+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Multimedia 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Donate now
Stay informed
 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
Singapore, Landmine Monitor Report 2004

Singapore

Key developments since May 2003: Singapore voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 58/53 in December 2003 calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. Singapore attended as an observer the Fifth Meeting of States Parties held in Bangkok in September 2003. The Swedish company Biosensor signed an agreement with CEO, a subsidiary of Singapore’s landmine producer STK, to market a mine detection system in Asia. ICBL members protested and asked for termination of the agreement. Biosensor maintained that CEO claimed that STK no longer produces antipersonnel mines, although in April 2004 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs again confirmed that STK is a producer.

Key developments since 1999: Singapore remains one of the fifteen mine producers globally. While stating the need for antipersonnel mines for “legitimate security concerns,” Singapore has voted in favor of every pro-ban UN General Assembly resolution since 1996, and has attended all but one of the annual Mine Ban Treaty States Parties meetings. Singapore has maintained an indefinite moratorium on the export of all types of antipersonnel mines since February 1998. An NGO Campaign to Ban Landmines was launched in Singapore in June 2001.

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Singapore has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. Its position on the mine ban has not changed during the past five years. In a letter to Landmine Monitor dated 23 April 2004, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “Singapore has always been clear and open on its position on anti-personnel landmines. Singapore continues to support all initiatives against the indiscriminate use of APLs, especially when they are directed at innocent and defenseless civilians. However, we believe that the legitimate security concerns and right to self-defense of states should not be disregarded.”[1]

Singapore did not participate in the Ottawa Process, but came as an observer to the treaty negotiations in Oslo in September 1997 and the treaty signing conference in Ottawa in December. Singapore has voted in favor of every pro-ban UN General Assembly resolution since 1996, including UNGA Resolution 58/53 in December 2003 calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. Singapore has attended as an observer all but one of the annual States Parties meetings, including the Fifth Meeting of States Parties held in Bangkok in September 2003.[2] Government delegates and civil society representatives from Singapore also attended the seminar “APMs Are They Worth It?” in Bangkok in August 2003. Singapore has never participated in any Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings.

Singapore is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). It attended as an observer the Fifth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in November 2003, as it did in previous years.

A Campaign to Ban Landmines was launched in Singapore on 16 June 2001, with a week of activities organized by the Think Centre in cooperation with the Bangkok-based Nonviolence International. In February 2004, the Think Centre, in collaboration with the multinational advertising company M&C Saatchi Singapore, launched a Cambodian Landmine Survivors Support Campaign with a photo exhibition. The campaign aims to raise awareness on the issue and to support landmine victims in Cambodia.[3]

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, and Use

Singapore is one of the fifteen mine producers globally. Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK), a government-linked company, remains the only company in Singapore that manufactures landmines. In April 2004, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that antipersonnel landmines produced in Singapore are used solely by Singapore’s armed forces for self-defense purposes.[4] The types of landmines currently in production were not revealed. Singapore has produced two types of antipersonnel landmines: a plastic blast mine (VS-50) and a bounding fragmentation mine (VS-69), both copies of Italian designs.

On 13 April 2004, Biosensor (a Swedish company) and Chartered Electro-Optics Pte Ltd (CEO), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Kinetics, signed an agreement under which CEO will have exclusive marketing and distribution rights to Biosensor’s BIOSENS-D/E drug/explosive detection system in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and ASEAN countries, for a period of three years.[5]

The demining NGO Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) immediately contacted Biosensor to inform the company that STK is a producer of antipersonnel landmines. Both NPA and SPAS said that they considered it inappropriate for Biosensor, a company that is developing landmine detection equipment, to cooperate with a company that produces antipersonnel landmines, and therefore asked Biosensor to terminate its cooperation with STK. Biosensor contacted its partners in CEO, who, according to Biosensor, claimed that STK is no longer producing landmines. A representative of Biosensor stated that he was satisfied with this answer from his partners.[6] NPA decided to end its cooperation with Biosensor,[7] as did the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (Sweden’s main actor for humanitarian mine clearance).[8]

Singapore declared an indefinite moratorium on the export of all types of antipersonnel mines in February 1998, after a two-year moratorium on the export of antipersonnel mines which have no self-destruct or self-neutralizing mechanisms. Records of antipersonnel mines exported from Singapore before 1996 are kept confidential. From 1982-1986, Chartered Industries of Singapore (later reorganized as part of STK) assembled antipersonnel mines from components received from the Italian company Valsella. The assembled antipersonnel mines were then reportedly shipped to Iraq and probably also to Cambodia.[9] Ecuador reports importing 25,151 VS-50 antipersonnel mines from Singapore in its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency reports. Cyprus has declared 4,450 stockpiled VS-50 antipersonnel mines in its stockpile, which according to a media report were imported from Singapore.[10] It is not known if Singapore exported mines to other countries.

Singapore imported 3,843 M-18A1 Claymore mines and ten M-14 blast mines from the United States from 1970-1981.[11] It is not known if Singapore imported antipersonnel mines from other countries.

Information about the size or composition of Singapore’s current stockpile of antipersonnel mines remains unavailable. Singapore declares that expired mines are dismantle into irrecoverable components by the manufacturer.[12]

Landmine Problem and Mine Action

Singapore is not mine-affected. Landmine Monitor has not recorded any mine victims in or from Singapore. The government has never contributed to international humanitarian mine action programs.


[1] Letter faxed from Tan Yee Woan, Director of International Organizations Division, for Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 April 2004.
[2] Singapore did not attend the Third Meeting of States Parties in September 2001 in Nicaragua. It was also absent from regional landmine conferences in 2001 and 2002. See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 742.
[3] Interview with Sinapan Samydorai, President, Think Centre, Bangkok, 26 April 2004.
[4] Letter faxed from Tan Yee Woan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 April 2004. In December 2000, a Ministry of Defense representative stated that the MoD retains a number of antipersonnel mines for “training and defensive purposes only,” and noted that “training for APLs and removal techniques is done in Singapore.” Letter from Eric Chong, Ministry of Defense, 15 December 2000. The language would imply training in both how to use mines and how to clear them.
[5] Biosensor Applications Sweden AB, Press release, 13 April 2004.
[6] Email from Carl Lundberg, Biosensor, 29 April 2004, and subsequent telephone conversations.
[7] Letter from Sara Sekkenes and Per Nergaard, NPA, 14 May 2004.
[8] Letter from Kjell Larsson, Swedish Rescue Service Agency, 17 June 2004.
[9] Francesco Terreri, Produzione, Commercio ed Uso delle Mine Terrestri: Il Ruolo dell’Italia (Production, Trade and Use of Landmines: The Role of Italy), Edizioni Comune Aperto, Comune di Firenze, pp. 33-34.
[10] Cyprus, Article 7 Report, Forms B and G, undated (for calendar year 2003); Jean Christou, “Mines deadlock,” Sunday Mail, 21 January 2001.
[11] Letter to Human Rights Watch from US Army, Armament, Munitions, and Chemical Command, 25 August 1993, and attached statistical tables.
[12] Letter faxed from Tan Yee Woan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 April 2004.