Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 16 October 2018


The Republic of Yemen signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified it on 1 September 1998. It entered into force on 1 March 1999.

Yemen enacted legislation to enforce implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty on 20 April 2005.[1] It last referred to Presidential Law No. 25 in its 2007 transparency reports for the Mine Ban Treaty, and continued to omit any reference in its 2017 report.[2]

Yemen last submitted an annual Article 7 transparency report for the treaty in March 2017.[3] This was its first Article 7 report since 2014.

Yemen has participated in all of the Mine Ban Treaty’s Review Conferences, including the Third Review Conference in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2014. It attended every Meeting of States Parties of the treaty through the Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties in Vienna, Austria in December 2017 and the treaty’s intersessional meetings in Geneva, including in June 2018.

In November 2016, Yemen told States Parties that the ongoing conflict that began in March 2015, when a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of nations began a military intervention against Houthi forces in Yemen, has prevented the operation of its humanitarian mine clearance program.[4] Yemen said that some emergency mine clearance tasks have been undertaken.

Yemen is not a party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It is also not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, transfer, stockpile destruction, and retention

Yemen has stated that it has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines.

Yemen destroyed a total of approximately 108,000 antipersonnel mines from its stocks. It reported destruction of 74,000–78,000 stockpiled antipersonnel mines in April 2002.[5] An additional 30,000 mines found in November 2006 were destroyed in December 2007.[6] In April 2017, Yemen reported that “there are no stockpiled anti-personnel mines found after the last 30,000 mines found and destroyed in 2006.”[7]

In 2017, Yemen again reported the retention of 3,760 antipersonnel mines of four types for training and research purposes, the same quantity and types declared retained since 2008.[8] Yemen has never reported on the intended purposes and actual uses of its retained mines, as was agreed by States Parties in 2004.[9]

At least five types of antipersonnel mines produced in the 1980s have been used in Yemen since 2013. None of these mines was among the four types of antipersonnel mines that Yemen has reported stockpiling in the past, including for training mine clearance personnel.

Types of antipersonnel mines previously stockpiled by Yemen and types used after 2013

Antipersonnel Mines Originally Stockpiled

Antipersonnel Mines Used After 2013


GLD-150A (Claymore-type produced by China)


Gyata-64 (formerly produced by Hungary)


PMN-1 and PMN-2


PPM-2 (produced by former East Germany)


PSM-1 (formerly produced by Bulgaria)


The evidence of further use of antipersonnel mines in 2016 suggests either that the 2002 declaration to the UN Secretary-General on the completion of landmine stockpile destruction was incorrect, or that these mines were acquired from another source after 2002. In a September 2016 letter, Yemen’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sanaa, controlled by the Houthis and the General People’s Congress, alleged that individuals had smuggled weapons, including landmines, into Yemen in recent years, noting that the government had not been able to control its land or sea borders due to instability and fighting.[10] In April 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that the Sanaa-based Ministry of Defense stockpiles antipersonnel mines.[11]

Production of Landmines by Houthi forces

In September 2018, the arms consultancy Conflict Armament Research (CAR) reported that Houthi forces are “mass producing” landmines andimprovised explosive devices (IEDs),[12] and associated triggering devices for victim activation. This production includes the standardization and production of explosive charges, pressure plates, and passive infrared sensors. Based on a series of CAR field missions conducted in 2017–2018, the report also confirmed the use of PMN, PPM-2, and GLD-150A[13] antipersonnel mines, TM-57, PRB-M3, VS-1.6 antivehicle mines, and a variety of types of improvised mines, including directional fragmentation charges. According to CAR, several types of improvised mines appear to be mass-produced by the Houthi in Yemen and were used in Aden, Mokah, and other locations on the west coast of the country.[14]


Antipersonnel landmines, antivehicle mines, victim-activated improvised mines, and other types of IEDs are being used by Houthi and their associated forces in Yemen in 2018, primarily in battles occurring on the west coast of the country near the port of Hodeida. According to an unconfirmed statistic reported by the Yemen Mine Action Center, the Yemeni army removed over 300,000 Houthi-laid landmines between 2016 and 2018.[15]

Houthis are reported to have used landmines along the coast, along the border with Saudi Arabia, around key towns, along roads, and to cover retreats. According to one source, “Houthi-planted landmines impeded the coalition’s progress in Marib in 2015, in Midi and Harad in early 2016, along the border in Saada governorate in 2016, and in Taizz and Hodeida in early 2017. The Houthis also left a trail of landmines as they retreated from Aden, Lahij, al-Bayda, and Marib governorates in 2015 and 2016.”[16]

Journalists accompanying United Arab Emirate (UAE)-funded mine clearance teams in 2018 have documented hundreds of Houthi mines and explosive devices prior to destroying the weapons.[17]

There has been no evidence to suggest that members of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition have used landmines in Yemen.

