparently by coalition forces. It found the remnants of a Brazil-made ASTROS II cluster munition rocket in Saada from a 27 October 2015 attack, and in May 2016 confirmed the presence of United Kingdom (UK)-made BL-755 cluster munitions remnants in al-Khadra village in Hajja governorate.[18]

Responses to the cluster munition use

In May 2016, Yemen informed a meeting of Mine Ban Treaty States Parties that its mine clearance program has been set back by the conflict since March 2015, which has generated new contamination, including from cluster munition remnants.[19]

The government of Saudi Arabia still has not issued a formal statement to confirm or deny the reports that the Saudi-led coalition used cluster munitions multiple times in Yemen.[20] Its principle military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri has admitted in media interviews to one instance of use of CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons in April 2015 in Hajja governorate, but argued it was not in a populated area and they are not prohibited weapons.[21] In February 2016, The New York Times reported that Saudi officials continue to deny ordering the use of cluster munitions in Yemen.[22]

The UAE has denied using CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons in Yemen.[23] No other coalition member has commented on the coalition’s use of cluster munition in Yemen or responded to a CMC letter calling for an end to the use.

US officials have indicated the US is aware that Saudi Arabia has used cluster munitions in Yemen, including CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons, which are banned by the Convention on Cluster Munitions as they fall under the convention’s definition of a cluster munition.[24] In late May 2016, the Obama administration suspended US cluster munition transfers to Saudi Arabia after reports of their use in civilian areas in Yemen.[25]

The use of BL-755 cluster munitions in Yemen marks the first documented use of UK-made cluster munitions since the Convention on Cluster Munitions, to which the UK is party, entered into force in 2010. The UK has denied Saudi use of cluster munitions in Yemen. On 24 May 2016, the UK’s then-Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told parliament that “there is no evidence yet that Saudi Arabia has used cluster munitions” in Yemen.[26] The UK’s last transfer of BL-755 cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia was in 1989.[27] At the First Review Conference, the UK led an unsuccessful attempt with the support of Australia and Canada to weaken language in the draft Dubrovnik Declaration condemning any use of cluster munitions by any actor.[28]

Brazil has not commented on the evidence that its ASTROS cluster munition rockets have been used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. In May 2016, HRW provided Brazilian government officials with the research findings, including photographs received from local activists in Hajja governorate that show unexploded submunitions from the rocket attacks.[29]

Since the convention’s intersessional meetings in June 2015, states have continued to express concern at or condemn new use of cluster munitions in Yemen.[30]

At the First Review Conference in September 2015, States Parties adopted the Dubrovnik Declaration, which affirms: “We are deeply concerned by any and all allegations, reports or documented evidence of the use of cluster munitions, including in Cambodia, Libya, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen. We condemn any use of cluster munitions by any actor.”[31]

On 12 January 2016, the Netherlands in its capacity as president of the convention’s Sixth Meeting of States Parties expressed its deep concern at reported cluster munition use in Yemen.[32] At the Conference on Disarmament on 29 February 2016, the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders said he was “deeply concerned about reports of the use of cluster munitions in the Yemen conflict” and called on all countries to “refrain from using cluster munitions.”[33]

Previously, Costa Rica as president of the convention’s Fifth Meeting of States Parties and Croatia as president of the First Review Conference both condemned the use of cluster munitions in Yemen.[34]

The UN, the ICRC, and the CMC have condemned the use of cluster munitions in Yemen. On 25 February 2016, the European Parliament (EP) adopted another resolution condemning the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen, including the use of cluster bombs. It adopted a similar resolution on 9 July 2015.[35]

Previous use 

Saudi Arabia and the US, and likely the Yemeni government, used cluster munitions in separate attacks in Yemen in 2009.

In late 2009, in Yemen’s Saada governorate, the Saudi Air Force conducted airstrikes and Saudi armed forces intervened on the ground after fighting between the government of Yemen and Ansar Allah intensified and spilled over the border with Saudi Arabia. In July 2013, the Monitor reviewed photographs taken by clearance operators in Saada governorate showing the remnants of unexploded BLU-97 and BLU-61 submunitions as well as DPICM submunitions of an unknown origin.[36] Remnants of CBU-52 cluster bombs were filmed near Saada City.[37] In addition, the Houthi administration in Saada provided VICE News with photographs showing remnants of Soviet-made RBK-250-275 AO-1SCh cluster bombs and associated antipersonnel fragmentation submunitions.[38] Yemen’s Soviet-supplied aircraft are capable of delivering Soviet-made RBK cluster bombs.

On 17 December 2009, the US used at least five ship- or submarine-launched TLAM-D cruise missiles, each containing 166 BLU-97 submunitions, to attack a “terrorist group” training camp in al-Ma‘jalah in the al-Mahfad district of Abyan governorate in southern Yemen. The attack killed 55 people, including 41 civilians living in a Bedouin camp.[39] Neither the US nor the Yemeni government has publicly responded to confirm or deny the use.[40] The US has never exported the TLAM-D cruise missile.

A 2010 report of the Yemeni parliament’s investigation into the attack called on the Yemeni government to investigate and “hold accountable those found guilty” of “mistakes that were made causing the deaths of…innocent victims.”[41] The government of Yemen accepted the report’s findings in 2010, but does not appear to have implemented the recommendation to clear the contaminated area and provide compensation for the casualties caused and property damaged. An October 2013 report by HRW found the cluster munition remnants from the 2009 attack at al-Ma‘jalah were never cleared and killed four civilians and wounded 13 more since the strike occurred.[42]

[1] Statement of Yemen, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 19 May 2016. Notes by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

[2]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015. It also abstained during the first round of voting on the draft resolution in the UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security on 4 November 2015. “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution AC.1/70/L.49/Rev.1, 4 November 2015.

[3] Statement of Yemen, Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, Session on Victim Assistance, 23 May 2008. Notes by Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

[4] For details on Yemen’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 262.

[5]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/70/234, 23 December 2015. Yemen voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May and 18 December 2013, and in 2014.

[6] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, United Kingdom: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 848.

[7] Submission of the Republic of Moldova, UN Register of Conventional Arms, Report for Calendar Year 1994, 28 April 1995; International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 335; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2008, CD-edition (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).

