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


Key developments since March 1999: Landmines are still being found in Kuwait in both coastal and desert areas, and mine clearance operations are ongoing. In 1999 the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research established the “Kuwait Environmental Information System” that records and plots the locations of mines and UXO recovered. Previously unknown, it appears Kuwait has a stockpile of antipersonnel mines numbering more than 45,000. The United States also apparently stockpiles antipersonnel mines in Kuwait.

Mine Ban Policy

Kuwait has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty nor has the government provided any reason for not joining the treaty. In October 1999, the Kuwaiti representative at the UN First Committee stated that antipersonnel mines were of “great concern, and the international community needed to look into the best means for their elimination.”[1] Kuwait, as in the past, voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 54/54B supporting the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 December 1999. Kuwait is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, but it did attend the First Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II (Landmines) in December 1999 in Geneva. Kuwait is not a member of the Conference on Disarmament.

Production, Transfer, Use, Stockpiling

It is not believed that Kuwait has produced or exported antipersonnel mines. It is not known if Kuwait has imported or used antipersonnel mines.

Citing the United Nations database, Landmine Monitor Report 1999 reported that Kuwait had said it did not have a stockpile of antipersonnel mines.[2] However, based on information obtained from the Kuwait Ministry of Defense, it appears that Kuwait has collected and stored at least 45,845 antipersonnel mines cleared during the demining operations conducted after the Gulf War.[3] This represents 4.3% of the total number of antipersonnel mines removed in Kuwait. In addition to the AP mines, 48,742 antitank mines were retained.[4] According to a study conducted by the Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait, “During mine clearing operations, the working teams destroyed the damaged mines which were hazardous to manipulate. The usable ones were collected in order to be stored.”[5]

It is not known if these mines were subsequently destroyed or retained by Kuwait for unspecified purposes. The majority of the antipersonnel mines retained and stored by Kuwait came from the northeast part of the country that was cleared by Pakistani deminers, and from the Kuwait City-Ahmadi sector cleared by Kuwaiti deminers.[6] The types of AP mines retained and stored are unknown.

According to information dated 1997, the United States stockpiles 696 MOPMS and 8,200 Volcano antipersonnel mines as part of pre-positioned U.S. Army equipment stored in Kuwait.[7]

The Landmine Problem

Landmines are still being found in Kuwait in coastal and desert areas, including rough vegetated sandy plains, sabkhas, active drainage basins, and oil contaminated patches.[8] Emergency teams are still clearing mines in several areas.[9]

During the 1990-1991 Iraqi occupation and subsequent liberation of Kuwait, almost 97.8% of the land area of Kuwait became mine or UXO affected. The most heavily mined areas were the northern coast of Kuwait Bay (610 mines per square kilometer) and the Kuwait-Saudi Arabia border (917 mines per square kilometer).

As of 3 April 1999, a total of 1,646,916 landmines had been recovered from the coastal and desert areas of Kuwait, including 1,078,961 antipersonnel mines and 567,955 antitank mines.[10] The statewide density of the recovered landmines was approximately 92 mines per square kilometer and a ratio of 1.1 mines per person.

Survey and Assessment[11]

The Kuwait Ministry of Defense conducted an in-depth assessment and survey for the extent of the mine and UXO problem in Kuwait in 1991 and subdivided the country into eight sectors for subsequent clearance.

In 1998, the Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait prepared a complete set of maps showing the geographic extent and density of the various types of landmines. Mapping was based on information obtained during demining operations. In 1999 the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research established the “Kuwait Environmental Information System” that records and plots the locations of mines and UXO recovered.[12]

Mine Action Funding

Immediately after the liberation of Kuwait in February 1991, the government of Kuwait planned for an integrated mine and UXO clearance program. Its duration was twenty-four months and cost approximately $728 million. The government of Kuwait financed the entire program.

Kuwait has not contributed funds toward international mine action programs due to budgetary limitations and infrastructure rebuilding costs.

Coordination of Mine Action

A national mine clearance plan was established by the Ministry of Defence in 1991. Priority was given to populated areas, transportation nodes, infrastructure, oil fields, and recreation facilities. The national plan consisted of the three phases. The military and contractors continue in the on-going third phase to complete pending operations and carry out new tasks requested by the government and private authorities, as well as quality control.

The Engineering Corps (Ministry of Defense) and the Ministry of the Interior are responsible for the coordination of mine action operations. The latter body deals with mines and UXO in populated areas, while the former deals with these explosives in desert areas (unpopulated). The two bodies receive notices from the public and governmental organizations on the existence of mines and UXO. The Fire and Safety department of the Kuwait Oil Company is responsible for the coordination of mine clearance in company areas and has direct contact with the Engineering Corps.