In April 2017, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported evidence of new use of antipersonnel landmines in the governorates of Aden, Marib, Sanaa, and Taizz in 2015–2016 by Houthi forces and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.[18] In September 2016, HRW reported Houthi-Saleh forces’ use of antipersonnel mines in Aden, Abyan, Marib, Lahj, and Taizz governorates in 2015–2016.[19] HRW also reported that the Islamist armed group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is also a party to the conflict, used antipersonnel mines in Yemen in 2016.[20]

On 2 April 2017, Yemen’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is controlled by the Houthis and Saleh’s General People’s Congress Party, denied that Houthi-Saleh forces had used antipersonnel landmines, affirming the Sanaa-based authorities are “vigilant in abiding by [their] commitments” under the Mine Ban Treaty.[21]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “armed factions and terrorist groups” have produced and used improvised landmines in Yemen. It said that after the current conflict ends, the Sanaa-based authorities are prepared to create a committee to investigate the use of landmines in Taizz and to investigate any new information or documentation on the use of antipersonnel mines elsewhere, and to “take the necessary steps in accordance with national laws and regulations and its international obligations.”[22]

In early 2017, a UN Panel of Experts on Yemen reported that Houthi-Saleh forces have used victim-activated IEDs that deployed antivehicle mines as the main charge in Taizz.[23] Antivehicle landmines claimed casualties in Bayda governorate in October 2017 and Jawf governorate in April 2017, but it is unclear when those mines were laid.[24]

Previous use

The first confirmed use of antipersonnel mines by a Mine Ban Treaty State Party occurred in Yemen in 2011–2012 at Bani Jarmooz, a location north of Sanaa, during the popular uprising that led to the ousting of then-President Saleh.[25] According to witness testimony and other evidence, GYATA-64,PMN, and PMD-6 antipersonnel mines were laid around the camps of the government’s Republican Guards at Bani Jarmooz in late 2011.[26]

In November 2013, the office of Yemen’s prime minister admitted a “violation” of the Mine Ban Treaty occurred in 2011.[27] Yemen provided Mine Ban Treaty States Parties with an interim report on 29 March 2014 detailing plans to clear the mines laid at Bani Jarmooz.[28] In June 2014, it informed States Parties that the Military Prosecutor’s Office had begun an investigation to identify those responsible for the mine use at Bani Jarmooz.[29] In mid-2014, Houthi forces seized control of Bani Jarmooz.[30] As of October 2017, the area is still not under government control.

The Mine Ban Treaty’s Committee on Cooperative Compliance has engaged with Yemen on the 2011–2012 use at Bani Jarmooz. In October 2016, the committee expressed appreciation for “the willingness of Yemen to engage in a continued dialogue, share information and clarify the situation with regard to the mentioned allegations.”[31] The committee concluded that “it would welcome updated information on efforts by the government of Yemen to carry out an investigation of the use of mines and any additional information on the use of mines within areas under its jurisdiction or control.”

[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 30 March 2007. On 16 December 2004, the Yemeni Parliament endorsed national implementation legislation; on 20 April 2005, Presidential Law No. 25 was issued to bring the legislation into force. Yemen has listed its ratification legislation, stating that “The Parliament of Yemen issued, and the President signed law on 8\98 in June 1998. The law states that the Government of Yemen will enforce the ban from the day the law was issued.” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 31 March 2012 to 31 March 2013), Form A.

[2] Yemen’s 2017 transparency report states that during 2016, “no legal, and other measures were taken as additional measures to the [ratification] law issued by the Parliament of Yemen and signed by the president in 1998.” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, April 2017.

[3] The report covers the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

[4] Intervention of Yemen, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Santiago, 30 November 2016. Notes by Landmine Monitor.

[5] In its Article 7 reports submitted in 2001 and 2002, Yemen reported a stockpile of 78,000 mines, including 4,000 to be retained for training. Its reporting on the destruction of the mines has contained discrepancies, but appeared to total about 74,000. Yet its Article 7 reports have usually cited the figure of 78,000 destroyed. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 522, and subsequent editions of Landmine Monitor.

[6] On 16 December 2007, Yemen destroyed an additional 30,000 POMZ-2 antipersonnel mines that were found in November 2006 in an old military warehouse undergoing transformation into a tourist site. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 31 March 2008; and Form B, 30 March 2007.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form B, April 2017.