[8] HRW conducted four research missions to Yemen since May 2015, documenting 16 cluster munition attacks that killed 19 civilians and wounded 66. Email from Belkis Wille, Senior Researcher, HRW, 22 May 2016. Between July 2015 and April 2016, Amnesty International documented 10 cases in which 16 civilians were injured or killed by cluster munition attacks and from their remnants. Nine were children, two of whom were killed. Amnesty International, “Children among civilians killed and maimed in cluster bomb minefields in Yemen,” 22 May 2016.

[9] The “ZP-39” is a dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) type submunition but its manufacturer and delivery system are not publicly known or reported by standard international reference materials. HRW, “Yemen: Cluster Munitions Harm Civilians,” 31 May 2015.

[10]اليمن : إسقاط طيران العدوان السعودي الامريكي قنابل مظلية محرمة دوليا,” 17 April 2015, HRW found these cluster munitions were used within 600 meters of villages, in possible violation of US law. HRW, “Yemen: Saudi-led Airstrikes Used Cluster Munitions,” 3 May 2015.

[11] Fatik Al-Rodaini (@Fatikr), “Types of bombs being parchuted [sic] by Saudi warplanes in Saada N #Yemen,” 27 April 2015, 12:50pm, Tweet.

[12] The US states that CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons are the only cluster munitions “that meet that our stringent requirements for unexploded ordnance rates, which may not exceed 1 percent.” Jeff Rathke, Acting Deputy Spokesperson, US State Department Press Conference, 4 May 2015.

[13] During a visit in May 2015, residents showed HRW two BLU-108 canisters and an unexploded submunition from the attack near the main road between Sanaa and Saada, about 100 meters south of al-Amar. At that location, HRW found a third empty canister in bushes nearby. HRW field researchers also identified BLU-108 with their “skeet” still attached following the 21 May 2015 attack in Sanaa and the 15 February 2016 attack in Amran. HRW, “Yemen: Cluster Munitions Harm Civilians,” 31 May 2015; and HRW, “Yemen: Saudis Using US Cluster Munitions,” 6 May 2016.

[14] A woman and two children were injured in their homes by CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons used on 12 December 2015, on the port town of Hodaida, while at least two civilians were wounded in an attack near al-Amar village in Saada governorate on 27 April 2015.

[16] Sudarsan Raghavan, “A cluster bomb made in America shatters lives in Yemen’s capital,” The Washington Post, 10 July 2016.

[17] Ben Anderson, Samuel Oakford, and Peter Salisbury, “Dead Civilians, Uneasy Alliances, and the Fog of Yemen's War,” VICE News, 11 March 2016.

[19] Statement of Yemen, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 19 May 2016. Notes by HRW.

[20] It also has not responded to a 27 March 2015 letter sent by the CMC to Saudi Arabia and other coalition members urging that they refrain from using cluster munitions in the military operation in Yemen. CMC, “Saudi Arabia and others must not use cluster munitions in Yemen,” Press Release, 27 March 2015.

[21] Asiri informed CNN on 4 May 2015 that Saudi Arabia had used CBU-105 in Yemen against armored vehicles only, describing it as an “anti-vehicle weapon” and stating, “We do not use it against persons. We don’t have any operation in the cities.” Ben Brumfield and Slma Shelbayah, “Report: Saudi Arabia used U.S.-supplied cluster bombs in Yemen,” CNN, 4 May 2015. Asiri acknowledged to The Financial Times that Saudi forces have used a US weapon that engages targets such as armored vehicles and is “equipped with self-destruct and self-deactivation features” but did not call it a cluster munition and argued it was being used to target vehicles and not people. “Saudi Arabia accused of using cluster bombs in Yemen airstrikes,” The Financial Times, 3 May 2015. Asiri told Bloomberg News that the categorization of the cluster munitions as banned “isn’t correct.” Alaa Shahine, “Saudis deny sending troops to Yemen, reject cluster-bomb report,” Bloomberg News, 3 May 2015. Asiri informed CNN on 11 January 2016 that it has used cluster munitions against concentrated rebel camps and armored vehicles, but never against civilian populations. “Rights group: Saudi Arabia used US cluster bombs on civilians,” CNN, 29 February 2016.

[22]New Report of US-Made Cluster Bomb Use by Saudis in Yemen,” The New York Times, 14 February 2016.

[23] A diplomatic representative of the UAE told the Cluster Munition Coalition that the UAE is not using CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons because they are banned by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. Interview with UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative, Geneva, 12 April 2016.

[24] A US Defense Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told U.S. News and World Report in August 2015 that “the U.S. is aware that Saudi Arabia has used cluster munitions in Yemen.”

[25] According to the Foreign Policy article, a senior US official said the administration acknowledges reports that the weapons had been used “in areas in which civilians are alleged to have been present or in the vicinity” and added: “We take such concerns seriously and are seeking additional information.” John Hudson, “White House blocks transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia,” Foreign Policy, 27 May 2016; and HRW, “US: Stop Providing Cluster Munitions,” 2 June 2016.

[26] Jeremy Binney, “UK rejects claim BL 755 cluster munition used in Yemen,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 26 May 2016.

[28] HRW, “Nations Condemn Cluster Munition Attacks,” 11 September 2015.

[29] Email from Priyanka Motaparthy, Emergencies Researcher, HRW, 14 February 2016.

[30] Countries that have expressed concern at or condemned the use of cluster munitions in Yemen through national statements include: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Portugal.

[31]The Dubrovnik declaration 2015: Spectemur agendo (judged by our actions),” annexed to the Final Report of the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, CCM/CONF/2015/7, 13 October 2015.

[32] Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Geneva, “CCM President expresses concern over the use of cluster munitions in Yemen,” 12 January 2016.

[33] Statement by Bert Koenders, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 29 February 2016.

[34] Costa Rica, “Costa Rica condena el uso de municiones en racimo en Yemen,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 5 May 2015; and statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings. Geneva, 23 June 2015. Notes by HRW.

[35] European Parliament. “Resolution on the humanitarian situation in Yemen,” 25 February 2016; and European Parliament, “Joint Motion for a Resolution on the situation in Yemen,” 8 July 2015. The earlier resolution was adopted without a vote.

