Cluster Munition Ban Policy
UPDATE: On 11 December 2018, the Gambia depositied its instrument of ratification to become the 105th State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which will enter into force for the Gambia on 1 June 2019. The information below will be updated at a later date.
Summary: Signatory the Gambia has expressed its intent to ratify the convention on several occasions, most recently in September 2017. It voted in favor of the first United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in 2015 and has participated in meetings of the convention, most recently in 2017. The Gambia states that it has never used, produced, or stockpiled cluster munitions.
The Republic of the Gambia signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008.
In September 2017, the Gambia told States Parties that it intended to ratify the convention “before the end of the year.” Its representative attributed the delay in ratifying to “political unwillingness at the time,” but said that with the “new political dispensation in the Gambia…there is strong political will” to ratify the convention.
Previously, in August 2016, Gambian officials told the Cluster Munition Coalition that the ratification process had started, but no progress had been made yet. Since 2011, the Gambia has expressed its desire to ratify the convention on several occasions.
The Gambia participated in two meetings of the Oslo Process, and while it did not attend the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008, it signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo in December 2008.
The Gambia participated in the first three Meetings of States Parties of the convention in 2010–2012 and was then absent until September 2017, when it attended the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in Geneva. The Gambia has participated in regional workshops on the convention, most recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 2016.
The Gambia voted in favor of the first UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2015, which urges states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.” However, it was absent from the vote on subsequent UNGA resolutions promoting implementation and universalization of the convention in 2016 and 2017.
The Gambia has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria.
The Gambia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
The Gambia has stated on several occasions that it has never used, produced, or stockpiled cluster munitions.
 ICBL-CMC meeting with Col. Momodou Lamin F. K. Jammeh, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defense, The Gambia, Addis Ababa, 5 August 2016.
 In May 2013, it stated the ratification package was awaiting cabinet approval and would then be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and adoption. Statement of the Gambia, Lomé Regional Seminar on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Lomé, Togo, 23 May 2013; statement of the Gambia, Accra Regional Conference on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Accra, 28 May 2012; and statement of the Gambia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011. At a “stakeholders workshop” on the convention held in Banjul on 14 August 2014, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defense, Yusupha Dibba, expressed his support for the convention. Rohey Jadama, “Gambia: Stakeholders Workshop On the Convention On Cluster Munition Concluded,” AllAfrica Global Media, 23 August 2014.
 For details on the Gambia’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. 77–78.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 72/191, 19 December 2017. The Gambia voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2015.
 Statement by Ousman Sonko, Secretary of State for the Interior, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, in Oslo, 4 December 2008; statement by Ousman Sonko, Minister of the Interior and NGO Affairs, Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions, in Berlin, 26 June 2009; statement of the Gambia, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Meeting of States Parties, Vientiane, 10 November 2010. Notes by the CMC; statement of the Gambia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011. Notes by the CMC; and statement of the Gambia, Accra Regional Conference on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Accra, 28 May 2012.
Mine Ban Policy
The Gambia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997. While it completed domestic ratification of the treaty on 2 November 1999, the instrument of ratification was not deposited until 23 September 2002. It became a State Party on 1 March 2003. In 2002, the Gambia reported its intent to incorporate the Mine Ban Treaty into its domestic laws, but no progress on national implementation legislation has since been reported, including in Gambia’s Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports submitted in 2009 and 2010.
Gambia attended the Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva in November–December 2010, as well as the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in June 2011.
Gambia has submitted two Article 7 reports since it became a State Party, one in 2009 and another in 2010. As of October 2011, the Gambia had not submitted its annual Article 7 report.
Gambia is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Production, transfer, stockpiling, and retention
Prior to ratifying the Mine Ban Treaty, Gambia submitted a voluntary report on 28 August 2002, in which it declared that it has never possessed antipersonnel mines. Gambia’s 2010 Article 7 report states that the Gambia “never have [sic] a production facility.”
In a statement at the Tenth Meeting of States Parties in November–December 2010, Gambia declared that in October 2010 its armed forces seized three antipersonnel mines from members of the Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC) who had crossed into Gambia and were intercepted by Gambian forces.
In its Article 7 report submitted in 2010, Gambia declared that it retains 100 VS-50 antipersonnel mines, with “fuses separated,” for “instructional and mine awareness training purposes.” This number remains unchanged from the number of mines retained for training reported in 2009. However, in its 2009 Article 7 report, the Gambia reported that its mines retained for training were used for “combat and mine awareness training,” whereas the 2010 report does not contain a reference to combat training.
 Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report, Form A, 28 August 2002.
 Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report, Forms B and C, 28 August 2002.
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, 2010.
 Statement of the Gambia, Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 2 December 2010.
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms B and D, 2010.
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form B, 2009.
Contamination and Impact
The Republic of the Gambia was seemingly contaminated by antipersonnel mines as a result of spillover from violence in the Casamance region of Senegal, as evidenced by a December 2007 mine blast in the Gambia’s Western division that killed two children and injured another in Gilanfari, a village on the border with Senegal’s Casamance region. In December 2010 at the Tenth Meeting of States Parties, the Gambia declared that it no longer has mined areas containing antipersonnel mines in areas under its jurisdiction or control.
In its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report covering calendar year 2011, the Gambia again reported suspected mined areas on the outskirts of the villages of Gilanfari and Tamba Kunda in the Foni Bintang District, West Coast region. These villages are close to the border with the southern Senegalese region of Casamance.
On 5 December at the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, the Gambia declared it had cleared all known mined areas and had completed its Article 5 obligations. The Gambia also stated that it would report isolated landmine incidents in the unstable Casamance border region if they occur. 
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2011), Form C. This mirrored the Gambia’s Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, submitted in early 2010, which cited the same area as being mine-suspected. See Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 2010.