Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 16 October 2020


The Republic of Singapore has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.

In November 2019, Singapore stated at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that, “Singapore supports all initiatives against the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel landmines. At the same time, as a small State, Singapore firmly believes that the legitimate security concerns and the right to self-defence of any State cannot be disregarded. A blanket ban on all types of…anti-personnel landmines may therefore by counter-productive.” Singapore reiterated that it “supports international efforts to resolve the humanitarian concerns about anti-personnel landmines. We will continue to work with members of the international community towards a durable and truly global solution.”[1]

In 2010, the ICBL asked political parties in Singapore to share their views on the Mine Ban Treaty. The Singapore Democratic Party said that it supports a complete ban on the manufacture and use of mines and expressed its concern over Singapore’s role in mine production. It urged the Singapore government to join the treaty.[2] The Singapore Workers’ Party said that while it shares the humanitarian concerns surrounding the use of mines, and had asked the Minister of Defense about joining the treaty,[3] it would not be issuing any public statement due to other priorities.[4] In 2009, the Workers’ Party requested a written reply in parliament regarding the government’s stand on the Mine Ban Treaty.[5]

On 12 December 2019, Singapore voted in favor of annual UNGA Resolution 74/61, which calls for the full implementation and universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty, as it has done in previous years.[6]

Singapore has regularly attended Mine Ban Treaty meetings, most recently the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018.[7] However, Singapore did not send observers to the convention’s Fourth Review Conference in Oslo, Norway, in November 2019.

Singapore is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), nor is it party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Use, stockpiling, production, and transfer

A Singaporean official previously stated that the army only uses antipersonnel mines for training, but that it must retain the option to use mines for self-defense.[8] The Ministry of Defense has not replied to requests for further information about Singapore’s training program.

In March 2009, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official restated that Singapore will not disclose any information regarding its stockpile of antipersonnel mines for defense and security reasons. The official stated that Singapore maintains stringent controls on its stockpile management system and that all mines are destroyed after their expiration date.[9]

Singapore has long acknowledged that it produces antipersonnel mines, but officials have declined to reveal if production lines are currently running. Singapore Technologies Engineering (STE), through its subsidiary Singapore Technologies Kinetics, is the government-linked company that has produced antipersonnel mines.[10] In May 2010, when asked if it has halted production, STE told the Monitor that, “ST Engineering does not produce landmines and cluster munitions for export, nor are we a sub-contractor to anyone who does.”[11] This was reaffirmed in November 2015, when the company’s chief executive officer declared STE “is now no longer in the business of designing, producing and selling of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions or any related key components.”[12]

Singapore declared an indefinite moratorium on the export of all antipersonnel mines in February 1998. In May 2011, an official confirmed that the moratorium remains in place.[13]

[1] Singapore, Explanation of Vote on Resolution L.45, 74th Session, UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee, New York, 6 November 2019, UNGA, Official Records, A/C.1/74/PV25, p. 3. This echoes many previous statements by Singaporean officials.

[2] Email from Gandhi Ambalam, Chair, Singapore Democratic Party, 25 May 2010.

[3] In May 2009, Sylvia Lim Swee Lian, Chair of the Singapore Workers’ Party, asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense whether Singapore is working toward acceding to the Mine Ban Treaty. Minister for Defense Teo Chee Hean replied with identical language to that used in other policy statements in recent years. Email from Sylvia Lim Swee Lian, Singapore Workers’ Party, 28 May 2010.

[4] Fax from Sylvia Lim Swee Lian, Singapore Workers’ Party, 3 May 2010.

[5] Email from Sylvia Lim Swee Lian, Singapore Workers’ Party, 28 May 2010. The statement was replied to by Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, whose reply echoed Singapore’s Explanation of Vote at the UNGA. He said: “Like several other countries, we believe that the humanitarian concerns pertaining to anti-personnel mines should be balanced against the legitimate security concerns of states. While we maintain the right to use anti-personnel mines for self-defence, we also support any initiatives against the indiscriminate use of these mines, especially when they are used against innocent civilians.”

[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 74/61, 12 December 2019. On 8 December 2010, when Singapore voted in favor of UNGA Resolution 65/48, it asserted, “Singapore firmly states that the legitimate security concerns and the right to self-defence of any state cannot be disregarded. A blanket ban on all types of anti-personnel landmines might therefore be counter-productive. Statement of Singapore, “Singapore’s Explanation of Vote on Resolution L.39,” 65th Session, UNGA First Committee, New York, 17 October 2010. These remarks are identical to the explanation of vote offered in the previous four years.

[7] An official told the Monitor in March 2009 that Singapore continues to attend Mine Ban Treaty-oriented meetings in order to keep abreast of international developments regarding mines and factor that into its policy considerations. Email from Sharon Seah, Assistant Director, International Organizations Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 31 March 2009.

[8] Interview with Lt.-Col. Koh Chuan Leong, Head, General Staff Branch, Singapore Army, in Geneva, 20 September 2006.

[9] Telephone interview with and email from Sharon Seah, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30 March 2009.

[10] STE has produced two types of antipersonnel mines (VS-50 and VS-69) from designs by Italian companies. When asked about continuing use of Italian mine designs, the ambassador of Italy to Singapore noted that the Italian law banning antipersonnel mines is duly enforced only over Italian subjects and territory. Emails from Andrea de Felip, First Secretary and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Italy in Singapore, 7 and 20 April 2010. It is not known if Italy has requested Singapore to halt use of the designs.

[11] Email from Sharolyn Choy, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, STE, 3 May 2010.

[13] Letter from Seah Seow Chen, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN, 9 May 2011. Also reaffirmed in their statement at the UNGA in November 2019 (see footnote 1).