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Country Reports
KUWAIT, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Kuwait has not signed the Mine Ban Treaty. It has sent mixed signals on its mine ban policy. It voted for the 1996 UN General Assembly resolution urging states to pursue vigorously an international agreement banning antipersonnel mines. It attended the treaty preparatory meetings in early 1997, but did not endorse the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration in June 1997. Still, Kuwait came to the Oslo negotiations in September as a full participant, not an observer, and voted for the 1997 UNGA resolution supporting the December treaty signing. Yet, it came to the Ottawa signing conference only as an observer, and did not sign the treaty. Subsequently, it voted for the 1998 UNGA resolution welcoming new signatories and urging full implementation of the treaty. Kuwait is not a party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Kuwait is not believed to have ever produced or exported antipersonnel mines. According to the UN mines database, Kuwait has said that it does not have a stockpile of AP mines, and in 1996 stated that it would not use antipersonnel mines, with certain unidentified exceptions.[1]

According to a 1993 U.S. State Department report, during the Persian Gulf War, Iraqi forces laid millions of mines to prevent Allied Forces from recapturing Kuwaiti territory.[2] Allied forces also dropped Gator scatterable antipersonnel mines from the air. Many failed to detonate on impact, and thus became de facto antipersonnel mines.[3] In the aftermath of the conflict, Kuwait had an estimated 728 square kilometers of land seeded with an estimated five to seven million Russian PMN, Italian VS-50 and VS-69, and U.S. Gator mines.[4] Mines were laid along the Kuwaiti border with Saudi Arabia, along the Kuwaiti coastline, along power lines, highways, and around oil fields.[5]

The government of Kuwait spent US $800 million hiring over 4,000 private contractors from a number of different countries who cleared over 1.6 million mines and unexploded ordnance.[6] Eighty-four people lost their lives and 200 were injured in this massive clearance effort. Even with the demining, 1,700 Kuwaiti civilians were killed by landmines between 1991 and 1995.[7]

In 1995, Kuwait announced that it was officially cleared of the 5-7 million landmines leftover from the Gulf War. However, it noted that there were still some areas of Kuwait that had not been demined, particularly around Bedouin watering holes.[8] Although all of the 728 sq km of minefields have undergone initial mine clearance, because wind storms bury mines deep in the sand, many of the minefields did not pass quality assurance inspections and had to be re-cleared.[9]

Kuwait has not contributed any money to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Mine Clearance. It has made no known donations to other mine action programs.


[1] Country Report: Kuwait, United Nations. At: http://www.un.org/Depts/Landmine/country/kuwait.htm.

[2] U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Problem with Uncleared Landmines, July 1993, p. 114.

[3] Sean Roberts and Jody Williams, After the Guns Fall Silent: The Enduring Legacy of Landmines (Washington: Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, 1995), p. 261.

[4] U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers, 1993, p. 114.

[5] Roberts and Williams, After the Guns Fall Silent, p. 261.

[6] Country Report: Kuwait, United Nations.

[7] Roberts and Williams, After the Guns Fall Silent, p. 262.

[8] Country Report: Kuwait, United Nations.

[9] U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Landmine Crisis, December 1994, p. 20-21.