Mine Action

Last updated: 12 October 2018

Treaty status

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party
Article 5 deadline: 1 February 2020
Not on track

Mine action management

National mine action management actors

Eritrea Demining Agency (EDA), reports to the Office of the President

Mine action strategic plan


Mine action standards

National Mine Action Standards (NMAS)

Operators in 2017

None reported in 2017

Extent of contamination as of end 2017


33.42kmSHA (as reported at end of 2013)

Cluster munition remnants

No contamination

Other ERW contamination

UXO contamination, extent unknown

Land release in 2017


No land release reported



Eritrea last submitted an Article 7 transparency report in 2014. The latest reports on the extent of contamination and land release results are for 2013. It failed to submit an updated Article 5 workplan as required by States Parties upon granting its second extension in 2014

Note: SHA = suspected hazardous area; ERW = explosive remnants of war; UXO = unexploded ordnance.


The State of Eritrea is affected by mines and ERW dating back to World War II, but largely as the result of the struggle for independence in 1962–1991 and its armed conflict with Ethiopia in 1998–2000.

In May 2015, the Deputy General Manager of the Eritrea Demining Agency (EDA) reported “no significant progress registered by the EDA currently.” He stated, though, that the EDA was being reorganized in an effort to make “better progress.”[1] The EDA did not respond to repeated requests for further information, since 2015, including most recently in 2018.

The last estimate of mine contamination in Eritrea dates back to the end of 2013, when Eritrea reported that 434 mined areas remained over an estimated 33.4km2.[2] This was a two-thirds reduction on the earlier estimate of 99kmof June 2011,[3] and significantly lower than the 129kmidentified by the 2004 landmine impact survey.[4]

SHAs by region (at end 2013)[5]

Zoba (region)


Estimated area (m2)

Semienawi Keih Bahri






Gash Barka









Debubawi Keih Bahri







Antipersonnel mines and ERW are reported to negatively affect socio-economic conditions in Eritrea, blocking access to agricultural and pastoral land vital to farmers and animal herders, and preventing the implementation of construction and development projects, including of roads, schools, and clinics.[6]

Program Management

The EDA, established in July 2002, is responsible
for policy development, regulation of mine action, and the conduct of mine clearance operations. The EDA reports directly to the Office of the President. The Eritrea mine action program is entirely nationally managed.


In the past, demining has been primarily conducted by the engineering units of the Eritrean defense forces under the supervision of the EDA, which also carries out quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) in accordance with Eritrea’s National Mine Action Standards.[7] According to its second Article 5 deadline extension request, submitted in 2014, Eritrea planned to deploy “at least” five demining teams during its second extension period, the same number as then deployed, but might increase the number if adequate financial and logistical support were found.[8]

Following expulsion of international NGOs in 2005, Eritrea does not allow any international demining operators to conduct survey or clearance in Eritrea.

Land Release

Under its 2014 extension request, Eritrea projected that up to 15.4kmof mined area could be cleared within five years. It reported that 67.3kmof contaminated area had been cancelled through non-technical survey and that 5.7kmwas cleared over 38 mined areas in 2011–2013.[9] 

Eritrea has not provided any updates on mine action activities to States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty since 2014. Previously, in 2013, Eritrea reported release of 157 SHAs totaling 33.5km2, leaving 385 mined areas of close to 24.5kmto be surveyed.[10] Forty-nine new mined areas with a total size of 9kmwere discovered in five of the country’s six regions during non-technical survey in 2013: Anseba, Debub, Gash Barka, Maakel, and Semienawi Keih Bahri.[11]

In 2013, Eritrea seemingly cleared approximately 2.26kmof mined area, almost twice the amount cleared in 2012 (1.2km2).[12] The number of antipersonnel and antivehicle mines destroyed in 2013 was not reported. 

Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with the three-year extension granted by States Parties in 2011 and a further five-year extension granted in 2014), Eritrea is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 February 2020. It is not on track to meet this deadline.

