Palau

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 03 July 2018

Summary: State Party Palau ratified the convention on 19 April 2016. It has participated in several meetings of the convention, but not since 2015. Palau voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2017. Palau reports that it has never produced or used cluster munitions and has no stockpile, including for research or training purposes.

Policy

The Republic of Palau signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified on 19 April 2016, and the convention entered into force for the country on 1 October 2016.

Palau has reported existing legislation under legal, administrative, and other measures to implement the convention, including its constitution, which, it reports, “prohibits use, production, and transshipment of cluster munitions.”[1] Palau also lists a June 2013 executive order formally establishing an advisory committee to manage the country’s clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO).[2]

Palau submitted its annual Article 7 transparency report in May 2018.[3] It provided an initial Article 7 transparency measures report the day after it ratified the convention, as well as a voluntary transparency report prior to ratification, in 2011.[4]

Palau joined the Oslo Process in February 2008 and played an active role in the Dublin negotiations.[5]

Palau participated in the convention’s Meeting of States Parties in 2010–2013 as well as First Review Conference in 2015.[6] It has hosted and attended several regional meetings to discuss a Pacific Islands Forum strategy to clear unexploded ordnance.[7] In February 2018, Palau attended the Pacific Conference on Conventional Weapons Treaties and adopted the conference’s “Auckland Declaration,” acknowledging “the clear moral and humanitarian rationale for joining” the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[8]

In December 2017, Palau voted in favor of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[9] It voted in favor of the previous UNGA resolutions promoting the convention in 2015 and 2016.

Palau has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2017.[10]

Palau has not elaborated its views on certain important issues related to interpretation and implementation of the convention, such as the prohibitions on transit, assistance during joint military operations with states not party that may use cluster munitions, foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions, and investment in production of cluster munitions, and on the retention of cluster munitions for training and development purposes.

Palau is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Palau has reported that it has not produced cluster munitions and does possess a stockpile, including for training and research purposes. It has not used or transferred cluster munitions.



[2] Executive Order 335 of 2013. The group includes clearance NGO Cleared Ground Demining. Statement of Palau, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011.

[3] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, 22 May 2018. The report covers the two-year period of January 2016 to December 2017.

[4] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, 20 April 2016. The report covers calendar year 2015.

[5] For more details on Palau’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 140–141.

[6] At the Review Conference, Palaucommitted to promote the conventionat the “highest level” and “lobby the entire Pacific leadership” to join it. Statement on Universalization, by Amb. Caleb Otto, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Dubrovnik,Croatia,9 September 2015.

[7] The Pacific Regional Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Workshop was jointly hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and ICBL-CMC member SafeGround (formerly the Australian Network to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions) with the support of AusAID.Draft Outcomes Statement, Pacific Regional ERW Workshop, 27–28 June 2013. Provided to the Monitor by Loral Thompson, National Coordinator, SafeGround, 30 March 2014.

[8] Auckland Declaration on Conventional Weapons Treaties,” Pacific Conference on Conventional Weapons Treaties, Auckland, New Zealand, 12–14 February 2018.

[9] “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 72/54, 4 December 2017.

[10] “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 72/191, 19 December 2017. Palau voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013, 2014, and 2016.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019

Policy

The Republic of Palau acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 18 November 2007, becoming a State Party on 1 May 2008.

Draft implementing legislation—the Anti-Personnel Mine Prohibition Act of 2008 (SB No. 7-270)—was introduced into the Senate on 20 August 2008 by Senator Caleb Otto.[1] After passing its first reading, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Affairs, where it is apparently still under consideration. Palau has also cited articles in its Constitution regarding possession of ammunition as existing relevant legislation.[2]

A United States (US) Department of State cable made public by Wikileaks in August 2011 provides US views on Palau’s interpretation of the Mine Ban Treaty.[3] According to the September 2009 cable from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Palau ratified the Mine Ban Treaty “after a long series of consultations with the United States” and after the government of Palau had reportedly “determined that the Ottawa Convention did not conflict with the Compact of Free Association because the GOP [government of Palau] would not be in control of any area in which the United States might use landmines in the defense of Palau under the terms of the Compact.” Also, according to the US, Palau “stated that it would not enact its implementing legislation extraterritorially and therefore it would not apply to Palauan citizens serving in the U.S. armed forces.”

