South Sudan

Last Updated: 30 November 2014

Mine Ban Policy

Mine ban policy overview

Mine Ban Treaty status

State Party

National implementation measures

No measures taken yet


Provided updated Article 7 report in in April 2014


Less than six months after becoming an independent state on 9 July 2011, the Republic of South Sudan joined the Mine Ban Treaty on 11 November 2011 through the rarely used process of “succession.” According to the UN Office of Legal Affairs, the Mine Ban Treaty took effect for South Sudan on 9 July 2011, the date of state independence and succession.[1]

In December 2012, South Sudan reported that it is aware of its obligations under Article 9 of the Mine Ban Treaty to “take all appropriate legal, administrative and other measures, including the imposition of penal sanctions, to prevent and suppress” any prohibited activity.[2] In its 2013 and 2014 transparency reports, South Sudan reported that it is aware of its Article 9 obligation, but has not yet taken any legal measures.[3]

South Sudan submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 2012 and provided annual updated reports in April 2013 and 2014.[4]

Since it became an independent state in 2011, South Sudan has participated in every Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, including the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in December 2013. It attended the treaty’s Third Review Conference in June 2014. South Sudan has participated in every intersessional Standing Committee meeting held in Geneva since 2012, including those held in April 2014.

Production and transfer

South Sudan has declared that “There are not and never have been anti-personnel mine production facilities in South Sudan.”[5] It has also reported that it “does not have capability or an amenity for the production of the anti-personnel mine and has no intension [sic]  whatsoever to produce them in the future.”[6]

There is no information available on past transfers.

Stockpiling and destruction

In accordance with the provisions of Article 4 of the Mine Ban Treaty, South Sudan must destroy any stockpiles of antipersonnel mines as soon as possible and no later than 9 July 2015.

Before independence, the southern-based rebel movement the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) stockpiled and used antipersonnel mines.[7]

In December 2012, South Sudan reported that it had destroyed 10,566 stockpiled antipersonnel mines and also reported the discovery of previously unknown stocks of antipersonnel mines in former camps of the Sudan Armed Forces, stating that it had discovered four PMN antipersonnel mines that would be destroyed. It listed 30 different types of antipersonnel mines that have been destroyed in the course of mine clearance operations.[8]

In April 2013, South Sudan declared that the government destroyed 6,000 stockpiled antipersonnel mines in March 2008 and no longer had a stockpile.[9] The National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) issued a letter confirming that the previously reported statement made by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Eleventh Meeting of the State Parties in 2012, regarding discovery of new stockpiles of antipersonnel mines, was made in error.[10]

In April 2014, South Sudan again reported that 6,000 antipersonnel mines have been destroyed from stocks and said “South Sudan does not have any stockpiles of antipersonnel mine, all identified or discovered Antipersonnel Mine stockpiles have been destroyed by the competent authority in March 2008.”[11]

South Sudan is not retaining any antipersonnel mines for training.[12] This has been confirmed in its Article 7 reports.[13]


There have been no reports of new antipersonnel landmines in the internal armed conflict that erupted in late 2013 and continued into 2014.

Previously, in 2011, there were several incidents in which landmines were apparently laid in South Sudan, but the Monitor could not determine who was responsible for the mine-laying and to what extent antipersonnel mines, as opposed to antivehicle mines, were being laid. The NMAA visited the states of Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity, and Western Bahr El Ghazal in June–July 2013 as part of a fact-finding investigation into the landmine use allegations, where it engaged in discussions with civil authorities in each state, including the governor and the deputy governor as well as the sector and division commanders from the SPLA. Both the civil authorities as well as the SPLA denied allegations of being involved in new mine laying activities and explicitly stated that no antipersonnel mines are held in SPLA stocks. The SPLA however confirmed that new mines had indeed been laid by rebel forces in Unity and Jonglei states (see below).[14]

In March 2014, the UN shared with the ICBL the seven-page report of the investigation by the three-person NMAA team led by Nyang Chol Dhuor.[15]

Non-state armed groups

Previously, in 2011, there were reports of antivehicle mine use in Jonglei state and the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) was quoted in media reports saying that forces loyal to George Athor, a former deputy chief of staff of the SPLA, had used mines in northern Jonglei state.[16] The SPLA also blamed Athor’s forces for “planting land mines.”[17]

The 2014 report by the NMAA found that Athor’s forces were responsible for using landmines in Pigi Country at Kurwai, Pangak, and Kolid, but found “it is clear that there were no newly planted mines neither by the SPLA or rebels in Likuangole” in Pibor Country.

