Cluster Munition Ban Policy
Ten-Year Review: The Gambia ratified the convention on 25 June 2018. It has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently in September 2018. The Gambia voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2019.
In its initial transparency report for the convention provided in November 2019, the Gambia formally confirmed that it has never produced cluster munitions and does not possess any, or stockpiles, including for training and research purposes. The Gambia has never used or transferred cluster munitions.
The Republic of the Gambia signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified it on 11 December 2018, and the convention entered into force for the Gambia on 1 June 2019.
The Gambia reported in November 2019 that it is considering if specific legislation is needed to guide and enforce its implementation of the convention. The Gambia affirmed that it “is aware of its obligations” under the convention and will “take all appropriate legal, administrative and other measures to implement” it.
The Gambia provided its initial Article 7 transparency report for the convention in November 2019.
The Gambia attended two meetings of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It did not participate in the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008, but signed the convention in Oslo in December 2008.
The Gambia ratified the convention less than two years after September 2017, when it apologized for the delays and said it would be able to complete its ratification process as the establishment of the new government meant there was now strong “political will” to do so.
The Gambia has participated in meetings of the convention, most recently the Eighth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2018. It was invited to, but did not attend the Ninth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2019.
In December 2019, the Gambia voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution urging full implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Previously, it voted in favor of the annual resolution promoting the convention in 2015 and 2018, but was absent from the vote in 2016–2017.
The Gambia has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2019.
The Gambia has not expressed its views on certain important issues relating to its interpretation and implementation of the convention, such as the prohibition on transit, the prohibition on assistance during joint military operations with states not party that may use cluster munitions, the prohibition on foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions, the prohibition on investment in production of cluster munitions, and the need for retention of cluster munitions for training and development purposes.
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
In its initial transparency report for the convention, the Gambia formally confirmed that it has never produced cluster munitions and does not possess any stockpiles, including for training and research purposes. The Gambia has repeatedly stated that it has never used, produced or transferred cluster munitions.
 The initial report covers the period prior to November 2019. As of August 2020, the Gambia has not provided its an annual updated report, due by 30 April.
 For details on the Gambia’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 77–78.
 The Gambia previously attended the convention’s Meetings of States Parties in 2010–2012 and 2017-2018, as well as regional workshops on the convention, most recently in Kampala, Uganda in May 2017. It did not participate in the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 74/62, 12 December 2019.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 74/169, 18 December 2019. The Gambia voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2015 and 2017–2018.
 The Gambia had previously reported this information in statements. See, Statement of the Gambia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Eighth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 4 September 2018. 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 Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC); statement of the Gambia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011. Notes by the CMC.
Mine Ban Policy
The Republic of 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 attends meetings of the treaty semi-regularly, most recently attending the Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties in Santiago in November–December 2016. Gambia also attended the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014. Gambia has submitted four Article 7 reports since it became a State Party, in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013.
Gambia is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons. Gambia is party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
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.
 Ibid., Forms B and C.
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, 2010.
 Statement of the Gambia, Mine Ban Treaty Tenth Meeting of States Parties, 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.