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


Key developments since March 1999: Israel’s withdrawal from its occupied zone in South Lebanon in May 2000 revealed a high level of contamination in the area, and greatly increased risk to civilians. The Landmines Resource Center documented fifty mine casualties nationwide in 1999; media reports indicated twenty casualties in one month just in South Lebanon following the withdrawal. Both Israeli forces and non-state actors used mines in South Lebanon in this reporting period.

Mine Ban Policy

Lebanon has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. The Prime Minister told Landmine Monitor in January 2000 that Lebanon supports the treaty’s goals.[1] In June 1997 the Foreign Ministry said, “Lebanon will sign the treaty whenever Israel withdraws.”[2] In December 1998 the Foreign Ministry said, “Lebanon did not sign the Treaty due to the Israeli occupation of West Bakaa and South Lebanon.”[3] According to the report of a United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) assessment mission conducted in February 1999, “The Government of Lebanon has indicated its intention to sign both Landmine Conventions as soon as [UN General Assembly] Resolution 425 is successfully implemented and the Government of Israel signs the same Conventions.”[4] There has been no policy statement from the Lebanese government on the Mine Ban Treaty since Israel’s withdrawal from South Lebanon in late May 2000.

Lebanon became the first country to vote against a pro-ban resolution at the UN General Assembly when on 1 December 1999 it voted against UNGA Resolution 54/54B, calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty.[5] Lebanon had voted yes on similar resolutions in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Lebanese diplomats made no explanation of the vote. No clarifying comments could be obtained from the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lebanon did not participate in any of diplomatic meetings regarding landmines in 1999 or 2000. Lebanon is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, nor is it a member of the Conference on Disarmament.

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, and Use

Although the government has not confirmed it, Lebanon is not thought to have produced or exported antipersonnel mines. The Lebanese Army is believed to have a stockpile of AP mines, but its size and composition are not known.

Since 1975, forces reported to have used landmines in Lebanon include the Lebanese Army, local militia groups, the Syrian Army, various armed Palestinian groups, Israel Defense Forces, and the South Lebanon Army.[6] In 1999 and 2000 the only known use of antipersonnel mines in Lebanon was in occupied South Lebanon by Israel and armed non-state actors, likely Hezbollah. An Israeli official claimed that Hezbollah used mines regularly in South Lebanon in 1999,[7] but a key spokesman affiliated with Hezbollah stated in March 2000 that they generally do not classify themselves as landmine users.[8]

Landmine Problem

Estimates of the number of mines and minefields in Lebanon vary greatly. The Lebanese Army claims that there are more than 150,000 landmines in 518 minefields in the following areas:[9]

  • eighteen minefields or suspected minefields in the Beirut area including Ras El Nabeh, Ras El Nabeh Cemeteries, Mathaf Olivetti, Sahat Al Abd, Syoufi Garden, and Sharshabouh District.
  • Forty-seven minefields or suspected minefields near the Baabda area including the Faculty of Sciences of Lebanon University, Kfarshima, Salima, Arbaniyya, Zandouka, Shwet, Araya, Ras El Harf, and Ain El Remmeneh.
  • Thirty-eight minefields or suspected minefields around Northern Metn including Wadi Jamajem, Ain Teffaha, Sannin, Sin El Fil, Shalouhi, Saloumi, Zaghrin, Kossaybeh, Shamoun Buildings, Ayroun, and Dawwar.
  • Fifty-eight minefields or suspected minefields near Chouf including Deir El Kamar, Barouk Ceders, Ikleem Al Kharroub, KfarMatta, Ain Ksour, Ain Zhalta, Ain El Hawtr, Mtoulleh, Bakkifa, Hasrout, and Shourit.
  • One hundred-fifteen minefields or suspected minefields in the Aley are including Souk El Gharb, Kayfoun, Aytat, Maaroufieh, Aley Ras El Jabal, Bmakkin, Ain Ksour, Binnay, Abey, Baysour, Btater, and Ain Drafeil.
  • Thirty-three minefields or suspected minefields near Kesserwan including Ouyoun El Siman, Geita, Sakiat El Meftiey, Klayaat, Deir Afs, and Bakaata.
  • Sixty-five minefields or suspected minefields in the Jbeil are including Jouroud Al Akoura, Barbara, the Old Tripoli Road, Bejjeh, Shmout, Fghal, and Afka.
  • Ten minefields or suspected minefields near Koura including Zghorta Matawleh, Shanata, Wata Fares, Kateh Fares, and Majdal.
  • Seventy-eight minefields or suspected minefields near Batroun including Shabteen, Sourat, Harbouna, Zan, Toula, Douk, Dahr Abi Yaghi, Tannourine, Sghar, Masrah, Artez, Niha, Koura, and Bekhaaz.
  • Fifteen minefields or suspected minefields near Bsharry including Mazraat Bani Assaf, Mnazraat Bani Saab, and Metrit.
  • One minefield at the Klayat Airbase in Akkar.
  • Five minefields or suspected minefields near Saida including Tanbourit, Barti, Zeghedraya, Kfarhatta, Maghdoushi, and Jabal Hemedeh.
  • Six minefields or suspected minefields near Jezzine (before the withdrawal) in Mrah Hbas, Ain El Mir, and Wadi Maksabi.
  • Three minefields or suspected minefields near Nabatieh including Wadi Jhannam and the Nabatieh Fortress.
  • Thirteen minefields or suspected minefields West Bekaa including Falouj, Bireh, Kilya, Zallaya, Maydoun, Ain Tina, Rawda, Yohmor, and Kamed El Lawz.
  • One minefield at the Baalbeck Fortress.
  • Six minefields or suspected minefields near Rashayya including Yanta, Jabal Mzaybleh, Bakka, and Jabal Al Dawaweer.
  • Six minefields or suspected minefields in the Hasbayya area including Dallafa, Fakha, Mazraat Ain Al Hajal, Shebaa, and Al Kakour.

