Falkland Islands_Malvinas

Mine Action

Last updated: 08 December 2019

20-Year Summary

The 1982 armed conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom (UK) resulted in many thousands of antipersonnel and antivehicle mines being laid on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas, most laid by Argentina.[1] The Falkland Islands/Malvinas are the subject of a sovereignty dispute between the two countries. The UK is undertaking clearance of the landmine contaminated areas on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas. The UK included minefield maps in the submission of its initial Article 7 report in August 1999.

The clearance of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas has been conducted in phases, with phase 1 to 4 undertaken between October 2009 and March 2016, and phase 5(a) and (b) from November 2016 to March 2020.

In 2009, 122 mined areas were identified. As of March 2018, 37 mined areas remain comprising 6.44 km².[2] Eight mined areas are expected to remain at the end of March 2020, totaling 0.16 km². Technical survey will be conducted during phase 5(b) to determine a plan and timeframe for clearance.

No human casualties from mines or other ordnance have been reported on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas since 1984, although there have been a number of “infringements of minefields” recorded, including several children and tourists. A number of cattle have been killed in minefields.[3]

There is also residual unexploded ordnance (UXO) from the 1982 armed conflict, including a number of areas that may contain cluster munition remnants resulting from the use of BL-755 cluster bombs by the UK against Argentine positions. The precise extent of UXO contamination is not known. The UK has also noted the presence of booby-traps on the islands.[4]

In March 2018, the UK formally submitted a request to extend its Article 5 deadline by an additional five years until 1 March 2024 to complete the demining of the islands.[5] In March 2019, Argentina submitted an extension request for an additional three years, until 1 March 2023.[6]

(See the profiles for Argentina and the UK for further information).

[1] See, UK Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 11 April 2006.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 2018, p. 6; and email from an official in the Counter Proliferation and Arms Control Centre, DCO, 21 August 2018.

[3] See ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2009: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada: October 2009), p. 1164

[4] See, UK Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 11 April 2006.

[5] UK, Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 29 March 2018.

[6] Argentina, Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 19 March 2019.