Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019


The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 17 December 2004, becoming a State Party on 1 June 2005. Ethiopia has not reported on measures to enact specific legislation to enforce the Mine Ban Treaty, but it has listed three laws that it states are “consistent with Article 9.”[1]

Ethiopia attends meetings of the treaty semi-regularly, most recently attending the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018, where it provided a statement on victim assistance.[2] However, Ethiopia did not attend the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014, nor did it attend more recent intersessional meetings of the treaty in Geneva in May 2019. Ethiopia initially submitted consistent Article 7 transparency reports, but since 2012 has submitted just two.

Ethiopia is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, nor is it party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Production, stockpiling, transfer, and use

Ethiopia has stated that it has not produced antipersonnel mines, and has not imported the weapon since the 1991 overthrow of the Mengistu regime.[3]

The Mine Ban Treaty required that Ethiopia destroy all of its stockpiled antipersonnel mines by 1 June 2009. In a July 2008 report, Ethiopia reported that 39,759 items described as stockpiled antipersonnel mines were destroyed between 2004 and 2007. Of the declared items, only 5,867 appear to be antipersonnel mines.[4] In November 2008, Ethiopia reported that, as a result of inventories carried out by the Ministry of Defense during 2008, it concluded its original stockpile to be 55,569 antipersonnel mines, of which 40,189 had already been destroyed.[5] In April 2009, Ethiopia stated that 54,455 antipersonnel mines had been destroyed, fulfilling the Article 4 stockpile destruction obligation on 2 April 2009.[6]

In March 2011, Ethiopia reported that it has retained a total of 303 mines for training by the Ethiopian Mine Action Office (EMAO), the same number as reported in the Article 7 reports submitted since 2008. Ethiopia indicated the mines are used in mine detection dog training programs.[7] In 2017, Ethiopia reported retaining 107 mines for training and research, and in 2019 reported zero mines retained. However, Ethiopia did not provide information about how the mines were consumed.[8]

The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia has alleged transfer of antipersonnel mines from Ethiopia to Somalia, most recently in 2006.[9] In 2007, Ethiopia described the allegations as “without foundation…unsubstantiated…[and] false.”[10] Attempts by two presidents of Meetings of States Parties of the Mine Ban Treaty to clarify and seek further information from the UN Monitoring Group about its reports of mine transfers have gone unanswered.[11]

There have been no reports of new use of antipersonnel mines since the end of the 1998–2000 war with Eritrea.[12] Between 2003 and 2008 there were incidents caused by newly laid antivehicle mines in the Temporary Security Zone separating Eritrea and Ethiopia, according to news reports and the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) Mine Action Coordination Center (MACC).[13]

[1] Certain sub-articles of Ethiopia’s Constitution, Regulation No. 70/2001 establishing the EMAO, and Ethiopia’s Penal Code specifically Articles 500, 499, 497, and 481. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 30 April 2009; Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, April 2010; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 31 March 2011. Ethiopia provided the same information in 2017 and 2019.

[2] Statement of Ethiopia, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 27 November 2018.

[3] Ethiopia first made this statement in 1997. Statement by Amb. Dr. Fecadu Gadarmu, Embassy of Ethiopia to Canada, Mine Ban Treaty Signing Ceremony, Ottawa, 3 December 1997, p. 2.

[4] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 5 July 2008. Antipersonnel mines declared destroyed are as follows: PMD-6M (111), PMN (4,227), TS-50 (one), M2A3B (two), M3 (620), M14 (306), M16 (21), POMZ-2M (361), V-5 (two), M69 (151), M35 (10), M21 (14), GOYYATA (29), “Egypt antipersonnel mine” (two), and antipersonnel mines of unknown type (10). The remaining items included detonators, blocks of explosives, practice mines, signal mines, fuzes, and booby-traps.

[5] Ethiopia stated its intention of destroying a further 14,266 mines (54,455 in total) before its June 2009 deadline, with the remaining 1,114 mines to be retained for training purposes. Statement of Ethiopia, Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 26 November 2008.

[6] Ethiopia indicated that 40,189 mines had been destroyed in 2008 and another 14,266 mines in 2009, again providing a list, which included many items that do not appear to be antipersonnel mines. Of the 54,455 items listed, it appears that 32,650 were antipersonnel mines. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form F, 30 April 2009. The 32,650 mines include: PMN (14,318), M16 (7,023), PMD-6M (6,178), POMZ-2M (3,471), M3 (503), M14 (390), M69 (318), MD-9 (182), Goyyatta (132), MK-1 (30), PPMI (29), V5 (23), M2A3 (17), GOYTA (13), M35 (nine), unknown (eight), NR490 (three), and MON-50 (three). The other items include detonators, fuses, strikers, detonating cord, blasting caps, TNT, and plastic explosives. In its 2010 and 2011 Article 7 reports, Ethiopia reaffirmed that 54,455 antipersonnel mines of different types had been destroyed.

[7] This included PMD (76), PMN (60), M14 (58), POMZ (43), M16 (43), M3 (13), and Type 69 (10). Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 31 March 2011.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 24 April 2017; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form , 25 April 2019.

[9] In 2006, the UN Monitoring Group reported that in September 2006 the Ethiopian military transferred 180 antipersonnel mines and other unspecified mines to Puntland and Qeybdiid militias. “Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1676 (2006),” S/2006/913, 22 November 2006, pp. 19–22. It also reported transfers of antivehicle mines and unspecified mines to other Somali entities.

[10] It stated that “Ethiopia is in full compliance of its obligations under the Convention.…[T]here has never been any transfer of antipersonnel mines to any third party including in Somalia.” Letter from Amb. Samuel Assefa, Embassy of Ethiopia to the United States, 11 July 2007.

[11] For details of statements and actions by the two Presidents relating to the UN Monitoring Group reports, see, Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 373.

[12] While not openly acknowledging the use of antipersonnel mines during the border conflict with Eritrea from 1998–2000, in April 2002 Ethiopia provided the UN with detailed maps of mines laid by Ethiopian forces in Eritrea during the conflict. Email from Phil Lewis, Chief Technical Advisor, UNMEE MACC, 23 April 2002.