For the purposes of this report, those countries who have consented to be bound by the Mine Ban Treaty, but have not yet completed the six-month waiting period, are included in the States Parties Section.
Mine Ban Policy
On 11 August 1998, Jordan signed the Mine Ban Treaty, and subsequently ratified on 13 November 1998. It was only the third nation in the Middle East to sign and ratify. Jordan was an active participant in the treaty's preparatory meetings, endorsed the pro-ban treaty Brussels Declaration in June 1997 and participated fully in the Oslo negotiations. It voted in favor of the pro-ban 1996 UN General Assembly resolution, and the pro-treaty 1997 UNGA resolution. Yet it did not sign the treaty when it opened for signature in Ottawa in December 1997. At the treaty signing, Jordan's Ambassador to Canada Samir Khalifeh stated, "We unfortunately will not be able to sign the Convention at this stage, but we believe that, in time, as the Middle East achieves greater stability, through the establishment of a comprehensive and just peace, we will be better placed to sign this noble document."(1) The Ambassador added that Jordan was already working to fulfill the spirit of the treaty through its demining efforts.
On 11 July 1998, in Amman, Her Majesty Queen Noor told the opening session of the First Middle East Conference on Landmine Injury and Rehabilitation, "I would like to begin by announcing with great pride and hope that as of this morning the Jordanian cabinet has approved the signature of the Ottawa Convention."(2) It formally signed one month later. Jordan and Her Majesty Queen Noor have emerged as the most visible proponents of a landmine ban in the region.
Jordan has yet to enact domestic implementation legislation, and it does not appear that the Parliament has considered the issue.
Jordan is not a party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, Use
According to the Commander of the Royal Corps of Engineers, Jordan is not an antipersonnel landmine producing country,(3) and there is no evidence that Jordan has ever produced. Likewise, Jordan is not known to have ever exported antipersonnel mines. Her Majesty Queen Noor told the July Landmine Conference, "Jordan...has never and will never export" antipersonnel mines.(4)
Jordan has imported mines in the past. The United States supplied 35,972 antipersonnel mines from 1973-1975, including 29,970 non-detectable M14 blast mines, and 6,002 M18A1 Claymore mines.(5) Jordan has also imported mines from Belgium (PRB M35) and the UK (No. 3 and No. 5 AP mines),(6) but details are not available.
Jordan maintains a stockpile of antipersonnel mines, but details on the size and composition are unknown.
The Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) has previously used a variety of landmines manufactured in Belgium, UK and the United States for defensive purposes. According to a United Nations survey, Jordan has laid minefields using antitank mines of M-15 (US), M-19 (US), No. 6 (UK), and SACI (unknown) types, as well as antipersonnel mines of M-14 (US), No. 3 (UK), No. 5 (UK) and PRB M35 (Belgium) types.(7)
According to the Commander of the Royal Jordanian Corps of Engineers, Jordan has not laid new mine fields since 1973.(8)
Jordan is considered one of the most landmine-affected countries in the Middle East.(9)
Estimates of the number of planted landmines vary. One document obtained from the Corps of Engineers, dated February 1999, puts the number of planted landmines at 303,431.(10)
A recent press report published in the Jordan Times on 31 January 1999 puts the number of planted landmines at 216,000.(11)
A 1998 U.S. State Department report cites a U.N. estimate of 206,193.(12)
A recent United Nations report found a total of 492 minefields in Jordan, mainly in the Jordan Valley and the Northern front, along the borders with Israel and Syria. Most of these fields date from the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1967.(13) Mines were also laid by Israel in the Wadi Araba area; according to a document prepared by the Royal Corps of Engineers, Israel laid a total of 66,219 landmines.(14)
A document obtained from the JAF reveals that approximately 15,000 hectares remain mined.(15) In a recent speech Her Majesty Queen Noor said that "about ten percent of our population lives in areas still dangerous and economically unproductive because of landmines. Scarce agricultural lands and some of the most beautiful and sacred landscapes in Jordan, especially in the Jordan River Valley, remain scarred and forbidden because of the danger of mines."(16)
One problem, highlighted by UNICEF Mines Focal Point Coordinator Tehnaz Dastoor, is that "landmines in Jordan are transferred to populated areas by floods, by animals...or by children or adults who remove signs delineating mine fields."(17)
Mine Action Funding
Nations that have supported Jordan's demining program include Norway, the United States, and Canada. Last year, Norway contributed $1 million worth of demining equipment to Jordan.(18) The U.S. provided $1.2 million from 1996-1998, and pledged another $2.7 million in early 1999.(19)
On 23 February 1999, Her Majesty Queen Noor received Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik at Bab Al Salam Palace. The Queen and the Prime Minister discussed Norwegian cooperation for demining in Jordan. As a result of this meeting Norway has promised to provide Jordan with a new mine clearance machine.(20)
In December 1997, the Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United Nations submitted a request to the Mine Action Service (UNMAS) for either financial or material support of the mine clearance program.(21) The request included a list of items ranging from protective equipment and metal detectors, to large mine clearance machines An assessment mission was conducted in Jordan by UNMAS in January 1999.
