South Sudan

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019


Less than six months after becoming an independent state on 9 July 2011, the Republic of South Sudan joined the Mine Ban Treaty on 11 November 2011 through the rarely used process of “succession.” According to the UN Office of Legal Affairs, the Mine Ban Treaty took effect for South Sudan on 9 July 2011, the date of state independence and succession.[1]

In December 2012, South Sudan reported that it was aware of its obligations under Article 9 of the Mine Ban Treaty to “take all appropriate legal, administrative and other measures, including the imposition of penal sanctions, to prevent and suppress” any prohibited activity.[2] Since 2012, it has reported in its transparency reports that it has not taken any additional measures.

South Sudan has participated in every Mine Ban Treaty Meeting of States Parties, including the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018, where it provided information on a new domestic initiative, “A National Strategy for Mine Action” for the period 2018–2021 that highlights South Sudan’s commitment to three areas of work:

1) Advocacy and communication of South Sudan’s mine problem though adoption and implementation of international instruments.

2) Clarifying and confirming the size of mine contamination and addressing the problem through appropriate land release methods.

3) Promoting safe behavior to reduce mine accidents.[3]

It also attended the intersessional meetings in Geneva in May 2019.

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


In August 2014, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) accused the South Sudanese government of emplacing landmines along routes used by civilians fleeing to Sudan in the Greater Upper Nile Region.[4] The SPLM also accused government forces of placing landmines near villages in Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile states. In response, spokesperson for the South Sudanese armed forces, Joseph Marier, stated that the South Sudanese army had destroyed all stocks of landmines they had previously possessed.[5]

In March 2015, a report released by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) claimed that an officer in the South Sudanese army confirmed the use of antipersonnel landmines around Nassir during a meeting the same month. The report called on the Special Envoys from South Sudan to IGAD to “take urgent and robust action” to address these allegations, and that the government swiftly remove the landmines in Nassir and take appropriate action against the implicated officers. The ICBL condemned the alleged use in a letter to Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan, and called on the government to confirm or deny the allegations.[6] A spokesperson for the South Sudanese army denied claims of use, stating, “we are using barbed wire to make fences, not landmines.”[7]

In March 2015, Riek Machar, former South Sudanese Vice President and leader of opposition forces, sent a letter to the UN requesting a field survey of the Upper Nile State due to the claims of use by government forces of landmines, cluster munitions, and booby traps throughout the region.[8] In the same month, Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) spokesperson Col. Lony T. Ngunden, claimed that the South Sudanese government imported landmines from Uganda and placed them near several towns in northern South Sudan.[9]

Non-state armed groups

In April 2015, the government’s South Sudanese Demining Commission accused the SPLM of landmine use. Simon Jundi Both, acting Executive Director for the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) Mine Action Program called these allegations unsubstantiated.[10]

In June 2015, Aweil West County Commissioner Garang Kuac Ariath, testified to the Northern Bahr al Ghazal State’s Legislative Assembly on security concerns in his county. In his testimony, he accused rebel forces of deploying landmines in the Achana and Nyinbouli areas.[11]

Production and transfer

South Sudan has declared that “There are not and never have been anti-personnel mine production facilities in South Sudan.”[12] It has also reported that it “does not have capability or an amenity for the production of the anti-personnel mine and has no intension [sic] whatsoever to produce them in the future.”[13]

There is no information available on past transfers.

Stockpiling and destruction

In accordance with the provisions of Article 4 of the Mine Ban Treaty, the deadline for South Sudan to destroy any stockpiles of antipersonnel mines was 9 July 2015.

Before independence, the southern-based rebel movement the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) stockpiled and used antipersonnel mines.[14]

In December 2012, South Sudan reported that it had destroyed 10,566 stockpiled antipersonnel mines and also reported the discovery of previously unknown stocks of antipersonnel mines in former camps of the Sudan Armed Forces, stating that it had discovered four PMN antipersonnel mines that would be destroyed. It listed 30 different types of antipersonnel mines that have been destroyed in the course of mine clearance operations.[15]

In April 2013, South Sudan declared that the government destroyed 6,000 stockpiled antipersonnel mines in March 2008 and no longer had a stockpile.[16] The National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) issued a letter confirming that the previously reported statement made by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Eleventh Meeting of the State Parties in 2012, regarding discovery of new stockpiles of antipersonnel mines, was made in error.[17]

In April 2014, South Sudan again reported that 6,000 antipersonnel mines have been destroyed from stocks and said “South Sudan does not have any stockpiles of antipersonnel mine, all identified or discovered Antipersonnel Mine stockpiles have been destroyed by the competent authority in March 2008.”[18]

South Sudan is not retaining any antipersonnel mines for training.[19] This has been confirmed in its Article 7 reports. South Sudan has also stated that “it has no intention to retain some anti-personnel landmines for the purpose of training and research development.”[20]

[1] The Republic of the Sudan signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified on 13 October 2003, becoming a State Party on 1 April 2004. Under the “succession” process, a newly independent state may declare that it will abide by a treaty that was applicable to it prior to its independence.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, December 2012. In Sudan, a Mine Action Law adopted by Presidential Decree #51 on 31 March 2010 prohibits antipersonnel mines and includes penalties for violations.

[3] Statement of South Sudan, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 26 November 2018.

[4]South Sudan rebels accuse government of planting landmines,” Sudan Tribune, 13 August 2014.

[7] Ilya Gridneff, “South Sudan Army’s Lan-Mine Use Escalates War, Monitor Says,” Bloomberg, 30 March 2015.

[8] Ibid.

[12] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, April 2013. In November 2011, South Sudan informed States Parties that it does not possess facilities for the production of landmines. Statement of South Sudan, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 28 November 2011. Notes by the ICBL.

[13] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, April 2014.

[14] In 1996, the SPLM/A declared a moratorium on antipersonnel mine use and reasserted its pledge to not use mines in 1999. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 182. The SPLM/A subsequently signed the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment in 2001. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 575. In January 2002, the SPLM/A and the government of Sudan signed the Nuba Mountains cease-fire agreement in which both parties agreed to stop using mines. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2003, p. 534. In 2005, the SPLM/A entered into a Sudanese government of national unity and was bound by the obligations of the Mine Ban Treaty. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2006, pp. 652–653.

[15] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms B and H, December 2012.

[16] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms B and D, April 2013. The report did not mention the four newly-discovered mines declared in 2012.

[17] Email from Lance Malin MBE, Programme Manager for South Sudan, UNMAS, 14 October 2013.

[18] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form B, April 2014.

[19] Statement of South Sudan, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 28 November 2011. Notes by the ICBL.

[20] Statement of South Sudan, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, Maputo, June 2014.