[36] Interview with Abdul Raqeeb Fare, Deputy Director, Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC), Sanaa, 7 March 2013; interview with Ali al-Kadri, Director, YEMAC, in Geneva, 28 May 2013; and email from John Dingley, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Yemen, 9 July 2013.

[37]VICE on HBO Debriefs: Crude Awakening & Enemy of My Enemy,” aired on HBO Television Network, 19 May 2014; and Ben Anderson and Peter Salisbury, “US Cluster Bombs Keep Killing Civilians in Yemen,” VICE News, 16 May 2014. See also, “Saudi Arabia used cluster bombs against Houthi Shiites,” AhlulBayt News Agency, 19 May 2014.

[38] Multiple emails from Ben Anderson, Correspondent and Producer, VICE News, May 2014.

[39] Amnesty International published a series of photographs showing the remnants of the cruise missile, including the propulsion system, a BLU-97 submunition, and the payload ejection system, the latter of which is unique to the TLAM-D cruise missile. See also, “U.S. missiles killed civilians in Yemen, rights group says,” CNN, 7 June 2010.

[40] In December 2010, Wikileaks released a US Department of State cable dated 21 December 2009 that acknowledged the US had a role in the 17 December strike. The cable said that Yemeni government officials “continue to publicly maintain that the operation was conducted entirely by its forces, acknowledging U.S. support strictly in terms of intelligence sharing. Deputy Prime Minister Rashad al-Alimi told the Ambassador on December 20 that any evidence of greater U.S. involvement such as fragments of U.S. munitions found at the sites - could be explained away as equipment purchased from the U.S.” See “ROYG [Republic of Yemen Government] looks ahead following CT operations, but perhaps not far enough,” US Department of State cable SANAA 02230 dated 21 December 2009, released by Wikileaks on 4 December 2010.

[41] It also called on the Yemeni authorities to compensate victims and clear cluster munition remnants from the attack site. Republic of Yemen, Special Parliamentarian Investigating Committee Report On Security Events in the Province of Abyan, pp. 21–22 (En.), p. 16 (Ar.). Cited in HRW, “Between a Drone and Al-Qaeda,” 22 October 2013.

[42] The most recent recorded casualty was on 24 January 2012, when a young boy brought home a bomblet that exploded, killing his father and wounding him and his two brothers. HRW, “Between a Drone and Al-Qaeda,” 22 October 2013.

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.

Mine Action

Last updated: 15 November 2016

Contaminated by: landmines (heavy contamination), cluster munition remnants (medium contamination), and other unexploded ordnance.

Article 5 deadline: 1 March 2020
(Not on track to meet the deadline

Not a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions 

The escalation of conflict after March 2015 has resulted in further mine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination while at the same time halting systematic mine clearance operations and disrupting prospects for implementing plans set out in the Republic of Yemen’s second Article 5 deadline extension request.

Recommendations for action 

  • The Yemen Executive Mine Action Centre (YEMAC) should draw up a plan for the resumption of mine clearance, setting out priorities for survey and clearance.
  • YEMAC should increase survey and clearance capacity.
  • YEMAC teams should be trained in and apply land release methodologies.


Mine contamination 

Yemen is contaminated with mines from conflicts in 1962–1969 and 1970–1983, the mines that were laid in border areas between North and South Yemen before they unified in 1990, and those used in successive conflicts that erupted since 1994.[1] Mine contamination resulted from the 2010 insurgency in northern Saada governorate led by Abdul Malik al-Houthi[2] and the 2011 insurgency around southern Abyan by militants belonging to Ansar al-Sharia, linked to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.[3] YEMAC reported that insurgents in Saada had laid improvised mines, later clearing some but missing others.[4] In 2011, under former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s Republican Guard reportedly laid thousands of mines in the Bani Jarmoz area near Sana’a. The number of mines and extent of area affected remain to be determined. Information provided to YEMAC by local inhabitants in February 2014 suggested 25 villages were impacted.[5] The UN said mines were laid in the conflict that escalated in March 2015 in areas controlled by Houthi rebels and associated forces.[6] (See Yemen’s Mine Ban profile for further details.)

The extent of Yemen’s contamination is not known. Yemen’s second Article 5 deadline extension request, submitted in December 2013, stated that 107 mined areas covering some 8km2 were confirmed to contain antipersonnel mines, with 438 suspected hazardous areas (SHAs) covering a further 338km2.[7] It added it had still to survey the governorates of Amran, Hajjah, and Sana’a.[8] Yemen’s most recent Article 7 transparency report, for the year to the end of March 2014, claimed that 20 of Yemen’s 21 governorates are affected by antipersonnel and antivehicle mines and estimated contamination at almost 433km2. Most of the remaining areas were in Abyan, Ibb, and Saada governorates.[9] 

Cluster munition and other ERW contamination 

Yemen was contaminated with ERW, including cluster munition remnants, before 2015, but since the start of the latest conflict on 26 March 2015 the UN has confirmed that intensive air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition have significantly increased contamination and the threat to the civilian population.[10]

YEMAC reported in 2014 it had identified some 18km2 of suspected cluster munition hazardous areas in the northern Saada governorate bordering Saudi Arabia, but also knew of other areas of contamination in northwestern Hajjah governorate that it had not been able to survey.[11] Since the start of the latest round of hostilities in March 2015, international observers and researchers reported that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s land and aerial bombardments using a variety of cluster munitions had struck many areas of northwestern Yemen. YEMAC has identified heavy cluster munition contamination in Saada governorate as well as additional cluster munition contamination in Amran, Hodeida, Mawit, and Sanaa governorates[12] (see Yemen’s Cluster Munition Ban policy profile for further details). 

Program Management

A National Mine Action Committee (NMAC) is responsible for formulating policy, allocating resources, and developing a national mine action strategy.[13] It is chaired by the Minister of State (a member of the Cabinet), and brings together representatives of seven concerned ministries. The government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi was driven from power in Yemen in February 2015 and moved to Saudi Arabia, putting future mine action institutional arrangements into question.

