Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 12 November 2019


The Kingdom of Belgium signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 4 September 1998, becoming a State Party on 1 March 1999. Production of antipersonnel mines ceased in 1990 and was banned in 1995. Transfer was banned in 1993. In 1995, Belgium became the first country in the world to pass domestic legislation comprehensively banning antipersonnel mines, and subsequently amended this legislation to ensure full compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty.

Belgium has regularly served in leadership roles within the work of the convention, most recently serving as chair of the Committee on Victim Assistance in 2017–2019.[1] Previously, Belgium served as co-rapporteur and then co-chair of the Standing Committees on the General Status and Operation of the Convention (1999–2001; 2004–2006; 2013–2014), Mine Clearance (2001–2003), and Victim Assistance (2007–2009; 2014).

Belgium initiated and continued to coordinate the Article 7 Contact Group in 2011 and 2012. Since June 2011, Belgium also served as coordinator of the Universalization Contact Group, taking over from Canada.

In December 2018, Belgium voted in favor of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 73/61 which encourages universalization of the convention, as it has on all previous similar resolutions.[2]

At the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in November 2018, Belgium reaffirmed its commitment to a mine-free world by 2025, and condemned new use of antipersonnel mines, particularly in Syria. It also stated disappointment that Ukraine had failed to comply with the extension request parameters outlined in the convention, and encouraged Ukraine to maintain compliance.[3] Belgium spoke extensively about the issues preventing more effective implementation of victim assistance provisions.[4] It also encouraged states to meet all financial contribution requirements, noting that the contributions are each state’s “testimony to commitment” to the convention.[5]

Belgium has attended all previous Meetings of States Parties. Ambassador Bertrand de Crombrugghe of Belgium served as president of the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties in December 2015.[6] Belgium’s presidency of the meeting included addresses by Belgium’s Vice Prime Minister Didier Reynders and Princess Astrid. Previously, Belgium also served as president of the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in 2002. In 2011 and 2012, Belgian civil society continued its active support for the Mine Ban Treaty and strengthened its efforts on implementation, in particular with regards to victim assistance, disinvestment, funding, and transit of illegal weapons.[7]

Belgium is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Belgium destroyed its stockpile of approximately 433,441 antipersonnel mines in September 1997.[8] By the end of 2018, Belgium retained 2,066 antipersonnel mines for training.[9]

Belgium has no known mined areas, though mines and unexploded ordnance from World War I and World War II are still found occasionally.

Production of antipersonnel mines ceased in 1990 and was banned in 1995.[10] Transfer was banned in 1993. The company Poudres Réunies de Belgique (PRB) was a major producer and exporter of mines, including six types of antipersonnel mine and nine types of antivehicle mine. Production facilities were demilitarized in 1990, and PRB was declared bankrupt in 1993.[11]

[1] Belgium has previously served on the Standing Committees on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Mine Clearance, and Victim Assistance.

[3] Statement of Belgium, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 27 November 2019.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., 30 November 2019.

[6] Belgium also served as president of the Fourth Meeting of States Parties.

[7] See for example Humanity & Inclusion (formerly Handicap International) Belgium’s website; and FairFin’s (formerly Netwerk Vlaanderen) website; together with Dutch NGO PAX’s (formerly IKV Pax Christi) website. A number of other Belgian NGOs continue to be active in support of the Mine Ban Treaty.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 30 April 2010.

[9] Ibid., 30 April 2019.

[10] “Belgium’s Position regarding Action against Anti-personnel mines,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 2000, p. 1.

[11] The types of antipersonnel mine produced were: NR409/PRB M409, PRB BAC H-28, PRB M35, NR 413, PRB M966, and NR 442. Belgian antipersonnel mines have been found in at least eight countries: Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, and Zambia. See, Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 541–543.