Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019


The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.

Lao PDR officials have stated on many occasions that the government made a decision in 2004 to accede but that the country needs time to prepare to meet the treaty’s obligations. In May 2019, Lao PDR stated that it has “always supported the spirit and humanitarian objective” of the convention, it has “increased [its] effort to implement certain clauses” of the convention, and “with continued supported from the international community, the Lao PDR would be able to accede to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in the future.”[1]

Previously, in December 2012, Lao PDR reiterated that it would work toward accession but did not provide any timeline.[2]

In July 2011, Lao PDR provided a voluntary Article 7 transparency report. The report notes that landmines may be used, possessed, or traded, if sanctioned. It states that there has been no survey regarding mined areas and that there are no specific warnings posted for mined areas, only warnings for areas with unexploded ordnance (UXO). It does not provide any information regarding its stockpile but does state that a small quantity of antipersonnel mines is held for training in mine detection.[3] Lao PDR had previously said that its voluntary Article 7 report, when submitted, would allow the international community to “understand the facts and reality on the ground.”[4] Lao PDR has not submitted an updated Article 7 report since.

The Lao government has cited the treaty’s mine clearance obligation and deadline under Article 5 as an obstacle to accession. Lao PDR also expressed concern regarding the possible diversion of resources from UXO clearance activities to a focus on antipersonnel mines.[5]

Lao PDR occasionally attends meetings of the treaty as an observer state, most recently the intersessional meetings in May 2019 and the Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties in November 2017. Lao PDR did not attend the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014.

On 5 December 2018, Lao PDR voted in favor of UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 73/61 calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. This was the twelfth consecutive year it has voted in favor of the annual resolution, after abstaining in all previous years.

Lao PDR is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but not Amended Protocol II on landmines. It is party to Protocol V on explosive remnants, and is also party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Use, stockpiling, production, and transfer

In 2008, Lao PDR acknowledged that it has used mines in the past “to protect its borders.” It also said that the government does not export antipersonnel mines although it holds a small stockpile.[6] Lao PDR’s voluntary Article 7 report states that it has not used antipersonnel mines for more than two decades and that the country has no production facilities.[7]

[1] Statement of Lao PDR, Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings, Geneva, 24 May 2019.

[2] Statement of Lao PDR, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Session on Universalization, Geneva, 6 December 2012.

[3] Form A of the Article 7 report notes that sanctions in the penal code prohibit production, possession, use, or trade of war weapons, although not specifically mines, unless legally sanctioned. Form B states that the information will be provided when it is available. Form C notes that “no survey on anti-personnel mines has been carried out, therefore the information on the locations of mine fields are lacking [sic].” Form D states that the Ministry of Defence retained a “small quantity of APMs [antipersonnel mines] for the training in mine detection…” On Form E, Lao PDR stated that it has no antipersonnel mine production facilities. Forms F, G, and H state that “no information is available.” Form I states that “there is no specific warning about APMs [antipersonnel mines], but only UXOs that could be also valid for landmines. Since the contamination areas are so wide, UXO marking signs were set up only at the project areas.” Form I includes a total of mine victims as a percentage of a casualty figure from 1964–2008, and notes that Lao PDR will continue to destroy mines when they are found during the course of UXO clearance. Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report (for the period to 31 December 2010), Forms A–I.

[4] Statement by Khonepheng Thammavong, Permanent Mission of Lao PDR to the UN in Geneva, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on General Status and Operation, Geneva, 20 June 2011.

[6] Statement by Amb. Maligna Saignavongs, NRA, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on General Status and Operation, Geneva, 2 June 2008.