In January 2014, Eritrea submitted a second Article 5 deadline extension request seeking a further five years to continue clearance and complete re-survey of SHAs, but not to fulfil its clearance obligations under the treaty. In June 2014, States Parties granted Eritrea its extension request until 2020, but noted that five additional years beyond Eritrea’s previous February 2015 deadline “appeared to be a long period of time to meet this objective.”[13] 

Re-survey during the second extension period is planned to involve both technical and non-technical survey of all remaining mined areas across six regions. Re-survey is planned to run concurrently with clearance in priority areas in the Anseba, Maakel, and Semienawi Keih Bahri regions.[14]

Based on a predicted clearance rate of 0.384kmper team per year and 1.92kmper five teams per year, Eritrea estimated that five teams operating at this optimum pace could clear almost 15.4kmin the five-year period.[15] However, this clearance rate was acknowledged by Eritrea as “ambitious” due to the “inevitable collaboration...of the demining teams with the survey teams.” In addition, while Eritrea seems to have set reasonable estimates
for its clearance rates, which roughly match its progress in previous years with similar capacity, this accounts for less than half of the total area Eritrea has estimated as requiring either clearance or re-survey (33.5km2), leaving some 18kmunaccounted for in the workplan.[16]

Eritrea projected that costs for the extension periodwould amount to more than US$7 million, all to be raised nationally.[17] In 2011–2013, Eritrea managed to raise only $257,000 annually. As of December 2013, Eritrea had not received international funding for mine clearance, and in its statement at the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, it said that progress in clearing mines would be slow because it “had limited resources and capacity of one small poor nation.”[18] It is therefore unclear how Eritrea intends to raise the finances necessary for its survey and clearance activities, particularly in light of its regrettable policy not to accept international technical assistance. 

In April 2014, at the Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Eritrea stated that the extension period was designed to gain greater clarity about its mine problem, at which point Eritrea “could plan and think about the financial resources to be allocated for mine action.”[19] It was further stated that Eritrea “won’t complete clearance in the next five years,” and will likely require a third extension.[20] Eritrea has not provided States Parties with any information since, nor did it submit an updated Article 5 deadline extension request workplan as requested. It did not attend any meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty in 2016, 2017, or the first half of 2018.

Mine clearance in 2013–2017[21]


Area cleared (km2)













Note: N/R = not reported.


The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (, which has conducted the primary mine action research in 2018 and shared all its country-level landmine reports (from“Clearing the Mines 2018”) and country-level cluster munition reports (from “Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2018”) with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

[1] Email from Habtom Seghid, Deputy General Manager, EDA, 6 May 2015.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 23 January 2014, p. 7. This was despite finding 49 previously unrecorded SHAs in five regions across an estimated area of 9kmduring non-technical survey in 2013. Analysis of Eritrea’s Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, submitted by the President of the Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties on behalf of States Parties mandated to analyze requests for extensions, 20 June 2014, p. 2. 

[3] Eritrea’s reply to questions from the Article 5 Analyzing Group about its Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 7 June 2011, p. 2. 

[4] Survey Action Center (SAC), “Landmine Impact Survey, Eritrea, Final Report,” May 2005, p. 7. 

[5] Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 23 January 2014, p. 8.

[6] Analysis of Eritrea’s Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 20 June 2014, p. 3.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form F, p. 5.

[8] Ibid., p. 10.

[9] Analysis of Eritrea’s Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 20 June 2014, p. 2.

[10] Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 23 January 2014, p. 7. 

[11] Analysis of Eritrea’s Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 20 June 2014, p. 2.

[12] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form F, p. 10.

[13] Decision on Eritrea’s Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, Maputo, 26 June 2014.

[14] Statement of Eritrea, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 9 April 2014.

[15] Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 23 January 2014, p. 10.

[16] ICBL Comments on Eritrea’s Article 5 Extension Request, March 2014.

[17] Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 23 January 2014, p. 11.

[18] Statement of Eritrea, Mine Ban TreatyThirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 6 December 2013.

[19] Statement of Eritrea, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Standing Committee on Mine Action, Geneva, 9 April 2014. Notes by the ICBL.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Emails from Habtom Seghid, EDA, 2 March 2010, and 21 and 22 July 2011; Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports (for 2011 and 2012), Form J; and Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 23 January 2014, p. 8.