Argentina

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 July 2017

Summary: Non-signatory Argentina adopted the convention in 2008, but it has not undertaken any steps to accede. Argentina again abstained from voting on a key UN resolution on the convention in December 2016. It has participated in almost all of the convention’s meetings.Argentina imported cluster munitions in the past, but states it has never used or exported them. Argentina also states that it destroyed its stocks of cluster munitions before the convention and has no intention to produce them in the future.

Policy

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

Argentine officials rarely comment on the government’s position on accession to the convention and last did so in November 2015.[1] At the UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in November 2015, Argentina explained the reasons why it abstained from the vote on a UNGA resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which calls on states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.”[2] It said “we do not find ourselves in a position to be able to sign” the convention at this time.[3] In December 2016, Argentina abstained from the vote on a similar UNGA resolution on the treaty banning cluster munitions but did not explain the reason for its abstention.[4]

Argentina actively participated in the Oslo Process and joined in the consensus adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the conclusion of the negotiations in Dublin on 30 May 2008, but was absent from the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008.[5]

Argentina said it participated in the creation of the treaty in order to lobby for “a total ban” on cluster munitions achieved on “a non-discriminatory basis.” It has listed the same concerns that it has held since the convention was adopted in 2008, with respect to its definition of a cluster munition and the provision guiding relations with non-signatories (Article 21 on “interoperability”). Argentina regards the convention’s prohibitions as “discriminatory in nature” as they are not “comprehensive” and “specifically define one excluded category developed by some countries.” Argentina also alleged that the convention permits or allows States Parties to participate in joint military operations with countries that use cluster munitions. It claimed the convention “dispenses with the notion of complicity, which arises when one party participates in a prohibited or banned act.”

At the beginning of the Oslo Process, Argentina supported technical solutions to the cluster munition problem, noting that it was developing a new generation of cluster munitions with low failure rates.[6] It supported a definition that would have exempted cluster munitions containing submunitions equipped with self-destruct mechanisms.[7] During the process its position evolved into support of a broad definition prohibiting all cluster munitions and a total ban without exceptions.[8] Argentina strongly objected Article 21 of the convention and has long described this provision as a potential loophole allowing for cluster munition use.[9]

Argentina has participated as an observer in all of the convention’s Meetings of States Parties, including the Sixth Meeting of State Parties in Geneva in September 2016. It attended the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in September 2015 and participated in the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2011–2014 as well as regional workshops on the convention, most recently in Santiago, Chile, in December 2013.

In October 2014, Argentina—in its capacity as president of the Security Council for that month— expressed concern at the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine, stating, “We are naturally deeply perturbed by the reports of the use of cluster bombs in densely populated areas.”[10] Argentina has also voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2015.[11] It has voted in favor of Human Rights Council resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in July 2015.[12]

Argentina is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

CMC member Association for Public Policy (Asociación Para Politicas Publicas, APP) campaigns for Argentina’s accession to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Argentina is not known to have ever used or exported cluster munitions. It does not currently produce or stockpile cluster munitions, but in the past imported and stockpiled them, and had the beginnings of a production program.

In 2009, Argentina stated that, “the Republic of Argentina doesn’t have cluster munitions, it hasn’t utilized or transferred them.”[13] The government has said it has no intention to produce cluster munitions in the future.[14]

In the past, the Armed Forces Center for Technical and Scientific Research (Centro de Investigaciones Técnicas y Científicas de las Fuerzas Armadas, CITEFA) developed and initiated production of the CME 155mm artillery projectile, which contains 63 dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions equipped with a backup pyrotechnic self-destruct mechanism.[15] According to military officials, this effort did not reach full-scale production and was dismantled, and the projectiles were never fielded by the armed forces of Argentina.[16]

In May 2007, Argentina stated that it had already destroyed its stocks of cluster munitions.[17] Military officials informed Human Rights Watch (HRW) in September 2006 that stocks of French BLG-66 Belouga and US Rockeye air-dropped bombs were destroyed by 2005.[18]



[1] At a regional workshop on cluster munitions in Santiago, Chile, in December 2013, a representative from Argentina said there has been no change in the government’s position on joining since it adopted the convention in 2008. Statement of Argentina, Regional Workshop on Cluster Munitions, Santiago, 12 December 2014. Notes by the CMC.

[2] UN, “Speakers in First Committee Decry Destructive Force of Indiscriminate Weapons While Some Defend Need for National Protection, Approving 11 More Drafts,” GA/DIS/3540, 4 November 2015; and statement of Argentina, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 4 November 2015. See, UN, “Record of First Committee 24th meeting,” A/C.1/70/PV.24, 4 November 2015.