Mine Clearance

Contracts have been signed with the Bangladeshi military, an American consulting company, and local companies to conduct on-going clearance in nearly half of Kuwaiti territory (8,035 square kilometers) over the next five years. From 16 June 1997 to 12 December 1998 approximately 380 mines were recovered from desert areas in Kuwait. From 12 December 1998 to 3 April 1999, twenty-two mines were cleared.[13]

The Engineering Corps is currently clearing seismic survey tracks for the Kuwait Oil Company, as well as electricity and oil line tracks, according to the requests received by the Kuwaiti Army.[14] Two Bangladeshi battalions are engaged in mine clearance under the supervision of the Engineering Corps.

Mine Awareness

Mine awareness activities are on-going in Kuwait. In May 2000, the Kuwait Red Crescent arranged an exhibition on the hazards of antipersonnel mines.

As part of the integrated mine action effort, the government established a mine awareness program that produced maps, posters, pamphlets and media programs on the distribution, types, and hazards of mines and UXO. The Ministry of Defence issued a 160-page guide for deminers that included the specifications, mechanism of operation and safety measures of landmines and ammunition found in Kuwait. The book covers cluster bombs (eight types), antipersonnel mines (VS50, PMN, Type 72, SB33, P40, VS.T), antitank mines (P2, MARK3, VS1.6, VS2.2, Type 72), mortars (fifteen types), artillery ammunition (twelve types), tank ammunition (six types), grenades (twelve types), RPG and missiles (six types).[15] Another similar twenty-eight-page guide was distributed to the public with the warning “report all suspected strange objects.”[16]

The Kuwait Red Crescent Society arranged, in 1997, an exhibition with the theme landmines should be stopped and included several pavilions displaying the effects of landmines. Additionally, Kuwait Red Crescent Society issued a 40-page booklet that discusses international law and the landmines in Kuwait entitled “Landmines Must be Stopped” in English, French and Arabic.

Landmine Casualties

The government conducted a countrywide survey of the number of people killed and injured by mines and UXO between 1991 to 1993.[17] A total of 429 persons were wounded and twenty killed by mines and UXO. Regarding children under 16 years, 5 were killed and 149 were wounded. For adults, 15 were killed (all men) and 280 were wounded (18 women and 262 men). 51 victims had limbs amputed.[18] All victims have received prosthetic devices. The mine incidents took place in both urban and desert areas.

The number and nationalities of deminers killed or injured between 1991 and 3 April 1999 during clearance operations in Kuwait is presented in the following table.[19]


Victim Assistance

For landmine and UXO victims medical and rehabilitative services are generally free except for some items like wheelchairs that are partially paid for by victims. Health care and medical treatment are sponsored by the government of Kuwait and disabled persons receive pensions. The medical expenditure incurred by the state to treat traumatic injuries caused by a mine or UXO accident, from initial visit to the emergency room through psysiotherapy, totals $17,331.[20]

The Ministry of Health with the cooperation of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour constitute a national level coordination body focused on disability issues. For disabled persons in Kuwait facilities and services are available. These involve rehabilitation centers, manfacturing of orthopaedic devices and appliances, physiotherapy, prosthetic technicians, occupational therapists, psychologists, and vocational rehabilitation programs. Kuwait Red Crescent Society provides services for disabled persons and landmine victims in the whole country. There are no specific disability laws or decrees in Kuwait.


[1] Statement of Hisham al-Ghanim, General Debate of the First Committee, GA/DIS/3142, 13 October 1999.
[2] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 891.
[3] Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait, Landmines and the Destruction of the Environment of Kuwait (ISBN 99906-32-20-0), Kuwait, 1999, p. 37 (Table 7). Data was as of 22 January 1997.
[4] Landmines and the Destruction of the Environment of Kuwait, p. 40 (Table 9).
[5] Ibid., p. 33.
[6] Ibid., p. 37 (Figure 13).
[7] Information provided to Human Rights Watch by U.S. government sources, March 1999.
[8] Interviews with officers of the Kuwaiti Army, July 1999.
[9] Information provided by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense to the Center for Research and Studies, May 2000.
[10] Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense “Ammunition and Explosives Disposal Report,” 1999.
[11] For a detailed examination of the mine and UXO problem in Kuwait, see Landmines and the Destruction of the Environment of Kuwait (ISBN 99906-32-20-0) by the Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait, 1999.
[12] Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, “Kuwait Environmental Information System, Phase II, Interim report No 4,” 1999.
[13] Information provided by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense to the Center for Research and Studies, May 2000.
[14] Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait, Landmines and the Destruction of the Environment of Kuwait, 1999, p. 120.
[15] Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense, “Unexploded Ammunition in Kuwait, a Pocket Book for the Personnel of the Clearance Operations of the Remains of War,” undated.
[16] Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense, “War Remains,” undated.
[17] Kuwaiti Ministry of Planning, Statistics and Information Sector, Edition 34, 1997.
[18] Kuwaiti Ministry of Health, “Statistics of Casualties of Landmines,” 1993.
[19] Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense, reports on landmine and ammunition clearance, 1999.
[20] Kuwaiti Public Authority for Assessment of Compensation for Damage Resulting from Iraqi Aggression, 1996. Converted at 1996 exchange rates.