Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 19 October 2015


The Republic of Yemen signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified it on 1 September 1998. It entered into force on 1 March 1999.

Yemen enacted legislation to enforce implementation of the the Mine Ban Treaty on 20 April 2005.[1]

Yemen last submitted an annual transparency measures report for the treaty in April 2014, covering the period 31 March 2013 to 31 March 2014.

Yemen has participated in all of the Mine Ban Treaty’s Review Conferences, including the Third Review Conference in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2014. It has attended every Meeting of States Parties of the treaty, such as the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in December 2013. Yemen has participated in many of the treaty’s intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva, most recently in April 2014.

Yemen is not a party to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. It is not a party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, transfer, stockpile destruction, and retention

Yemen has stated that it has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines.

Yemen reported destruction of the last of its known stockpile of 74,000–78,000 antipersonnel mines in April 2002.[2] An additional 30,000 mines found in November 2006 were destroyed in December 2007.[3]

In 2014, Yemen again reported that it has retained 3,760 antipersonnel mines of four types for training and research purposes, the same number and types declared retained since 2008.[4] Yemen has never reported on the intended purposes and actual uses of its retained mines as agreed by States Parties in 2004.[5]


Fighting broke out in different parts of Yemen in 2014, involving multiple actors including forces loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, factions of the Yemeni armed forces, Houthi rebels, Islamist fighters, and the Islamist armed group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Houthi forces, also known as Ansar Allah, eventually seized the capital Sanaa, dissolved parliament, and in late January 2015 declared a Revolutionary Committee as the interim governing authority in Yemen. In late March 2015, a coalition of states led by Saudi Arabia began aerial attacks against the Houthi forces, which has been followed by a ground invasion. The Saudi coalition’s military intervention in Yemen was continuing as of October 2015.

New Use

Houthi forces emplaced antipersonnel landmines in the Yemeni port of Aden before withdrawing from the city in July 2015. Yemen declared the completion of mine clearance in Aden in 2009 after clearing all known mined areas.[6]

Yemeni mine action officials told Human Rights Watch (HRW) that on 11 July 2015 they began emergency clearance of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) from several residential districts of Aden previously controlled by Houthi forces, including Khormaksar, Jaulaa, and Green City in the Dar Saad neighborhood, and Bir Ahmad and Amran in al-Buraika. They said the clearance teams collected more than 140 mines on their first day in Amran. By 12 August 2015, the teams had removed 91 antipersonnel mines of two types from Aden as well as 666 antivehicle mines, 316 improvised explosive devices, and various grenades, shells, and fuzes. The officials also said that their vehicles, protective equipment, and supplies were all looted during the fighting in Aden.[7]

Demining Center staff showed HRW two types of antipersonnel blast mines that were cleared from Aden, including five PPM-2 antipersonnel mines manufactured in the former East Germany and a GYATA-64 antipersonnel mine of Hungarian origin.[8] Neither of these mine types were reported to be stockpiled or retained by Yemen in any of the transparency reports provided since 2000. There were also TM-62 and TM-57 antivehicle mines manufactured in the former Soviet Union.[9]

The NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which provides emergency medical care in Aden, reports that “the number of victims injured by landmines and unexploded ordnances [sic] has been increasing since early August, when MSF received more than 35 victims, mostly children.”[10]

The Houthis may also be responsible for laying new antipersonnel mines in Abyan governorate, located immediately to the east of Aden. A retired Yemeni deminer told HRW that he witnessed Houthi fighters laying mines on 8 August 2015, shortly before an attack by southern forces that pushed them out of the area. Another deminer told HRW that the mine action teams cleared 14 PPM-2 antipersonnel mines and 120 antivehicle mines from Abyan governorate, describing these mines as “newly laid.”[11]

Previous Use

Yemen’s 2014 Article 7 report stated that the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) faced a “new challenge” in Sadaa governorate from “new kinds of mines made manually by insurgences [sic] and planted in Sada’a, some of them demined by the insurgences [sic] and they missed others…lot of mine accidents happened and many of people [sic] killed and injured.”[12] In September 2013, a representative of the district of Al-Asha bordering Sadaa governorate told media that Houthi rebels were planting landmines “in the mountainous areas under their control.”[13]

In early 2013, credible information emerged of apparent government use of antipersonnel mines at Bani Jarmooz, a location north of Sanaa in 2011. According to witness testimony and evidence gathered by human rights organizations and media, mines including PMN and PMD-6 antipersonnel mines were laid around the camps of the government’s Republican Guards at Bani Jarmooz in late 2011.[14]

In November 2013, the office of Yemen’s prime minister issued a statement that admitted a “violation” of the Mine Ban Treaty occurred in 2011 during the popular uprising that led to the ousting of then-President Ali Abduallah Saleh.[15]

Yemen provided Mine Ban Treaty States Parties with an interim report on 29 March 2014 that indicated plans had been made for clearance, marking, risk education, and victim assistance at Bani Jarmooz.[16] At the treaty’s Third Review Conference in June 2014, Yemen stated that the Military Prosecutor’s Office has begun an investigation to identify those responsible for the mine use at Bani Jarmooz.[17]

However, as of October 2014 the area of Bani Jarmooz is no longer under government control as it was seized by Houthi forces in mid-2014.[18]

[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 30 March 2007. On 16 December 2004, the Yemeni Parliament endorsed national implementation legislation; on 20 April 2005, Presidential Law No. 25 was issued to bring the legislation into force. The implementing legislation has not been listed in recent Article 7 reports. Instead, under national measures, Yemen has listed its ratification legislation, stating that “The Parliament of Yemen issued, and the President signed law on 8\98 in June 1998. The law states that the Government of Yemen will enforce the ban from the day the law was issued.” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 31 March 2012 to 31 March 2013), Form A.