[3] Statement of Argentina, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 4 November 2015. See, UN, “Record of First Committee 24th meeting,” A/C.1/70/PV.24, 4 November 2015.

[4] UNGA Resolution 71/45, “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” 5 December 2016.

[5] For details on Argentina’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 185–188.

[6] Statement of Argentina, Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions, 22–23 February 2007. Notes by the CMC/Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

[7] Statement of Argentina, Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 23–25 May 2007. Notes by the CMC/WILPF; and CMC, “CMC Report on the Lima Conference and Next Steps,” May 2007.

[8] In September 2011, Wikileaks released a United States (US) Department of State cable showing that US officials met with Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the Dublin negotiations of the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 15 May 2008. According to the cable, “The Argentine Foreign Ministry theoretically supports a total ban on cluster munitions but, in fact, expects and is counting on a decision of partial prohibition.” “Argentina on the Oslo Process,” US Department of State cable dated 19 May 2008, released by Wikileaks on 1 September 2011.

[9] CMC Latinoamerica regional briefing, Beirut, 15 September 2011. Notes by the CMC; and letter from the CMC to Jorge Enrique Tariana, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 31 May 2010. See also, Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 186–187.

[11]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 70/234, 23 December 2015. Argentina voted in favor of similar resolutions on 18 December 2013 and in 2014.

[13] Letter from Amb. Jorge Argüello, Permanent Mission of Argentina to the UN in New York, 13 March 2009.

[14] Interview with Alfredo Forti, Ministry of Defense, Buenos Aires, 31 March 2010.

[15] CITEFA, “Report Referring to Employment of Submunitions” (“Informe Referido a Empleo de Submuniciones”), undated, provided to Pax Christi Netherlands by the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the UN in Geneva, 14 June 2005; and Argentina, “Replies to Document CCW/GGE/X/WG.1/WP.2, Entitled ‘International Humanitarian Law and ERW,’” CCW/GGE/XI/WG.1/WP.10, 2 August 2005, p. 3.

[16] Interview with Navy Capitan (ret.) Carlos Nielsen, Advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, Buenos Aires, 31 March 2011; and remarks made to Human Rights Watch (HRW) by members of the Argentine delegation to the Latin American Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions, San José, 5 September 2007.

[17] Statement of Argentina, Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 24 May 2007. Notes by the CMC/WILPF.

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 30 October 2011

Policy

Argentina signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified it on 14 December 1999, becoming a State Party on 1 June 2000. Argentina has not enacted domestic legislation to implement the Mine Ban Treaty. In the past, Argentina has indicated that it was studying ways to incorporate penalties on the use, stockpiling, production or transferring of antipersonnel mines into Argentina law.[1] Law No. 4745/01 prohibits the use of antipersonnel mines by the armed forces.[2]

Argentina submitted its 14th Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report in April 2011.

Argentina attended the Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva in November–December 2010, as well as the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in June 2011.

Argentina is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war, and submitted its Article 13 report for Amended Protocol II in April 2011.

Production, transfer, stockpiling, and retention

Argentina is a former producer and exporter of antipersonnel mines. Production took place at the General Directorate of Military Industries (Dirección General de Fabricaciones Militares) of the Ministry of Defense. Argentina has stated it produced only one type of antipersonnel mine, the FMK-1 plastic blast mine, at the “Fray Luis Beltrán” factory between 1976 and 1990, manufacturing 18,970 FMK-1 mines during this period.[3] Equipment formerly used for production is now being used to make reinforced fuzes, detonators for grenades, estopines (initiators), and other items.[4] According to the United States (US) Department of Defense, Argentina had manufactured two other types of antipersonnel mines: the MAPG pressure or tripwire-initiated mine and the MAPPG bounding mine.[5] The government never officially declared production of these mines which date from the 1940s/1950s, but an official said the mines could have been imported and re-catalogued to make their identification easier.[6]

Based on Article 7 reports and mines found in the Malvinas/Falkland Islands, Argentina imported antipersonnel mines from Libya (MAP and TRA), Israel (Number 4), Italy (SB-33), and Spain (P4B). Argentina exported nearly 3,000 FMK-1 antipersonnel mines to Honduras. An export moratorium was instituted in March 1995, which has since been superseded by the Mine Ban Treaty. Argentina sold weapons to Croatia, including 5,750 antipersonnel and antivehicle mines several months before the moratorium was instituted.[7]