In its Article 7 report covering the calendar year 2010, Palau said that it supports universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty in the Pacific region and participated in a Pacific Island Forum unexploded ordnance scoping mission to assess and recommend actions on unexploded war remnants.[4]

Palau last attended a meeting of the treaty in 2013 when it attended the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in December 2013. Palau has occasionally submitted updated Article 7 transparency reports, most recently in 2018.[5]

On 5 December 2018, Palau abstained from UN General Assembly resolution 73/61 promoting universalization and implementation of the convention.[6]

Palau is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons. It is party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Import, transfer, stockpiling, and destruction

In its initial Article 7 report, Palau stated that it does not possess antipersonnel mine stockpiles, has never produced the weapon, and has no mined areas.[7] Palau has said on several occasions that it does not produce or stockpile antipersonnel mines.[8]

In its Article 7 report for 2010, Palau for the first time listed areas where Japanese antipersonnel and antivehicle mines dating from World War II have been cleared.[9] It stated that “No known or suspected AP Landmines [antipersonnel mines] emplacements exist, although as mentioned above the AP Landmines are sometimes encountered in the cave systems and are remains of Japanese stockpiles from World War 2.”[10] Palau has provided updated information on clearance of Japanese mines in each subsequent updated report.



[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 1 May 2008 to 15 September 2008), Form A.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 2017.

[3] “Concerns on Marshall Islands Ratification of the Ottawa Convention,” US Department of State cable 09STATE91952 dated 3 September 2009, released by Wikileaks on 26 August 2011, www.cablegatesearch.net.

[4] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period January 2010 to December 2010), Form J.

[5] Palau submitted an initial report in 2008 and updated reports in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017, and 2018.

[6] “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction,” UNGA Resolution 73/61, 5 December 2018.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 1 May 2008 to 15 September 2008), Forms B, C, and E.

[8] See for example, statement of Palau, Eighth Meeting of States Parties, Mine Ban Treaty, Dead Sea, 18 November 2007; and statement of Palau, Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 23 April 2007.

[9] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period January 2010 to December 2010), Form A.

[10] Ibid., Form I.


Impact

Last updated: 20 April 2021

Jump to a specific section of the profile:

Treaty Status | Management & Coordination | Impact (contamination & casualties) | Addressing the Impact (land release, risk education, victim assistance)

Country summary

Palau remains contaminated with explosive remnants of war (ERW) including both unexploded ordnance (UXO) and abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO) dating from World War II, primarily as a result of land and naval battles between American and Japanese forces.[1] An estimated total of 2,800 tons (2.8 million kilograms) of ordnance was dropped or fired on the archipelago.[2]

In 2010, two cluster munition remnants were identified and destroyed, but since then no more have been identified through survey or clearance. Palau is believed to be free of cluster munitions.

In its most recent Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, Palau stated that no operators had found any antipersonnel mines in 2017.[3] Palau also stated that no areas suspected or confirmed to contain mines had ever been “validated” under its jurisdiction or control.[4]

Treaty status

Treaty status overview

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party

Convention on Cluster Munitions

State Party

 

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

State Party

 

Palau does not report having areas suspected or confirmed to be contaminated with antipersonnel mines or cluster munitions remnants.

Management and coordination

Mine action management and coordination

Mine action management and coordination overview

Mine action commenced

2009

National mine action management actors

National Safety Office

National UXO Advisory Committee

United Nations Agencies

None

Other actors

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) since 2015

Mine action strategic and operational plans

Palau UXO Policy

Palau UXO Action Plan 2017–2019

 

Strategies and policies

Palau enacted a presidential executive order to adopt its UXO Policy and UXO Action Plan 2017–2019. These documents established a national coordination system, data collection mechanisms, and standards to govern the removal and disposal of ordnance. Palau reported in 2017 that it was still working to request clearance data from Cleared Ground Demining (CGD) for validation and inclusion into the data system.[5]

Palau’s UXO Advisory Committee, with United States (US) funding and technical expertise from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), was in the process of developing the capacity of Palau’s National Safety Office to oversee and manage clearance activities based on the country’s UXO Policy and Action Plan.[6]

Risk education management and coordination

Coordination

Palau’s risk education program is coordinated by the National Safety Office, which works alongside the police, state rangers, and clearance operators in the delivery of risk education.[7]

Victim assistance management and coordination

Coordination

Palau’s victim assistance program is coordinated by the National UXO Advisory Committee.

Laws and policies

Palau’s UXO Advisory Committee adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) framework as a standard to address its obligations on victim assistance.[8] Victims of cluster munitions, mines, and other ERW are entitled to cost-free medical treatment.[9]

Impact

Contamination

Contamination overview

Landmines

Believed to be cleared

Cluster munition remnants

Believed to be cleared

Other ERW contamination

Heavy contamination

 

Landmine contamination

In 2009 the government of Palau invited Cleared Ground Demining (CDG) to conduct survey and clearance of ERW within the country, with landmines as a priority.[10] In its 2011 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, Palau reported the presence of a small stockpile of antipersonnel, antivehicle, and sea mines of Japanese origin, located in a cave and tunnel complex in the Umurbrogol mountains, Peleliu state.[11] In 2017, Palau reported that between 2009–2016, CGD located unknown stockpiles comprising a total of 41 Type 93 HE Blast antipersonnel mines, which were destroyed.[12]

In its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report for calendar year 2017, Palau reported that no operators had found antipersonnel mines in 2017.[13] However, Palau has yet to submit a Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report officially confirming there are no areas suspected to contain antipersonnel mines under its jurisdiction or control.