[2] In its Article 7 reports submitted in 2001 and 2002, Yemen reported a stockpile of 78,000 mines, including 4,000 to be retained for training. Its reporting on the destruction of the mines has contained discrepancies, but appeared to total about 74,000. Yet its Article 7 reports have usually cited the figure of 78,000 destroyed. See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 522, and subsequent editions of Landmine Monitor.

[3] On 16 December 2007, Yemen destroyed an additional 30,000 POMZ-2 antipersonnel mines that were found in November 2006 in an old military warehouse undergoing transformation into a tourist site. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 31 March 2008; and Form B, 30 March 2007.

[4] Yemen declared the following mines: 940 PPMISR-2, 940 PMD-6, 940 POMZ-2, and 940 PMN. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 31 March 2013 to 31 March 2014), Form D. It declared the same number (3,760) of retained mines in its Article 7 reports provided in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. Yemen’s 2011 report declared a total of 4,000 antipersonnel mines retained for training and research purposes, including 240 additional mines (60 more of each type): 1,000 PPMISR-2, 1,000 PMD-6, 1,000 POMZ-2, and 1,000 PMN. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 30 March 2010 to 30 March 2011), Form D. Yemen has not provided any explanation for the increased number listed in the 2011 report.

[5] The retained mines were transferred from centralized military storage facilities in Sanaa and Aden to the Military Engineering Department Training Facility and Mine Detection Dogs Unit. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 30 March 2011 to 30 March 2012), Form D.

[6] Email from Ahmed Alawi, Information Management System Officer, Operations Department, YEMAC, 20 May 2010.

[7] Human Rights Watch (HRW) Press Release, “Houthis Used Landmines in Aden,” 5 September 2015.

[8] However, both the PPM-2 and GYATA-64 mines have been used elsewhere in Yemen recently. Foreign Policy reported that in late 2011, Republican Guard forces laid approximately 8,000 landmines, including GYATA-64 and PPM-2 mines, at Bani Jarmooz (see below). HRW also recorded the use of PPM-2 mines in Sanaa, one of which maimed a 10-year-old boy on March 4, 2012.

[11] HRW Press Release, “Houthis Used Landmines in Aden,” 5 September 2015.

[13] Nasser Al-Sakkaf, “10 killed by landmine,” Yemen Times, September 2013.

[14] Joe Sheffer, “Revenge Landmines of the Arab Spring,” Foreign Policy, 24 May 2013; and Yemen Rights Foundation, “A report issued by the Yemen Rights Foundation about landmines that were previously used by members of the Republican Guard stationed in the military bases al-Sama and al-Fareeja in the valleys and mountains of Bani Jarmooz, Sana’a province, in 2011,” 10 April 2013; HRW Press Release, “Yemen: Investigate, Respond to Landmine Use Reports,” 27 May 2013. In April 2014, HRW reported that the landmines laid at Bani Jarmooz had killed at least two civilians and wounded 20 others since late 2011, including at least one dead and six wounded in the year since April 2013. The casualties all occurred in the vicinity of military camps that the 63rd and 81st Brigades of the Republican Guard established at Bani Jarmooz around 26 July 2011, and which remained in place as of September 2014. During an April 2013 visit, HRW did not observe any fencing or warning signs. HRW, “Memorandum to Mine Ban Treaty Delegates: Yemen’s Compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty,” 8 April 2014.

[15]The government pledges its commitment to implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty,” Saba News Service, 19 November 2013. See also ICBL Web Post, “Yemen mine use: official communiqué,” 22 November 2014. In a statement on the matter at the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties in December 2013, Yemen said it had “lost control on the ground” during the 2011 political crises and committed to be “serious and transparent on that issue.” It said the Prime Minster had directed that an inter-agency investigation committee be established to look into the incident and determine who was responsible, and to apply criminal sanctions in accordance with the 2005 implementation law. Yemen reported that the “Minister for Defense had given the order to implement this investigation, to account for those who participated in that action, and to clear the mines.” It stated that the engineering corps and the general reserve forces had commenced clearance operations at Bani Jarmooz. Statement of Yemen, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2013. Original in Arabic, translation by the Monitor.

[16] According to the report, locals in Bani Jarmooz and Arhab districts intervened to stop the demining operations on their first day in protest at the government’s failure to provide compensation for mine-related deaths and injuries, damaged vehicles, and loss of agricultural income. “Yemen Initial Report to the President of the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties,” 29 March 2014.

[17] Interview with Yemen’s Delegation to the Third Review Conference, Maputo, 26 June 2014. Notes by HRW.

[18] Email from HRW’s Yemen researcher, 21 October 2014.