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Country Reports
IRAQ, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: The United Nations expressed concern in mid-2000 about incidences of freshly laid mines being found in previously cleared minefields in Northern Iraq. It did not identify the mine user.

Iraq has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty, nor is it a party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). Iraq became a member of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in 1996, and in 1997 the Iraqi Ambassador to the UN urged the CD to launch negotiations on a global landmine ban.[1] However, the Iraqi government is not known to have made any public statements with regard to a mine ban since 1997. Iraq has not been eligible to vote on the pro-ban UN General Assembly resolutions because of failure to pay dues.

Iraq is both a producer and an exporter of antipersonnel mines. It remains the only known mine exporter in the world that has not instituted an export ban or moratorium, or at least made a policy declaration of no current export. Though Iraq deployed enormous quantities of mines in Kuwait and Iraqi Kurdistan, the vast majority of mines used were imported.

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has identified AP mines from the following countries as having been used by Iraq in Iraqi Kurdistan, in Kuwait, on the borders with Kuwait and/or Saudi Arabia, or found in Iraqi stocks: Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Italy, Romania, Singapore, the former Soviet Union and the U.S.[2]

A United Nations report in June 2000 noted that the UN Office for Project Services “remains concerned about the incidences of freshly laid mines being found in previously cleared minefields.”[3] The report does not identify the user of mines, though it is likely the PKK (see Northern Iraq Landmine Monitor report).

Iraq is severely mine-affected as a consequence of the Gulf War, the Iran-Iraq War, and two decades of internal conflict. According to the U.S. State Department, the government before 1991 primarily planted landmines in northern Iraq. Apparently many of the mines were laid during the Iran-Iraq War, and the army failed to clear them before it abandoned the area. Landmines are also a problem along the Iraq-Iran border throughout central and southern Iraq.[4]

Mine awareness and mine clearance programs appear to be underway only in Iraqi Kurdistan, with both the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) as well as the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) being active in this region (see separate report on Iraqi Kurdistan). In December 1998 the Iraqi government declared this mine-clearing activity in northern Iraq to be subversive.[5] It stated that the clearance was being performed without Baghdad’s permission, and that it violated Security Council resolutions on the need to “respect Iraq’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”[6]

Care for landmine survivors is minimal. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) developed an orthopedic program that was initiated in Iraq in 1993. Decentralized prosthetic/orthotic centers were created in Basra, Mosul and Najef in collaboration with the ministry of Health and the Iraqi Red Crescent Society.[7]


[1] Stephanie Nebhay, “Iraq Calls on Middle East States to Reveal Arms,” Reuters, 14 August 1997.
[2] Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993), p. 104.
[3] UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 1281 (1999), S/2000/520, 1 June 2000, p. 13. The report addresses distribution of humanitarian supplies throughout Iraq.
[4] U.S. Department of State, 1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 25 February 2000, online edition, Section 1 (g).
[5] Ibid.
[6] “Iraq Objects To Demining Groups in Kurdish North,” Fox News Online, 29 December 1998.
[7] ICRC, “ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Program in Iraq, 1994 – 1997.”