YEMAC was established in Sanaa in January 1999 as NMAC’s implementing body, with responsibility for coordinating mine action in the country.[14] It is supported by a Regional Executive Mine Action Branch (REMAB) and a national training center in Aden along with another REMAB in al-Mukalla (Hadramout governorate). REMABs are responsible for field implementation of the national mine action plan.

Escalating political turmoil and conflict in Yemen since 2014 together with lack of funding have severely impaired YEMAC’s abilities to discharge its responsibilities.[15] YEMAC became two de facto organizations split between the southern city of Aden, controlled by the Saudi-led coalition and Yemen’s internationally recognized but exiled government, and the capital Sana’a, under the control of the Houthi. Heavy fighting between the two in 2015 severely hampered communications and coordination between YEMAC’s headquarters and its Aden branch.[16] From Sana’a, YEMAC planned to undertake operations in 2016 in five governorates of central and north Yemen (Amran, Hajjah, Sana’a, Saada, and Taiz), depending on security. YEMAC Aden sub-office planned operations in Abyan, Aden, Al Bayda, Lahej, and Taiz, and in and around Mukulla in Hadramout.[17]

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) provides an international technical advisor to work with NMAC and YEMAC to help develop a national strategy, set priorities, and define national standards under a four-year program agreed in 2013 and due to run until the end of February 2017. The project has two national staff in Sana’a and one each in Aden and Saada.[18]

Strategic planning 

Yemen’s 2013 request for a second five-year extension to its Article 5 deadline projected clearance of more than 1.6km2 of mined area a year between June 2014 and May 2019, and allowed another year for clearing any additional hazards identified during the extension period. The request called for total expenditure of more than US$65 million over the five years, equivalent to more than $13 million a year, compared with average annual expenditure of less than $2 million over the past five years.[19] These targets, however, were overtaken by the escalating turmoil in 2014 and the conflict that erupted at the end of March 2015.

Yemen has no strategic plan for tackling cluster munition remnants.

Deminer safety 

YEMAC acknowledges that its deminers and explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) personnel are not trained or equipped to deal with cluster munition remnants, an issue highlighted by the death of three personnel in a submunition incident in Hajjah governorate in May 2016.[20]

Land Release

YEMAC conducted some emergency spot clearance in 2015, but conflict and lack of funds disrupted operations and no systematic mine survey and clearance took place. Emergency operations were conducted by small, mobile teams in Sana’a and Amran, focusing on clearing unexploded ordnance in and around schools. Engineers serving with the Saudi-led coalition are also reported to have undertaken some mine clearance, for example at Aden’s Khormaksar airport. Legacy minefields were not considered a priority.[21]

Yemeni mine action officials told Human Rights Watch (HRW) that on 11 July 2015 they began emergency clearance of landmines and ERW from several residential districts of Aden previously controlled by Houthi forces, including Khormaksar, Jaulaa, and Green City in the Dar Saad neighborhood, and Bir Ahmad and Amran in al-Buraika. They said the clearance teams collected more than 140 mines on their first day in Amran. By 12 August 2015, the teams had removed 91 antipersonnel mines of two types from Aden as well as 666 antivehicle mines, 316 improvised explosive devices, and various grenades, shells, and fuzes. The officials also said that their vehicles, protective equipment, and supplies were all looted during the fighting in Aden.[22] 

YEMAC’s activities started to acquire funding and some momentum, recording clearance of 33,888m2 in the first half of 2016, most of it in May and June. However, for maximum impact teams focused on small, high-threat spot tasks close to populated areas. In addition, teams were aiming to clear abandoned explosive ordnance and old stockpiles to prevent harvesting. Legacy minefields were not a priority.[23] 

Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with the five-year extension granted in 2014), Yemen 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 2020. This is Yemen’s second extension to its Article 5 deadline and it will not meet this new deadline.

Yemen’s second extension request acknowledged from the outset that it was largely “based on speculation” and operations in 2014 fell well short of the extension request target of clearing 1.6km2 a year, hampered by insecurity and by an acute shortage of funds.[24] The sharp escalation in conflict after March 2015 has halted systematic mine clearance and reduced YEMAC to emergency clearance of mostly ERW and not mines.

Mine clearance in 2011–2015[25]


Area cleared (km2)













Note: N/R = Not reported


The Monitor gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review supported and published by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), which conducted mine action research in 2016 and shared it with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

[1] Email from Mansour al-Azi, Director, YEMAC, 28 August 2011.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for year to 31 March 2010), Form I.

[4] Article 7 Report (for year to 31 March 2012), Form I.

[5] “Yemen Initial Report to the President of the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties,” submitted by Kassem Ahmed al-Aggam, Chairman, National Mine Action Committee (NMAC), 30 March 2014.

[6] “Situation of human rights in Yemen,” Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, A/HRC/33/38, 4 August 2016, p. 10.

[7] Data presented in the extension request suggests that three governorates accounted for 87% of the total mined area: Saada had 274 SHAs covering 115km2; Shabwah, 11 SHAs covering 92km2; and Abyan, 42 SHAs covering more than 87km2.

[8] Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 17 December 2013, p. 12.

[9] Article 7 Report (for year to 31 March 2014), Form C.

[10] UN Development Programme (UNDP), “Grant Progress Report for the period 1 October 2015–31 December 2015,” 25 January 2016.

[11] Email from Ali al-Kadri, General Director, YEMAC, 20 March 2014.

[12] Interview with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, 17 February 2016.

[13] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form I, 31 March 2009.

[14] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 31 March 2008, p. 2.

[15] Interviews with mine action stakeholders requesting anonymity, February−June 2015.

[16] Interviews with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, and Stephen Bryant, Chief Technical Adviser, UNDP, in Geneva, 17 February 2016; and UNDP, “Support to eliminate the impact from mines and ERW − Phase IV, Annual Progress Report 2014,” undated but 2015.

[17] Email from Stephen Bryant, UNDP, 5 October 2016.

[18] Ibid., 31 July 2016.

[19] Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 17 December 2013, p. 15; and UNDP, “Support to Eliminate the Impact of Mines and Explosive Remnants of War in Yemen, Phase IV, Annual Progress Report 2014,” undated but 2015, p. 13.

[20] Interviews with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, in Geneva, 17 February 2016; and with Stephen Bryant, UNDP, in Geneva, 19 May 2016.