Argentina formerly possessed a stockpile, but on 4 December 2003, Argentina completed the destruction of its 90,919 antipersonnel mines.[8] Argentina originally indicated it would retain 13,025 mines for training, but decided to convert most of these mines to inert “exercise mines.” At the end of 2010, Argentina reported that it retains 1,046 mines, after destroying 96 during training exercises in 2010.[9]

Use

Argentina last used landmines during the Malvinas/Falkland Islands war in 1982, and it has stated that the islands are the only mine-affected part of Argentina (see also United Kingdom Country Profile). According to Argentina’s May 2001 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, 20,000 EXPAL P-4-B, and FMK-1 antipersonnel mines were laid during the 1982 conflict.[10] In July 2002, it added SB-33 antipersonnel mines to the list of mines it used in the islands.[11]

During the confrontation with Chile in 1978, the Chilean army laid mines along the border; it is unknown whether the Argentine army laid mines as well.[12]

 


[1] Interview with Santiago Villalba, Secretary, Direction of International Safety, Nuclear and Space Affairs Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Buenos Aires, 19 December 2000, and successive Article 7 reports, Form A.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 23 July 2002.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, 12 May 2003. The April 2004 Article 7 report does not include Form E.

[4] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, 12 May 2003.

[5] US Department of Defense, “Mine Facts,” CD-ROM.

[6] Email from Mariela Adriana Fogante, DIGAN, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 October 2004.

[7] Lawrence Whelan, “Latin arms shipped to Croatia,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 1 August 1996, p. 14. The government said that the final destinations of the weapons were supposed to be Panama and Venezuela, and it had been deceived by an intermediary company which had coordinated the operation. But federal justice authorities ordered the arrest of former executives of the company, which is publicly-owned, and the former Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministers were charged.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 13 April 2004.

[9] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 15 April 2011.

[10] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 23 July 2002. The previous year, Argentina reported that it had laid 20,000 P4B and FMK-1 antipersonnel mines during the conflict. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 August 2000.

[11] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 23 July 2002.

[12] Interview with Osvaldo Gazzola, Advisor, Office of Congressmen Alfredo Bravo and Jorge Rivas, 14 February 2000.

Mine Action

Last updated: 31 October 2017

Contaminated by: landmines (medium contamination) and unexploded ordnance, including cluster munition remnants, all in the Malvinas/Falkland Islands.

Article 5 deadline: 1 January 2020
(Not on track to meet deadline)

Contamination

The Republic of Argentina reports that it is mine-affected by virtue of its claim to sovereignty over the Malvinas/Falkland Islands.[1] Upon ratifying the Mine Ban Treaty, Argentina submitted a declaration reaffirming “its rights of sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich and the surrounding maritime areas which form an integral part of the territory.”[2] It reiterated this declaration at the Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties.[3] The islands were mined, mostly by Argentinian forces, during its armed conflict with the United Kingdom (UK) in 1982. Argentina has reported that no other territory under its jurisdiction or control is mine-affected.[4]

Program Management

Argentina has a Humanitarian Demining Office under the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces and a Humanitarian Demining Training Centre (Centro de Entrenamiento de Desminado Humanitario).

Land Release

Argentina has argued that it is unable to meet its Article 5 obligations because it has not had access to the Malvinas/Falklands due to the “illegal occupation” by the UK. It did, however, make an offer more than a decade ago to support demining of the islands. In May 2016, Argentina reiterated its claim of sovereignty over the islands and declared that if the UK entered into negotiations over sovereignty that an agreement on demining could be reached between the two countries.[5]

Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, and in accordance with the 10-year extension granted in 2009 by the Second Review Conference, Argentina is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 January 2020.

At the Second Review Conference, Argentina said it was unable to meet its Article 5 obligations because it did not have access to the Malvinas/Falklands due to the “illegal occupation” by the UK. Argentina said that for this reason it had no other choice than to request an extension to its clearance deadline.[6]

The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (www.mineactionreview.org), which has conducted some mine action research in 2017, including on survey and clearance, and shared all its resulting landmine and cluster munition reports with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

 



[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 8 April 2010.

[2] Ibid., 31 August 2000.

[3] Statement of Argentina, Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 30 November 2009.

[4] Statement of Argentina, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Santiago, 29 November 2016.

[5] Statement of Argentina, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Committee on Article 5 Implementation, Geneva, 17 May 2016.

[6] Statement of Argentina, Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 30 November 2009.