Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 26 October 2017


The Republic of Iraq acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 15 August 2007, becoming a State Party on 1 February 2008.

Iraq has not enacted legislation to implement the Mine Ban Treaty, but a government official said in 2012 that draft legislation was being prepared.[1] Iraq had not previously indicated if national implementation legislation to enforce the treaty’s prohibitions domestically was being pursued or if existing laws were considered adequate.[2]

The Iraqi Alliance for Disability Organizations (IADO) has continued to promote a landmine ban and organized an event together with the government of Iraq in April 2015 to celebrate the Mine Ban Treaty’s achievements and to consider implementation challenges as part of the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.[3]

Iraq submitted an annual Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report in April 2017.

Since the Second Review Conference in 2009, Iraq has attended almost every meeting of the Mine Ban Treaty.[4] It participated in the convention’s Third Review Conference in Maputo, Mozambique, in June 2014, where it made statements on clearance and during the high-level segment.[5] Iraq attended the Mine Ban Treaty’s Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties in Santiago in November–December 2016. At the intersessional meetings in Geneva in June 2017, Iraq filed a request to extend its deadline for fulfilling Article 5 requirements by 10 years, which was not granted.[6]

Iraq is a party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Iraq ratified the Convention on Conventional Weapons and all its protocols on 24 September 2014.

Production and transfer

Iraq produced antipersonnel mines in the past, including in the period leading up to the 2003 conflict. All mine production facilities were apparently destroyed in the coalition bombing campaign in 2003.[7] Iraq reported that it has no intention to reconstruct its production capacity.[8]

There have been no reports or allegations of landmine transfers from Iraq since the 1990s.


For the sixth year in a row, there were not any confirmed reports of new use of antipersonnel mines by government forces or its international coalition partners, but the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS) fighting the government of Iraq have used improvised landmines, other types of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and victim-activated booby-traps extensively since 2014.[9] The extent to which the IEDs are command-detonated or victim-activated is not clear.

IS continued its extensive use of improvised landmines into 2017. In Mosul, scores of civilians were killed by improvised mines while attempting to flee fighting between IS and Iraqi Federal Police units.[10] The group has also planted improvised mines around mass graves, in an effort to kill investigative journalists and aid workers.[11] IS continues to lose ground in Iraq, but consistently leaves improvised mines and booby-traps behind as it retreats, which some experts believe could take up to 30 years to clear.[12] Between September 2015 and January 2017, Mines Advisory Groups (MAG) successfully cleared 7,500 improvised mines and other improvised devices from Iraq and Syria.[13]

In October 2015, Iraq called for further assistance to address its humanitarian problem with uncleared landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) including cluster munition remnants, which it said has been “further compounded by terrorist groups, notably ISIS planting landmines and explosive devices to prevent the return of Iraqi forces to the areas.”[14] Iraq has blamed terrorist armed groups and IS, fighting government forces since 2014, for “a dramatic increase the number of mines, UXOs [unexploded ordnance] and IEDs” in the country, as well as for the increasing number of displaced persons.[15] In May 2015, Reuters reported that IS fighters laid landmines in Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s western desert province of Anbar.[16] Research organization Conflict Armament Research said in April 2015 that IS forces are producing and deploying IEDs on an industrial scale.[17] In February 2017, the Iraqi government repeated its calls for help from the international community in clearing mines from areas freed from IS.[18]

Stockpiling and destruction

Iraq’s treaty deadline for destruction of its stockpiles of antipersonnel mines was 1 February 2012.[19] In June 2011, Iraq stated that it destroyed 645 out of 690 antipersonnel mines stockpiled in the Kurdistan region, retaining 45 mines for training purposes.[20] In its Article 7 report for calendar year 2011, Iraq reported that an additional 50 stockpiled antipersonnel mines were destroyed in the Kurdistan region.[21]

The manner in which Iraq has reported on the number of mines it retains for training and research purposes has been inconsistent and confusing. It appears that at least 45 mines were retained in the Kurdistan region for training purposes since the end of the stockpile destruction programs. Adding to this confusion is a claim in its 2011 Article 7 report wherein Iraq states that 793 mines were retained for training after the mines were recovered during clearance operations.[22] The Monitor cannot sufficiently assess the manner by which Iraq implements Article 3 based solely on the information provided by Iraq in its annual transparency reports.