[21] Interviews with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, 17 February 2016; and with Stephen Bryant, UNDP, in Geneva, 17 February and 19 May 2016; and “Grant Progress Report, Q4 2015,” UNDP, received by email from Stephen Bryant, UNDP, 25 May 2016.

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

[23] Email from Stephen Bryant, UNDP, 31 July 2016.

[24] Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 17 December 2013, p. 15.

[25] Compiled by Mine Action Review from data provided by YEMAC (2012−2013) and UNDP (2014). No results were reported for 2010 or 2011.

Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 06 October 2016

In 2015, the United States contributed a total of US$2 million to support mine action activities in the Republic of Yemen. This represents an increase of 67% from 2014.[1] Since 2011, international assistance to mine action in Yemen totaled approximately $12 million.

Summary of support: 2011–2015[2]


International contributions ($)

% change from previous year




















[1] Email from Katherine Baker, Foreign Affairs Officer, Weapons Removal and Abatement, US Department of State, 12 September 2016

[2] See previous Monitor reports. 

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 09 October 2016

Victim assistance commitments

The Republic of Yemen is responsible for a significant number of landmine survivors, cluster munition victims, and survivors of other explosive remnants of war (ERW). Yemen has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty.

Yemen ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 26 March 2009.

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2015


Casualties in 2015

988 (2014: 24)

2015 casualties by outcome

168 killed; 820 injured (2014: 9 killed; 15 injured)

2015 casualties by device type

44 antivehicle mine, 2 undefined mine, 10 unexploded submunition, 932 unknown device

2015 cluster munition casualties

There were at least 104 new cluster munition casualties in Yemen in 2015
(see below for more details on these cluster munition casualties, including those occurring during attacks but which are not included in other mine/ERW (explosive remnants of war) casualty totals)


The Monitor identified 988 casualties (168 killed; 820 injured) from mines, ERW, and unexploded submunitions (mines/ERW) in 2015. The casualties included two boys, six civilian men, three security forces personnel from the United Arab Emirates, and two civilians whose gender was not recorded.[1]

The ICRC reported that 812 persons wounded by mines/ERW were admitted to healthcare facilities in 2015.[2] These casualties were reported to have occurred during the year, and thus were included in the Monitors’ annual global total of persons injured in 2015. The ICRC data was not disaggregated by age or gender; however, the ICRC noted that the majority of casualties were male.[3] Additional casualties were reported in the media and through NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Information on antivehicle mine casualties from the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Anti-Vehicle Mines (AVM) project included 39 casualties of antivehicle mines and 26 casualties of suspected, but not confirmed, antivehicle mines (unknown devices) in the total for 2015.[4]

It is likely that the actual number of casualties in Yemen in 2015 was significantly higher than that recorded. The majority of casualties reported were injured, while it appears that persons killed were significantly under-recorded. Media reports often only covered short periods of time and specific locations and incidents with high numbers of casualties; for example, 98 of the people killed by mines were recorded from mid-July to mid-August in three governorates: Aden, Abyan, and Lahij.[5]

In addition to the casualties recorded by the Monitor for 2015, a media report included an estimate of some 10 people killed and more than 80 injured by “landmine explosions” during a one-week period in Aden in July/August.[6]

The Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) registered 365 mine/ERW “victims” (293 men, 48 women, 20 boys, and four girls) across 14 governorates in 2015. It was not indicated how many were people killed or how many were injured among the casualties.[7]

The 2015 mine/ERW casualty total (988) represented a vast increase from past years. In 2014, the Monitor identified 24 casualties from mines/ERW from YEMAC casualty data and other sources. The ICRC reported five mine/ERW casualties received treatment in 2014.[8] However, there was likely significant underreporting due to the challenges to data collection caused by the intensified armed conflict.[9] Prior to 2015, the casualty total for 2012 of 263 casualties was the highest annual number recorded by the Monitor for Yemen since research began in 1999 and was due to the conflict and increased population movement in that year.[10]

Through the end of 2015, there were at least 6,854 mine/ERW casualties identified in Yemen.[11] A Landmine Impact Survey (LIS) identified 4,904 casualties through July 2000, of which 2,560 people were killed and 2,344 were injured.[12] In 2010, it was reported in the media that there had been 35,000 mine/ERW casualties in Yemen since 1995.[13]

Cluster munition casualties

In 2015, 104 casualties of cluster munitions were reported in Yemen. Of this total, 94 were casualties of cluster munition attacks: at least 14 people were killed in attacks (including six men, four women, and four children); another 80 people were injured in attacks, including at least five children. In addition, unexploded submunitions injured at least 10 people, including five children.[14] Of the total cluster munition casualties recorded in 2015, 89% (93) were civilians, and the remaining 11 were security forces.

Unexploded submunition casualties continued to be reported into 2016, with at least 16 casualties (six killed and 10 injured) from unexploded submunitions reported to June. Three of those casualties were deminers and the remainder were civilians. The number of cluster munition casualties during extensive cluster munition attacks in 2016 remained uncertain as of mid-July.[15]

Prior to the 2015–2016 use of cluster munitions, a cluster munition attack in Yemen in December 2009 was reported to have killed 55 people, including 14 women and 21 children.[16] In 2013, it was reported that unexploded submunitions remaining from the 2009 strike had killed four civilians and injured 13, through January 2012.[17]

Victim Assistance

In October 2013, there were at least 3,539 mine/ERW survivors in Yemen, many of them without adequate healthcare or livelihoods.[18] Updated national data on the total number of mine/ERW survivors has not been reported since 2013. However, the Monitor recorded an additional 835 survivors in 2014 and 2015.

Victim assistance during the Cartagena Action Plan 2010–2014

Each year, the victim assistance department’s program planned to reach a set number of survivors, though it nearly always fell short of meeting its target. Survivors not assisted through this program have faced significant challenges to access assistance due to the centralization of services in urban centers, far from where most survivors are. Women have faced particular challenges since cultural norms generally require that they travel with a male family member.

The Yemen Association of Landmine Survivors (YALS) is the mine action center’s implementing partner for economic reintegration activities. However, in most years, there has not been sufficient funding to implement this component as planned. Psychosocial support has never been included in the victim assistance department’s program and has not been widely available in Yemen. None-the-less, some local NGOs, including YALS, have offered this support when possible, given limited budgets.