Cluster munition remnants contamination

In May 2010, CGD identified and cleared an M41A1 bomb that had been fitted with an AN-M1A1 cluster adapter, thus enabling eight fragmentation bombs to be dropped simultaneously. This World War II-type bomb is similar to contemporary cluster munitions. Palau reported clearing and destroying two M41A1 cluster munition remnants in 2010, both found in Koror state.[14]

Since 2010, no cluster munition remnants have been reported in Palau and it is believed that it is no longer contaminated with cluster munitions.

ERW contamination

Palau continues to suffer a high level of contamination from World War II-era ERW. NPA, which has been operating in Palau since 2015, has identified 248 hazardous areas within 16 states.[15] Residents are exposed to ERW while hunting, fishing, collecting shellfish, and engaging in agricultural activities such as cultivating taro and bananas. Ordnance has been removed from memorials, shrines, and other tourist attractions.[16]

Casualties

Palau reports that there are no recorded casualties of cluster munitions, unexploded submunitions, or other ERWs.[17]

Addressing the impact

Mine action

Operators and service providers

Clearance operators

National

National Safety Office

International

NPA since 2015

 

NPA began its work in Palau with a non-technical survey (NTS) in June 2016 which identified 188 hazardous areas. A workplan was drawn up with an end date of February 2020. A total of 60 additional tasks have been identified since then.

NPA also supports the National Safety Office to undertake clearance and disposal of items.[18]

Risk education

Operators and service providers

In 2017, Palau reported implementing multi-language public awareness campaigns to inform both residents and tourists of the risks of cluster munitions and ERW, in conjunction with how to report any when found. Palau’s risk education was coordinated by the National Safety Office, which worked alongside police, state rangers and clearance operators in risk education delivery.[19]

Victim assistance

Victim assistance providers and activities

Survivors of cluster munitions, mines, and other ERW have access to cost-free medical treatment in public hospitals.



[1] Palau Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form B; and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), “Mine Action and Disarmament: Palau,” accessed on 20 July 2020.

[2] Palau Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form D.

[3] Ibid., Form C.

[4] Ibid., Forms F and G.

[5] Ibid., Form J.

[6] Palau Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017) Form G; and NPA, “Mine Action and Disarmament: Palau,” accessed on 20 July 2020.

[7] Palau Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form I.

[8] Palau Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form G.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Palau Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form G.

[11] Palau Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2010), Form C.

[12] Palau Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form G; and Cleared Ground Demining (CGD), “Projects: Republic of Palau Project”, accessed on 20 July 2020.

[13] Palau Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017).

[14] Palau Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2010), Form F, p. 15.

[15] NPA, “Mine Action and Disarmament: Palau,” accessed on 20 July 2020.

[16] CGD, “Projects: Republic of Palau Project”, accessed on 20 July 2020.

[17] Palau Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form H.

[18] NPA, “Mine Action and Disarmament: Palau,” accessed on 20 July 2020.

[19] Palau Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form G.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 22 February 2024

In 2022, Palau received a total of US$835,160 in international mine action assistance from two donors: Japan and the United States (US).[1] This represents a 24% decrease from the $1.1 million received in 2021.

International contributions in 2022 went toward clearance of explosive remnants of war (ERW) by the Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS) and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

International contributions: 2022[2]

Donor

Sector

Amount

(national currency)

Amount

(US$)

Japan

Clearance (ERW)

¥94,671,396

720,160

United States

Clearance (ERW)

US$115,000

115,000

Total

 -

N/A

835,160

Note: ERW=explosive remnants of war; N/A=not applicable.

Five-year support for mine action

In the five-year period from 2018–2022, international mine action assistance to Palau totaled approximately $5.2 million.

Summary of international contributions: 2018–2022[3]

Year

International contributions (US$)

2022

835,160

2021

1,100,000

2020

900,000

2019

900,000

2018

1,500,000

Total

5,235,160

 



[1] Japan: response to Monitor questionnaire by Akifumi Fukuoka, Deputy Director, Conventional Arms Division, Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 7 September 2023. United States: US Department of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), “To Walk the Earth in Safety: 1 October 2021–30 September 2022,” 4 April 2023.

[2] Average exchange rate for 2022: ¥131.4589=US$1. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 9 January 2023.

[3] See ICBL, Landmine Monitor 2022 (ICBL-CMC: Geneva, November 2022); ICBL, Landmine Monitor 2021 (ICBL-CMC: Geneva, November 2021); ICBL, Landmine Monitor 2020 (ICBL-CMC: Geneva, November 2020); and ICBL, Landmine Monitor 2019 (ICBL-CMC: Geneva, November 2019).