The above Lebanese Army figures contrast with information provided by the Lebanese government to an UNMAS assessment mission in February 1999: 743 minefields with approximately 3,183 AT mines and 24,271 AP mines, as of December 1998. Of these 471 minefields and suspected areas were treated. According to sources, 208 treated/cleared mine fields still remain suspected areas of being unsafe.[10]

The U.S. Department of State has estimated the number of mines in Lebanon from 8,795 to 35,000.[11]

None of the above numbers of mines and minefields include the formerly occupied zone in South Lebanon from which Israel withdrew in late May 2000. UNMAS has noted, “While the information on the landmine and UXO problem in South Lebanon remain very incomplete, both the data collected during the past twenty-two years by UNIFIL, and the first maps released by Israel, suggest a high level of contamination.”[12] UNMAS states that many of the more than eighty bases and positions evacuated by the IDF and its allied militia in South Lebanon are suspected to be contaminated by nuisance minefields and booby-traps. Other areas with high concentrations of mines include the former border and zone of confrontation. UNMAS reports that most minefields in South Lebanon are unmarked and unfenced.[13] While Israel is not known to have removed mines that it laid prior to its withdrawal, it has provided the UN with maps and other details needed for clearance.[14]

A 21 June 2000 news account said that, according to United Nations experts, there are about 130,000 mines and other explosive devices scattered over the area formerly occupied by Israel.[15]

Mine Action Funding

Lebanon has received funds from Canada, Britain, France, and the U.S. for mine action programs. U.S. military personnel have conducted training programs in Lebanon and twenty-two Lebanese military personnel have attended a one-time advanced humanitarian demining course in the U.S. The $1.65 million in U.S. funds for 2000-2001 will be used to train personnel, finance equipment purchases, and sustain on-going programs to remove mines throughout Lebanon.[16] In response to the Israeli withdrawal, the UK pledged $120,000 for the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for emergency mine awareness activities in Lebanon to be implemented by UNICEF.[17] Italy announced on 25 May 2000 the donation of five Minex 2FD mine detectors to the Lebanese Army.[18]

Mine Clearance

The Lebanese Army is responsible for all mine clearance in the country. The National Demining Office is staffed entirely by military personnel. The Army reports that it has cleared 303 minefields and that 4,000 AT mines, 20,000 AP mines, and 40,000 UXO have been destroyed.[19] The report of the UNMAS assessment mission in February 1999 states that 471 minefields and suspected areas were treated, and 2,383 AT mines, 23,693 AP mines and a large number of UXO were removed between 13 October 1990 and 1 December 1998 by the Engineer Regiment.[20]

The Army states that it does not have sufficient resources for clearance, and that the technical skills of its deminers are not fully compatible with international humanitarian standards because they are based upon military methods. The Army also claims that mechanical mine clearance methods are not viable due to difficult terrain, but that mine-detecting dogs may be suitable.[21] According to the UN, the Lebanese Army has about 200 trained deminers operating throughout Lebanon, but not yet in the South. The UN says the deminers are poorly equipped, with no mechanical means and only a handful of modern mine detectors.[22]

Following the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon, UNMAS reported that the UNIFIL mine clearance capacity will be strengthened through a Ukranian contribution of up to forty personnel. UNMAS describes UNIFIL’s mine marking and clearance capacities as “extremely limited,” consisting of one Polish platoon to support UNIFIL operations and respond to emergency requests from local populations.[23]

Mine Awareness[24]

The withdrawal of Israeli forces from South Lebanon has highlighted the critical need for mine awareness education in these areas. Press reports recount instances of returning civilians entering former military areas, pulling off roads to park, and removing Israeli minefield marking signs.[25] Organizations conducting mine awareness in Lebanon immediately began emergency programs in South Lebanon that included the distribution of pamphlets, leaflets, posters and media broadcasts.