Increasing levels of violence and insecurity led to the suspension of the victim assistance program in 2011 and prevented many survivors from traveling to needed services. For example, the Aden Rehabilitation Center, one of only four in the country, suspended its outreach program and its plans to build a new rehabilitation center, with support from ICRC, remained on hold through 2013.

YEMAC reached a significantly larger number of survivors in 2013 than in past years, facilitating their access to medical care and physical rehabilitation. However, as the security situation worsened once again near the end of 2013, most survivors continued to face significant challenges in accessing all needed services. YALS lacked sufficient funding to address the demand for its economic inclusion and psychosocial support programs.

No progress was identified in the implementation of the National Victim Assistance Strategic Plan 2010–2015 and survivors did not participate in the coordination and planning of victim assistance.

Victim assistance in 2015

The conflict in 2015 exacerbated the ongoing lack of services and access to services for survivors. Yemen’s medical system was overwhelmed to the point of collapse in 2015. Survivors lacked healthcare. A large number of survivors and families of casualties had no regular sources of income. As a result, they could not access long-term medical, assistive devices, or rehabilitation due to the high costs.

Assessing victim assistance needs

A survey by the Yemen Mine Action Center (YEMAC) identified 3,539 landmine survivors in Yemen as of October 2013, with 700 amputees on a waiting list for prosthetic devices. At least 755 survivors of armed conflict, including mine/ERW survivors were surveyed in Abyan.[19] In 2015, 365 mine/ERW victims were registered by YEMAC, even though the security situation prevented a victim assistance survey to international standards.[20] The Danish Refugee Council collected some data on mine/ERW casualties while providing referrals to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as necessary.[21]

Victim assistance coordination[22]

Government coordinating body/focal point


Coordinating mechanism

Victim Assistance Advisory Committee (inactive):  YEMAC with ministries of health, insurance, and social affairs; Mine Action Working Group


National Victim Assistance Strategic Plan 2010–2014 (inactive)


Ongoing conflict throughout 2015 caused all victim assistance activities including coordination to stop in Yemen. YEMAC delegated coordination with the Ministry of Social Affair’s Disability Fund (MOSUL) to YALS in 2014.[23]

In 2015, no significant progress was made in implementing or replacing the National Victim Assistance Strategic Plan 2010–2014 due to the conflict.

As of 1 July 2016, Yemen had not provided its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report for 2015.

Survivor inclusion

In 2015, the planning and coordination of victim assistance was suspended due to the ongoing conflict.[24] Due to the conflict, up to 100 local disability organizations had ceased operations.[25]

Through YALS, survivors were involved in implementing income-generating projects, collecting data on the needs of other survivors and in distributing emergency food rations and other assistance.[26]

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities[27]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2015



Data collection, referrals, and support for medical attention and physical rehabilitation; support for accommodation and transportation

Decreased due to security situation

Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs


Social Fund for Development and the Fund for the Care and Rehabilitation of the Disabled assisted disability organizations

Reach limited due to security situation

Aden Rehabilitation Center/Aden Association of People with Special Needs

National NGO

Inclusive education, and advocacy on the CRPD outreach services; all services gender- and age-appropriate


Yemen Association of Landmine Survivors (YALS)

National NGO

Peer support, economic inclusion program, and advocacy

Decreased due to security situation and reduced funding

Raqeep Organization for Human Rights

National NGO

Awareness of rights of mine/ERW survivors, documenting rights violations, advocacy


Arab Human Rights Foundation (AHRF)

National NGO

Psychosocial support

Ongoing at reduced levels when security situation permits

Save the Children

International NGO

Psychosocial support, mobility aids, support to vulnerable families

Ongoing when security situation permits

Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF)

International NGO

Emergency and ongoing medical care

Inhibited by security situation and attacks on facilities

Handicap International (HI)

International NGO

Psychosocial support, mobility aids, physical rehabilitation, support to three health facilities

Ongoing when security situation permits


International organization

Emergency relief, support for emergency medical care, and support for materials and technical training for four physical rehabilitation centers; building modifications for gender/age appropriate assistance

Inhibited by security situation


Emergency and ongoing medical care

Yemen’s medical system was overwhelmed to the point of collapse in 2015. The ongoing conflict dramatically increased demand for emergency and ongoing medical care beyond the capacity of the medical system. In addition to increased demand for emergency medical care, import restrictions and local blockades prevented humanitarian aid, fuel, and medical supplies from reaching populations affected by the conflict.[28] Health facilities were also damaged during the conflict in what were reported to have been targeted attacks. MSF reported multiple attacks on their health facilities.[29] In mid-October 2015, the UN reported that nearly 600 health facilities had ceased operations due to damage or lack of supplies, fuel, and staff. In addition, 27 ambulances had been hijacked and almost 30 health workers killed or injured.[30] In 2015, conflict injured persons, including mine/ERW survivors, struggled to access emergency and ongoing medical care. Women faced additional challenges accessing medical care due to the lack of gender-sensitive services.[31]

The ICRC supported over 100 hospitals and health facilities in 15 governorates with donations of medical and surgical supplies in 2015. The ICRC organized emergency room trauma and war surgery trainings for medical professionals and surgeons from some 20 hospitals.[32] However, the security situation prevented the ICRC from holding a planned first aid training course with YEMAC.[33] MSF managed 11 hospitals or health centers and supported another 18 health centers in Yemen in 2015. In the last five months of 2015, the MSF hospital in Aden provided emergency surgery to more than 80 mine/ERW survivors.[34] The YEMAC referred casualties to three specific hospitals, two in Sana’a and one in Aden, for treatment in 2015.[35]

Physical rehabilitation

Poor security conditions and the lack of service providers were key challenges for access to rehabilitation. A lack of female rehabilitation professionals prevented women from accessing needed services.[36] Gender considerations were included in the composition of YEMAC victim assistance support teams, which included female survey assessors to facilitate the identification and interview of women and girls.[37]