In previous Monitor reports, substantial but decreasing numbers of antipersonnel mines were recovered by foreign and Iraqi forces from caches. The Monitor has not found any information regarding seizures during the current reporting period. Iraq also reported that it destroyed 4,295 antipersonnel mines from mined areas in 2011.[23] The Iraqi government had not previously reported on recovered mines or their destruction in its Article 7 reports.

[1] Meeting with Bakhshan Assad, Head of Rehabilitation Department, Ministry of Public Health, with Maythem Obead, Head of Victim Assistance and Mine Risk Education Department of Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (MAVAA), with Soran Majeed, Victim Assistance Officer, and with Ibrahim Baba-Ali, UNDP Iraq, in Geneva, 23 May 2012. See also, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013), Form A.

[2] Iraq has only reported on the legal framework for mine action. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2009), Form A.

[4] Iraq did not participate in the intersessional meetings held in June 2010.

[5] Statement of Iraq, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, Maputo, 27 June 2014; and statement of Iraq, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, Maputo, 24 June 2014.

[7] Interview with Mowafak Ayoub, Director, Disarmament Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Geneva, 10 February 2004. Iraqi and United States (US) sources requesting anonymity indicated that the Aloa’oa’a and Hutten factories in Alexandria and the Aloudisie factory in Al Youssfiz were destroyed. For details on previous production, see, Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 886–887. In 2005, the Monitor removed Iraq from its list of countries producing antipersonnel mines or reserving the right to produce them, following the destruction of Iraq’s production facilities and the government’s statements in support of banning antipersonnel mines.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, 31 July 2008. The report also states: “The PMN Anti-Personnel mine was produced in this factory. Shortly before the war of 2003 however, a defect in these mines resulted in restricting the use of these mines. As far as can be determined, the stocks of these mines in military ammunition dumps have been dealt with by the US Corps of Military Engineering Conventional Munitions Destruction Project. Iraq also developed the capacity to produce Valmara 69 mines but apparently this capacity was never used to physically produce Valmara mines.”

[9] See, for example, “ISIS’s latest threat: laying landmines,” IRIN, 6 November 2014; and Mike Giglio, “The Hidden Enemy in Iraq,” Buzzfeed, 19 March 2015.

[10] Kareem Khadder, Ingrid Formanek, and Laura Smith-Spark, “Mosul battle: Civilians killed by landmines as they flee, police say,” CNN, 25 February 2017.

[12]Islamic State is losing land but leaving mines behind,” The Economist, 30 March 2017.

[13] Chris Loughran and Sean Sutton, “MAG: Clearing Improvised Landmines in Iraq,” The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction, April 2017.

[14] Statement of Iraq, UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 26 October 2015.

[15] Statement of Iraq, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, 25 June 2015.

[17] Forum on the Arms Trade and Stimson, “Tracking arms in conflict: Lessons from Syria and Iraq,” 7 April 2015.

[19] The Monitor has previously noted that Iraq was believed to stockpile, at some point, mines manufactured by Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Italy, Romania, Singapore, the former Soviet Union, and the US, in addition to Iraqi-manufactured mines.

[20] Statement of Iraq, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 20 June 2011.

[21] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 supporting documentation on Iraqi Kurdistan (for the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011), Form G. Note that this was one of two reports submitted by Iraq as part of its transparency reporting, but it is not the official Article 7 report for Iraq.

[22] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 supporting documentation on Iraqi Kurdistan (for the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011), pp. 32–33.

[23] See also, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011), Form G.