Previously, in Unity state, there were reports of antivehicle mine use in 2011, claiming multiple casualties and the Small Arms Survey documented newly-laid Chinese manufactured T-72 antivehicle mines, reportedly laid by armed opposition group the South Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SSLA/M), around Mayom on 29 October 2011.[18]  

In September 2011, the SSLA/M denied responsibility for landmine use and blamed the SPLA “for planting anti-personnel mines.” In January 2012, a former senior SSLA member interviewed by Amnesty International admitted that their forces had laid antivehicle landmines on Unity state roads expected to be used by SPLA forces, but denied the use of antipersonnel landmines.[19]

The NMAA report found the SSLM, “tried to plant landmines” on several roads in Unity state that it said need to be resurveyed.


[1] See, “South Sudan,” on the Mine Ban Convention website. The Republic of the Sudan signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified on 13 October 2003, becoming a State Party on 1 April 2004. Under the “succession” process, a newly independent state may declare that it will abide by a treaty that was applicable to it prior to its independence.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, December 2012. In Sudan, a Mine Action Law adopted by Presidential Decree #51 on 31 March 2010 prohibits antipersonnel mines and includes penalties for violations.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, April 2013; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, April 2014.

[4] The initial report covers the period from 11 July 2011 to 1 September 2012, while the report provided in April 2013 is for the period from September 2012–April 2013, and the report provided in April 2014 covers calendar year 2013.

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, April 2013. In November 2011, South Sudan informed States Parties that it does not possess facilities for the production of landmines. Statement of South Sudan, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 28 November 2011. Notes by the ICBL.

[6] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, April 2014.

[7] In 1996, the SPLM/A declared a moratorium on antipersonnel mine use and reasserted its pledge to not use mines in 1999. See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 182. The SPLM/A subsequently signed the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment in 2001. See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 575. In January 2002, the SPLM/A and the government of Sudan signed the Nuba Mountains cease-fire agreement in which both parties agreed to stop using mines. See Landmine Monitor Report 2003, p. 534. In 2005, the SPLM/A entered into a Sudanese government of national unity and was bound by the obligations of the Mine Ban Treaty. See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, pp. 652–653.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms B and H, December 2012.

[9] Ibid., Forms B and D, April 2013. The report did not mention the four newly-discovered mines declared in 2012.

[10] Email from Lance Malin MBE, Programme Manager for South Sudan, UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), 14 October 2013.

[11] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form B, April 2014.

[12] Statement of South Sudan, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 28 November 2011. Notes by the ICBL.

[13] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, December 2012; Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, April 2013; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, April 2014.

[14] UNMAS has been unable to independently verify the allegations due to access restrictions to the alleged sites. Email from Lance Malin MBE, UNMAS, 14 October 2013.

[15] Email to Tamar Gabelnick, ICBL, from Gustavo Laurie, Acting Senior Liaison Officer, UNMAS Geneva, 13 March 2014, containing the NMAA report dated 12 March 2014 and entitled “NMAA investigation report on alleged re-mining in the Republic of South Sudan.”

[16] George Athor’s forces launched an armed rebellion against the government of southern Sudan in the aftermath of the April 2010 elections. George Athor subsequently formed a breakaway movement, the South Sudan Democratic Movement/South Sudan Army (SSDM/A). UNMIS, “Near-verbatim Transcript of the Press Conference by Mr. David Gressley, UNMIS Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan,” Miraya FM Studios, Juba, 29 March 2011.

[17]South Sudan ceasefire broken: Athor attacks Jonglei,” BBC News, 10 February 2011; and Ngor Arol Garang, “Sudan: South Sudan Army Retake Fangak from Athor Forces –SPLA,” Sudan Tribune, 10 February 2011.

[18] Small Arms Survey, Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment, “Anti-tank and anti-personnel mines in Unity and Jonglei states,” 5 March 2012.

[19] According to the former SSLA member, “We had some landmines but we kept many of them back. We sent intelligence guys to lay down anti-tank mines, and then attract SPLA forces to them.” Amnesty International, “South Sudan: Overshadowed Conflict,” 28 June 2012, p. 23.