The ICRC continued to provide support to four rehabilitation centers throughout the country. Approximately 27,000 patients received physiotherapy treatment from ICRC-supported centers. The centers also produced more than 650 prostheses. The ICRC continued to sponsor formal prosthetics and orthotics training for six students.[38] The MSF hospital in Aden provided some physiotherapy services to war-injured persons during 2015.[39] Handicap International’s (HI) early rehabilitation activities included the provision of assistive devices and training for healthcare staff.[40] In 2015, HI supported three health facilities in Sana’a to provide physical therapy and delivered more than 636 mobility aid devices.[41] YEMAC provided survivors with 321 wheelchairs and 44 pairs of crutches in 2015 from existing stocks; obtaining materials from outside the country was difficult due to ongoing conflict.[42]

Economic inclusion

In 2015, YALS undertook social and economic inclusion activities, including supporting the education of 57 survivors. The ICRC supplied sewing machines to YALS for economic inclusion activities. However, financial difficulties forced the closure of a YALS sewing workshop in Aden. YALS also distributed emergency food rations to approximately 100 survivors in June 2015.[43]

Psychological support

The conflict has increased the need for psychological support throughout 2015 and into 2016. Services were unable to meet the demand for counselling, peer support, and other mental health services.[44] The MSF-managed hospital in Aden offered some mental health services to conflict-affected persons.[45] HI implemented in-patient psychological support programs for survivors and other war-injured persons at three medical facilities in 2015.[46] Save the Children provided services including psychosocial support to almost 100 survivors in 2015.[47] YALS and a few national NGOs, such as the Arab Human Rights Foundation, continued to provide psychosocial support to mine survivors in some areas of Yemen.[48] A HI project was designed to include psychosocial support activities for persons with disabilities (in particularly conflict-injured individuals and their caregivers) and other potential at-risk groups.[49] In 2015, HI provided 910 persons (493 persons with injuries and 417 caregivers) with psychosocial support.[50]

Water, sanitation, and hygiene

In 2015, three out of four Yemenis struggled to meet their basic water, sanitation, and hygiene needs. Fuel shortages prevented piped water systems from reaching the population and supplies of clean water from water trucks were priced out of reach for most survivors and their families.[51] Water, sanitation, and hygiene kits were among the services provided to survivors and their families by Save the Children.[52]

Laws and policies

Legislation protects the rights of persons with disabilities, but they were poorly enforced and discrimination remained. No national law mandated accessibility of buildings for persons with disabilities.[53]

The Disability Fund in Sanaa, an independent body under Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour supervision, remained operational in some areas of the country despite limitations caused by the conflict. It supported a limited number of mine/ERW survivors to access education and surgery.

[1] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 526; Human Rights Watch, “Yemen: New Houthi Landmine Use,” 18 November 2015; “Three Emirati soldiers killed in Yemen,” Middle East Eye, 8 August 2015; Iona Craig, “Yemeni rebels 'mining civilian areas',” IRIN, 19 August 2015; Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), “Anti-Vehicle Mine Incidents Map,” undated; and email from Rima Kamal, ICRC Yemen, 7 June 2016.

[2] The 812 mine/ERW survivors were among of 28,565 weapon-wounded persons in total admitted to ICRC-supported healthcare facilities in 2015; ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 526; and email from Rima Kamal, ICRC Yemen, 7 June 2016.

[3] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 526; and email from Rima Kamal, ICRC Yemen, 7 June 2016.

[4] Data received by email from Ursign Hofmann, Policy Advisor, GICHD 7 July 2016; and GICHD/SIPRI interactive map, “Anti-vehicle mines (AVM),” 2016. To complement data from states and operators, the GICHD/SIPRI research team collected news items on antivehicle mines incidents. Casualty news items were included either because the reporter specifically identified the accident as antivehicle mine-related or because a set of criteria (such as incidents on roads outside of a city involving a vehicle, but excluding remotely-detonated bombs and causing multiple casualties) was strongly indicative of an antivehicle mine-related incident. In the latter case, displayed incidents are referred to as “suspected” antivehicle mines incidents. Due to a potentially lower degree of reliability in general and particularly in terms of location and device type, GICHD/SIPRI disaggregated media reports from reports from states/operators.

[5] Iona Craig, “Yemeni rebels 'mining civilian areas',” IRIN, 19 August 2015.

[6] This reporting was an estimate and lacked information on the means of activation and other details and thus has not been included in 2015 casualty totals. See, Nasser Al-Sakkaf, “An invisible killer on Aden’s streets,” Middle East Eye, 6 August 2015.

[7] This data lacked information on the means of activation and other details. Data is therefore considered to be insufficient to determine if it fits within the Monitor casualty definition and thus has not been included in 2015 casualty totals. Interviews with Ahmed Alawi, Executive Officer, YEMAC, Sanaa, Yemen, 29 February 2016, and 15 March 2016, and in Geneva, 19 May 2016; and Republic of Yemen, Victim Assistance Statement, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, 19 May 2016.

[8] ICRC, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, May 2015, p. 515.

[9] Ongoing conflict in both the northern and southern parts of Yemen prevented YEMAC from collecting and verifying casualty data from these areas. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “Humanitarian Bulletin Yemen,” Issue30, 11 August–3 September 2014.

[10] Wethaq Foundation for Civil Orientation, “Landmine Victims in Kushar District, Hajja: Death Creeping Towards Innocent People,” undated but 2012; “Landmine victims in southern Yemen on the rise,” Reliefweb, 13 June 2012; and “Wanting to go home but threatened by landmines, Ahim area IDPs caught in limbo,” Yemen Times, 7 February 2013.

[11] Monitor media scanning for calendar year 2013; interviews with Ali Al-Kadri, YEMAC, in Geneva, 28 May 2013; and with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, 25 February 2014; email from Yuko Osawa, UNICEF Yemen, 7 May 2014; Monitor media scanning for calendar year 2012; Wethaq Foundation for Civil Orientation, “Landmine Victims in Kushar District, Hajja: Death Creeping Towards Innocent People,” undated but 2012; UNDSS, “Yemen Daily Report,” 27 March 2012, and 2 April 2012; email from Henry Thompson, Danish Demining Group Yemen, 15 March 2013; telephone interview with Ahmed Aalawi, YEMAC, 13 March 2013; UNICEF, “Unexploded ordnance and landmines killing more children in Yemen,” Sanaa, 20 April 2012; Monitor interview with neighbor of victim, 27 March 2012; Monitor media monitoring 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011; and interview with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, Sanaa, 8 March 2011.