A Mine Awareness Committee was established in 1999 at the Landmines Resource Center of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Balamand with the support of the World Rehabilitation Fund. The purpose of this committee is to structure and conduct mine awareness activities in Lebanon and to serve as an advisory body.

The first mine awareness education training workshop took place on 15-16 June 1999. This workshop allowed the Mine Awareness Committee to develop a mine awareness kit and guidelines on how to promote the dissemination of information on the landmine problem. In August 1999, two camps on mine awareness were organized by NGOs (one in Bekaa and one in Mount Lebanon) to disseminate information to youth and organizations working with disabled people. In November 1999, Rädda Barnen (Save the Children/Sweden) supported the participation of five Lebanese NGOs in a mine awareness workshop conducted in Yemen on the child-to-child approach.

On 3 March 2000, the World Rehabilitation Fund organized a workshop to encourage the media to join the mine awareness campaign. One of the local stations, Sawt El Shaab, produced and broadcast a documentary on the landmine problem in collaboration with the Landmines Resource Center. The program was presented to the UNDP Media Program and won a prize during the competition run by UNDP on sustainable development.

From 25-26 March 2000 a mine awareness training workshop for twenty-five scout leaders from different regions of Lebanon took place to train them on disseminating information and to train their own troops. Between 16-19 April 2000 Rädda Barnen conducted a child-to-child mine awareness workshop in South Lebanon. From 25-26 April 2000 another training workshop was conducted for girl scouts in north Lebanon.

A work plan to conduct a series of mine awareness sessions in schools primarily in South Lebanon has been developed and approved by the Landmines Resource Center, the Mine Awareness Committee, the World Rehabilitation Fund, the National Demining Office, and the Ministry of Education. As of May, more than 120 community mine awareness sessions had taken place in different regions of Lebanon in 2000.

UNICEF and UNESCO have also joined the mine awareness campaign in South Lebanon. From 6-9 June 2000 the Landmine Awareness Committee conducted training sessions for teachers in South Lebanon.

Landmine Casualties

The departure of the Israeli troops has made it apparent that South Lebanon is contaminated with landmines as well as unexploded ordnance.[26] Due to the withdrawal, heavily mined areas have been opened up to Lebanese civilians, resulting in a number of landmine related accidents. Only a few hours after the Israelis left, a 15-year-old boy lost his leg after stepping on a mine.[27] On the same day a 10-year-old boy lost a foot and two men each lost a leg.[28] According to Agence France-Presse, in the first four weeks following the Israeli pullout, five civilians were killed, including two infants, and fifteen injured by landmines.[29] Prior to the withdrawal UNIFIL had reported two mine incidents in its area of operations in South Lebanon between 16 July 1999 and 15 January 2000. One civilian was injured near Bayt Lif on 25 October 1999 and another civilian lost a limb on 20 December 1999 after stepping on an AP mine near Qabrikha.[30]

The Landmines Resource Center has estimated there to be more than 1,500 landmine survivors in Lebanon, as well as approximately 1,000 deaths due to mines. On 31 December 1999, the Landmines Resource Center completed its data collection process of the nationwide door-to-door survey of landmine victims initiated in August 1998. This effort was designed to gain detailed understanding of the profile of victims and survivors, the nature and location of injuries and related needs. A database of survivors and casualties was created and a geographic information system is currently being developed.

The preliminary findings of the survey note that in 1999, fifty casualties were reported, while sixty incidents were registered, pointing to damage to livestock. By the end of April 2000, fifteen cases additional were reported. The survey gave the following geographic distribution of landmine survivors in Lebanon: 33% were located in the South and in Nabatieh, 31% in Mount Lebanon, 21% in Bekaa, 12% in the North and 3% in Beirut. The survey results showed that 56% of the survivors were harmed by an AP mine, 37% by UXO and 7% by “strange” objects. 36% of the survivors were injured while engaged in their daily agricultural activity. 90% of the survivors were males. The average age was thirty-two years. The survey found that injuries caused by landmines are occurring at an average rate of one per week.[31]

The Lebanese Army provided the UNMAS assessment mission with the following data on the number of victims affected by mine explosions in Lebanon between 1997 and 1999.[32]


Survivor Assistance

No major changes have occurred concerning victim assistance since the publication of Landmine Monitor Report 1999, except for the planning of an income-generating program for victims in the Jezzine area (South Lebanon) by the World Rehabilitation Fund that will begin in 2000.

