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SINGAPORE, Landmine Monitor Report 2005


Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Singapore has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. In a June 2004 letter to Landmine Monitor, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited “legitimate security concerns and right to self-defense of states” as the major factors for the government not considering accession.[1 ] In July 2005, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told the ICBL that Singapore is a small country with limited manpower resources and therefore must depend on all possible weapons.[2 ]

Singapore did, however, vote in support of the UN General Assembly Resolution 59/84 promoting universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 2004, as it has done for similar annual pro-mine ban UNGA resolutions since 1996. The government also sent an observer delegation to the Mine Ban Treaty’s First Review Conference, held in November-December 2004 in Nairobi, but did not make any statements.[3 ] Singapore has participated in every annual Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, except in September 2001, but it has not attended any meetings of the intersessional Standing Committees held in Geneva.

The ICBL’s Diplomatic Advisor, retired Indian Ambassador Satnam Singh, conducted a special advocacy mission to Singapore in July 2005. He met with a Deputy Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the positive steps Singapore could take toward joining the Mine Ban Treaty, including contributions to demining, victim assistance and stockpile destruction, a halt to production, and a permanent ban on export. Singapore declined the ICBL’s request for meetings with the Minister of Defense and other military officials.[4]

Production, Transfer and Stockpiling

The government has confirmed several times that Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics), a government-linked company, manufactures antipersonnel landmines. Most recently, in June 2004, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that “Singapore continues to exercise strict control over the production of landmines in Singapore. ST Kinetics remains the only company in Singapore that produces landmines. Antipersonnel landmines produced in Singapore are used solely by Singapore’s armed forces for self-defense purposes.”[5 ] The types of landmines in production were not revealed. Singapore is known to have produced two types of antipersonnel mines, a plastic blast mine (VS-50) and a bounding fragmentation mine (VS-69), both copies of Italian designs.

Singapore, a past exporter of antipersonnel mines, declared an indefinite moratorium on the export of all types of antipersonnel mines in February 1998.[6 ] Landmine Monitor has received no reports of mine exports since that time. Information about the size or composition of Singapore’s current stockpile of antipersonnel mines remains unavailable. Singapore declares that expired mines are dismantled into irrecoverable components by the manufacturer.[7]

[1 ]Letter from Tan Yee Woan, Director (International Organizations) for Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2004.

[2 ]Email from Amb. Satnam Singh, ICBL Diplomatic Advisor, 26 July 2005, regarding his meeting in Singapore with Koh Kok Hong, Deputy Director, Counter Proliferation and International Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

[3 ]Lim Liong Chye, Staff Officer of the Singapore Army, attended the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World (First Review Conference) held from 29 November to 3 December 2004.

[4] Local NGOs and civil society representatives in Singapore have made several efforts in recent years to raise the mine issue, but have found their activities limited by a government reluctant to engage with them. International NGOs have faced similar problems.

[5 ]Letter from Tan Yee Woan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2004. In December 2000, a Ministry of Defense representative stated that the MoD retains a number of antipersonnel mines for “training and defensive purposes only,” and noted that “training for APLs and removal techniques is done in Singapore.” Letter from Eric Chong, Ministry of Defense, 15 December 2000. The language would imply training in both how to use mines and how to clear them.

[6 ]For information on Singapore’s mine exports in the past, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1110.

[7] Letter from Tan Yee Woan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2004.