[12] Survey Action Center, “Landmine Impact Survey Republic of Yemen Executive Summary,” July 2000, p. 15.

[13] Shatha Al-Harazi, “Yemen landmines kill 12 children this year,” UNICEF New Zealand,22 December 2010.

[14] Human Rights Watch (HRW), “Yemen: Cluster Munition Rockets Kill, Injure Dozens,” 26 August 2015.

[15] See, HRW, “Yemen: Coalition Drops Cluster Bombs in Capital,” 7 January 2016; and HRW, “Yemen: Saudis Using US Cluster Munitions,” 6 may 2016; Kate Allen, “British-made cluster bombs are turning up in Yemen. Will Cameron tell us why?,” The Guardian (Opinion), 23 May 2016; and Sudarsan Raghavan, “A cluster bomb made in America shattered lives in Yemen’s capital,” The Washington Post,10 July 2016.

[16] There was a credible report of a cluster munition strike in Yemen in December 2009 that killed 55 people, including 14 women and 21 children. Amnesty International, “Wikileaks cable corroborates evidence of US airstrikes in Yemen,” 1 December 2010. In addition, although there is no specific data available on casualties, cluster munitions remnants have been recorded in northwestern Yemen, apparently following use in 2009/2010 in Sadaa governorate near the border with Saudi Arabia. Interviews with Abdul Raqeeb Fare, Deputy Director, YEMAC, Sanaa, 7 March 2013; and with Ali al-Kadri, YEMAC, in Geneva, 28 May 2013; and email from John Dingley, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Yemen, 9 July 2013.

[17] HRW, “Between a Drone and Al-Qaeda,” 22 October 2013; and interview with Ahmed Alawi, Executive Officer, YEMAC, 25 February 2014. Previously, no confirmed cluster munition remnants casualties had been reported. Emails from Yuko Osawa, UNICEF Yemen, 7 May 2014; and from from Ali Al-Kadri, YEMAC, 5 October 2013.

[18] OCHA, “Humanitarian Bulletin Yemen,” Issue 23, 8 January–7 February 2014.

[19] Ibid.; and interview with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, 25 February 2014.

[20] Interviews with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, 29 February 2016; in Sana’a, Yemen, 15 March 2016; in Geneva, 19 May 2016; and statement of Yemen, Session on Victim Assistance, Intersessional Meeting of the Mine Ban Treaty, 19 May 2016.

[21] Email from Danish Refugee Council Aden office, 13 April 2016.

[22] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 31 March 2013 to 31 March 2014), Form I; and interview with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, 25 February 2014.

[23] Interview with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, 19 May 2016.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Interview with Raaja Al Masaabi, Chairperson, Arab Human Rights Foundation, Sana’a, 5 April 2016.

[26] Interviews with Mohamed Alabdali, Vice-Chairman, YALS, Saan’a, 5 March 2016; and with Lamees Omer Ali, Chairperson, YALS Aden branch, Aden, 4April 2016.

[27] MSF, “Yemen: Crisis Update,” 23 December 2015; and MSF, “Yemen: Crisis Update,” 3 March 2016; ICRC, “The International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen: Facts and Figures January – December 2015,” 29 January 2016; ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016; interviews with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, 29 February 2016; and 15 March 2016; email from Majda Abdul Majeed, Save the Children International, Aden office, 10 April 2016; HI, “Yemen: Helping war survivors both physically and mentally,” undated but 2016; and interviews with Mohamed Alabdali, YALS, 5 March 2016; with Lamees Omer Ali, YALS Aden branch, 4April 2016; and with Raaja Al Masaabi, Chairperson, Arab Human Rights Foundation, 5 April 2016.

[28] United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview 2016,” November 2015, p. 7.

[29] These health faculties included the hospital in Haydan, Saada governorate that was destroyed in October 2015, a tented clinic in Houban, Taiz governorate that was bombed in December 2015, and a hospital in Razeh that was shelled in January 2016. MSF, “Yemen: Crisis Update,” 23 December 2015; and MSF, “Yemen: Crisis Update,” 3 March 2016.

[30] OCHA, “Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview 2016,” November 2015, p. 9.

[31] OCHA, “Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview 2016,” November 2015, p. 9.

[33] Interviews with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, Sana’a, 29 February 2016; and 15 March 2016.

[34] MSF, “Yemen: Crisis Update,” 23 December 2015.

[35] Interview with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, in Geneva, 19 May 2016.

[36] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, May 2015.

[39] MSF, “Yemen: Crisis Update,” 3 March 2016.

[40] HI, “Operational Coordinator - YEMEN,” employment offer, 23 March 2016.

[41] HI, “Yemen: Helping war survivors both physically and mentally,” undated but 2016; and email from Frank Lavigne, Head of Mission – Yemen, HI, 18 July 2016.

[42] Interviews with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, Sana’a, 29 February 2016; and 15 March 2016.

[43] Interviews with Mohamed Alabdali, YALS, Saan’a, 5 March 2016; and with Lamees Omer Ali, YALS Aden branch, Aden, 4April 2016.

[44] OCHA, “Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview 2016,” November 2015, p. 9.

[45] MSF, “Yemen: Crisis Update,” 3 March 2016.

[47] Email from Majda Abdul Majeed, Save the Children International Aden office, 10 April 2016.

[48] Interviews with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, 25 February 2014; with Mohammed Alabdali, YALS, 15 February 2014; and with Raaja Al Masaabi, Arab Human Rights Foundation, Sana’a, 5 April 2016.

[49] HI, “Operational Coordinator - YEMEN,” employment offer, 23 March 2016; and “Psychosocial Technical Advisor- YEMEN,” employment offer, 23 March 2016.

[50] Email from Frank Lavigne, HI, 18 July 2016.

[51] OCHA, “Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview 2016,” November 2015, pp. 8–9.

[52] Email from Majda Abdul Majeed, Save the Children International, Aden office, 10 April 2016.

[53] United States Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Yemen,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016.