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IHL and Treaties

Mine action, including a state’s obligation, is regulated by a comprehensive framework of international normative agreements and international humanitarian law (IHL). Several international conventions regulate or ban the use of landmines and explosive remnants of war. Others regulate the indiscriminate use of explosive devices. All aim to eliminate the humanitarian impact on civilian populations and protect the rights of persons affected by these explosive hazards.

United Nations engagement in mine action is consistent with relevant international humanitarian and human rights law to promote full adherence to and compliance by States and parties to armed conflict, where applicable, with relevant conventions and international instruments.

Explore the body of international humanitarian law that guides and informs mine action responses.


Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons – Amended Protocol II and Protocol V

Download the full text of the CCW here.

The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects as amended on 21 December 2001(CCW) is usually referred to as the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). The purpose of the Convention is to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately. The Convention itself contains only general provisions. All prohibitions or restrictions on the use of specific weapons or weapon systems are the object of the Protocols annexed to the Convention. Two Protocols of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons are related to mine action. Amended Protocol II addresses mines, booby-traps and other devices, and Protocol V addresses the problem of explosive remnants of war (ERW).

Protocol II was amended on 3 May 1996 and Amended Protocol II (APII) entered into force on 3 December 1998. As of August 2018, APII has 104 States Parties who have agreed to be bound by this protocol. While the amended Protocol falls short of banning landmines, it prohibits the use of non-detectable anti-personnel mines and their transfer; the use of non-self-destructing and non-self-deactivating mines outside fenced, monitored and marked areas; and directing mines and booby traps against civilians; It requires parties to the conflict to remove mines and booby traps when the conflict ends. States are also required to enforce compliance with its provisions within their jurisdiction; and calls for penal sanctions in case of violation. In more recent years, discussions under APII have also increasingly addressed issues related to improvised explosive devices.

Protocol V was adopted on 28 November 2003 by the Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention and is the first international instrument to address the problem of unexploded and abandoned ordnance, with the intent to eradicate the daily threat that such legacies of war pose to populations in need for development and to humanitarian aid workers operating in the field to help them. Under Protocol V, States Parties and parties to armed conflict are required to take action to clear, remove or destroy ERW and record, retain and transmit information related to the use or abandonment of explosive ordnances. States are also obligated to take all feasible precautions for the protection of civilians and humanitarian missions and organizations. States in a position to do so should provide cooperation and assistance for marking, clearance, removal, destruction, and victim assistance, among other things.


For more information visit UNOG Disarmament site.

For UN IACG-MA statements related to CCW visit here


Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention

Download the full text versions of the Convention here: [English] [French] [Arabic] [Chinese] [Spanish] [Russian]

The 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention ("Ottawa Convention") imposes a total ban on anti-personnel landmines and was adopted in as a result of negotiations led by a powerful and unusual coalition involving governments, the United Nations, international organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and over 1,400 nongovernmental organizations through a network known as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) . This unprecedented coalition used advocacy to raise public awareness of the impact of antipersonnel landmines on civilians and to rally global support for a total ban. In December 1997, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and its coordinator, Jody Williams, won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Convention entered into force on 1 March 1999. As of August 2018, 164 countries are States Parties who have agreed to be bound by the treaty.

The Maputo Action Plan was adopted by States Parties on 27 June 2014 at the Third Review Conference and aims to achieve significant and sustainable progress during 2014-2019 by observing strict adherence of the Convention’s norms; ensuring that there are “no new mine victims”; ensuring survivors participate on an equal basis; and intensifying efforts to complete respective obligations. See full text here: (https://www.maputoreviewconference.org/fileadmin/APMBC-RC3/Maputo_Action_Plan.pdf)


For UN IACG-MA statements related to APMBC visit here.


Convention on Cluster Munitions

Download the full text of the CCM here: [English] [French] [Spanish]

The Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted on 30 May 2008 in Dublin, Ireland and entered into force on 1 August 2010. As of March 2018, the convention had 103 States Parties who have agreed to be bound by the convention.

The convention on cluster munitions prohibits all use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. it also provides countries with deadlines for clearance of affected areas and the destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions. it includes articles concerning assistance to victims of cluster munitions incidents.

Adopted unanimously by States Parties at the First Review Conference of the Convention in September 2015, the Dubrovnik Action Plan lists concrete steps to implement the Convention from 2015 to 2020. See full text here. Dubrovnik Action Plan in PDF

For UN IACG-MA statements related to CCM visit here.


Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

download the full text of the CRPD here.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol (A/RES/61/106) was adopted on 13 December 2006 and entered into force on 3 May 2008. As of August 2018, there are 177 States Parties who have agreed to be bound by the convention.

Adoption of the CRPD heralded a significant shift from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” receiving medical treatment and social protection towards viewing them as “subjects” with rights, and as part of claiming those rights make decisions for their lives as active members of society.

As a human rights instrument, the CRPD adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Convention clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.

The United Nations responses in mine action applies this human rights based approach to supporting survivors impacted by explosive hazards. The United Nations also seeks to add its voice to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities to be integrated in all mine action approaches.

For UN IACG-MA statements related to CRPD visit here.