Medical care for landmine victims is provided through the Lebanese health system. In 2000 there is a shortage in the budget of the Ministry of Health, which is why medical services for landmine victims have become very expensive. Programs to assist survivors, families of victims and mine-affected communities are scarce. Programs addressing the psychological needs of survivors are practically non-existent. Furthermore there is limited awareness among victims of available assistance and rehabilitation programs, particularly in rural areas.


[1] Interview with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Salim Hoss, 16 January 2000.
[2] Letter from Thafer Al Hassan, General Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, read to the Brussels International Conference for the Total Ban on Antipersonnel Mines, 24-27 June 1997.
[3] Letter from Thafer Al Hassan, General Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, to Landmine Monitor, Beirut, 18 December 1998.
[4] UNMAS, Joint Assessment Mission Report: Lebanon, 7 June 1999. The two conventions are the Mine Ban Treaty and Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons. The UNGA resolution calls for Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon.
[5] From 1996-1998, ten to twenty countries abstained on pro-ban UNGA votes, but none voted against.
[6] James Trevelyan, “Landmine and Unexploded Ordnance Problem in Lebanon,” February 2000.
[7] ICBL meeting with Amnon Efrat, Minister-Counsellor, Israeli Mission to the UN, Geneva, 17 December 1999.
[8] Interview conducted in South Lebanon, March 2000.
[9] All data (as of 16 November 1999) was presented by Lebanese Army officers at the Arab Regional Seminar on Landmines, Cairo, 9-11 April 2000. 300 minefields are confirmed, 218 are suspected to be contaminated. In addition, 303 minefields have already been cleared.
[10] UNMAS Joint Assessment Mission Report: Lebanon, 7 June 1999.
[11] U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Landmine Crisis, 1998, p. A-2.
[12] UNMAS, “The Landmine/UXO Problem in South Lebanon: Preliminary UNMAS Assessment Report,” 6 June 2000.
[13] Ibid.
[14] UNMAS told Landmine Monitor that the IDF handed over 4 maps and 4 files with details on areas mined by Israel in South Lebanon. Email from Hemi Morete, UNMAS, to Landmine Monitor/Human Rights Watch, 14 July 2000. See also, “Israel Hands Over Landmine Field Maps to UNIFIL,” Jerusalem Voice of Israel (state-funded radio) in Hebrew, 1300 GMT, 31 May 2000; “UN Experts to Meet Lebanese Army over Landmines in South,” Agence-France Presse, 31 May 2000.
[15] Agence-France Presse, Sidon, Lebanon, 21 June 2000.
[16] U.S. Department of State “Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations, FY 2001–Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs,” 15 March 2000; SOLIC Information Paper.
[17] UNMAS Update as of 15 June 2000, Mines, UXO, and mine action in South Lebanon, received by email.
[18] “Rome to Donate Land Mine Sweepers to Lebanon,” ANSA, Rome, 1127 GMT, 25 May 2000.
[19] Information provided by National Demining Office of the Lebanese Army, 1 April 2000, and used in presentations by Lebanese Army officers at the Arab Regional Seminar on Landmines, Cairo, 9-11 April 2000.
[20] UNMAS, “Joint Assessment Mission Report: Lebanon,” 7 June 1999.
[21] James Trevelyan, “Landmine and Unexploded Ordnance Problem in Lebanon,” February 2000.
[22] UNMAS, “The Landmine/UXO Problem in South Lebanon,” 6 June 2000.
[23] UNMAS Update as of 15 June 2000, Mines, UXO, and mine action in Southern Lebanon, received by email.
[24] Information in this section comes from the Landmines Resource Center and the World Rehabilitation Fund landmines’ project unless otherwise indicated.
[25] Samar Kanafani, “NGOs Race to alert South to Peril of Mines,” The Daily Star Online, 1 June 2000.
[26] Ibid.
[27] Kamel Jaber, “Lebanese Suffer the Legacy of Israeli Land Mines,” Reuters, 29 May 2000.
[28] Ibid.
[29] Agence-France Presse, Sidon, Lebanon, 21 June 2000.
[30]“Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission Interim Force in Lebanon,” S/2000/28, 17 January 2000, p. 2.
[31] Based on a preliminary analysis of the survey data by the Landmines Resource Center at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Balamand.
[32] UNMAS, “Joint Assessment Mission Report: Lebanon,” 7 June 1999.