[8] Yemen declared the following mines: 940 PPMISR-2, 940 PMD-6, 940 POMZ-2, and 940 PMN. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report(for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017), Form C. It declared the same number (3,760) of retained mines in its Article 7 reports provided in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Yemen’s 2011 report declared a total of 4,000 antipersonnel mines retained for training and research purposes, including 240 additional mines (60 more of each type): 1,000 PPMISR-2, 1,000 PMD-6, 1,000 POMZ-2, and 1,000 PMN. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report(for the period 30 March 2010 to 30 March 2011), Form D. Yemen has not provided any explanation for the increased number listed in the 2011 report.

[9] The retained mines were transferred from centralized military storage facilities in Sanaa and Aden to the Military Engineering Department Training Facility and Mine Detection Dogs Unit. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report(for the period 30 March 2011 to 30 March 2012), Form D.

[10] Letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Yemen, to Human Rights Watch (HRW), 7 September 2016.

[12] Victim-activated IEDs fall under the definition of an antipersonnel landmine and are prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty.

[13] This is a Claymore-type directional fragmentation charge produced by China.

[14] Conflict Armament Research, “Mines and IEDs Employed by Houthi Forces on Yemen’s West Coast,” September 2018.

[15] Ibid., p. 4.

[16] Elana DeLozier, “The Problem of Landmine Proliferation in Yemen,” The Washington Institute, 3 July 2018.

[17] See for example, @LostWeapons, “another couple weeks, another thousand mines cleared in yemen. TM62 antitank mines, press plates, cylinder IEDs,”12 October 2018, Tweet;and @BrowneGareth, “UAE soldiers prepare a cache of Houthi landmines and IEDs for a controlled explosion near Mokha today #Yemen#hodeidah#Aden#IEDS,” 17 July 2018, Tweet.

[18] HRW, “Yemen: Houthi-Saleh Forces Using Landmines,” 20 April 2017.

[19] HRW, “Yemen: Houthis Used Landmines in Aden,” 5 September 2015; “Yemen: New Houthi Landmine Use,” 18 November 2015; and “Yemen: Houthi Landmines Claim Civilian Victims,” 8 September 2016.

[20] HRW, “Yemen: Houthi-Saleh Forces Using Landmines,” 20 April 2017.

[22] Ibid.

[23] HRW, “Yemen: Houthi-Saleh Forces Using Landmines,” 20 April 2017.

[24] Ali Owaida, “Landmine explosion kills 4 troops in central Yemen,” Anadolu Agency, 18 October 2017; and “Landmine explosion kills 2 soldiers in Yemen's north,” Anadolu Agency, 30 April 2017.

[25] Joe Sheffer, “Revenge Landmines of the Arab Spring,” Foreign Policy, 24 May 2013; Yemen Rights Foundation, “A report issued by the Yemen Rights Foundation about landmines that were previously used by members of the Republican Guard stationed in the military bases al-Sama and al-Fareeja in the valleys and mountains of Bani Jarmooz, Sanaa province, in 2011,” 10 April 2013; HRW, “Yemen: Investigate, Respond to Landmine Use Reports,” 27 May 2013; and HRW, “Memorandum to Mine Ban Treaty Delegates: Yemen’s Compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty,” 8 April 2014.

[26] Joe Sheffer, “Revenge Landmines of the Arab Spring,” Foreign Policy, 24 May 2013; andYemen Rights Foundation, “A report issued by the Yemen Rights Foundation about landmines that were previously used by members of the Republican Guard stationed in the military bases al-Sama and al-Fareeja in the valleys and mountains of Bani Jarmooz, Sanaa province, in 2011,” 10 April 2013; HRW Press Release, “Yemen: Investigate, Respond to Landmine Use Reports,” 27 May 2013. In April 2014, HRW reported that the landmines laid at Bani Jarmooz had killed at least two civilians and wounded 20 others since late 2011, including at least one dead and six wounded in the year since April 2013. The casualties all occurred in the vicinity of military camps that the 63rd and 81st Brigades of the Republican Guard established at Bani Jarmooz around 26 July 2011, and which remained in place as of September 2014. During an April 2013 visit, HRW did not observe any fencing or warning signs. HRW, “Memorandum to Mine Ban Treaty Delegates: Yemen’s Compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty,” 8 April 2014.

[27] “The government pledges its commitment to implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty,” Saba News Service, 19 November 2013. See also, ICBL Web Post, “Yemen mine use: official communiqué,” 22 November 2014; and statement of Yemen, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2013.

[29] Interview with Yemen’s Delegation to the Third Review Conference, in Maputo, 26 June 2014. Notes by HRW.

[30] Email from HRW’s Yemen Researcher, 21 October 2014.