The first phase of a three-phase operation to clear Jordan of landmines began on 15 March 1993, in accordance with King Hussein's objective to have all mines removed from the country by the year 2000.(22) According to the estimation of retired General Muhammad Ma'ayteh, a former commander of the Corps of Engineers, Jordan will have to spend close to $100 million to complete this operation.(23) Phase 1, completed in March 1995, cleared thirty minefields containing over 14,000 mines releasing more than 3 million square meters for cultivation. Phase 2 commenced in May 1995. The operation has cleared 58 minefields releasing 4 million square meters of land for cultivation.(24) In July 1997, Her Majesty Queen Noor said the demining program in the Jordan Valley has "cleared 146 minefields with 64,000 mines, freeing up 3,100 acres of land for cultivation, mineral excavation and tourism."(25)
Mine clearance is undertaken solely by the Royal Corps of Engineers utilizing both hand clearance and mechanical clearance techniques. Destruction and removal activities are concentrated in three main areas: the northern border with Syria, the Jordan Valley, and the Wadi Araba.
Military sources confirm that all mine fields and border areas are well marked and in many cases fenced with clear "Beware Mines" signs to alert civilians not to approach the area.(26) The Royal Corps of Engineers is the sole military side responsible for marking the mined areas.
General awareness campaigns were launched in the past two years via Jordanian television and radio stations, and newspapers. The awareness campaign has been supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Royal Corps of Engineers, and other non-governmental organizations. According to ICRC representatives in Jordan dissemination sessions and presentations were held throughout the past two years for school children, teachers and the general public in Amman and other Governorates to discuss the threat of landmines. These sessions have been a result of collaboration between the Jordan Red Crescent and the Ministry of Education.
Records maintained by the JAF report that over 400 civilians have been killed and that several thousand have been injured by mines.(27) The JAF reports that 176 military personnel have been killed by mines since 1967. Since the demining program began in March 1993, twenty-four soldiers have been injured but none killed.(28) Reports made public in the local press in 1997 and the first half of 1998 referred to a minimum of ten civilian casualties, mostly children who were killed or maimed in scattered incidents of mine and UXO explosions.(29) There have been no reports in the local press of landmine casualties since the beginning of 1999.
Landmine Survivor Assistance(30)
There are two major government health care providers for landmine victims in Jordan: the Royal Medical Services and the Ministry of Health hospitals. The former is the main health care provider for all acting and retired military personnel, including landmine survivors and deminers injured while in action. It has three centers located in the cities of Amman, Eidon, and Karak. All three centers provide surgical care, prosthetics and orthotics services. The Ministry of Health has two centers located in Amman and Irbid that provide both surgical, prosthetic and orthotics services to civil servants. There are other medical clinics and smaller first aid facilities located across the country, however, surgical help is available only in the major city hospitals. The Ministry of Social Development runs one center for rehabilitation and vocational training in Amman This facility provides services to all handicapped and persons with special needs, including landmine victims.
Despite these facilities many landmine victims do not benefit from such services. Many victims live in remote areas and others are discouraged by the bureaucracy associated with receiving care. Those who do persist with treatment are often unable to receive proper prosthetic treatment as a result of shortages in parts and artificial limbs.
To help remedy this situation, Her Majesty Queen Noor announced the introduction of the Bill of Rights for Landmine Survivors.(31) The Bill of Rights contains ten rights "consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and based on collective wisdom of world religions as well as in conformity with UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities." The Bill of Rights recognizes landmine survivors right to comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation. The Bill also recognizes the people's right to an environment that allows freedom of movement and transportation in a safe and secure manner. In terms of victim support the Bill identifies the right of a victim's family to receive all necessary relief and support services. The Bill of Rights is, in theory, an important step forward for landmines victims. It remains to be seen whether the rights identified in the Bill are implemented effectively.
Qatar signed the Mine Ban Treaty in December 1997 and ratified it on 13 October 1998, one of just three Middle East nations to sign and ratify. It is unknown if Qatar has enacted national legislation implementing the treaty. Qatar endorsed the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration in June 1997 and attended the Oslo negotiations as a full participant. It voted in favor of the 1996 UN General Assembly resolution supporting negotiations of a total ban on antipersonnel mines as soon as possible, the 1997 UNGA Resolution inviting all states to sign the Mine Ban Treaty, and the 1998 UNGA Resolution inviting all states to sign and ratify the treaty and to attend the first meeting of States Parties in Mozambique in May 1999. Qatar is not a party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Qatar is not mine-affected. It is not believed to have ever produced or exported antipersonnel mines. There are no known stockpiles of antipersonnel landmines. Qatar has made no contributions to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance or to any known mine action programs.
Until 1990 Yemen was divided into two independent countries: North Yemen and South Yemen. Prior to unification, for several decades, both countries engaged in armed conflicts where antitank and antipersonnel mines were deployed. However, most of the mines were planted during the border conflicts of 1970-1983 and during the May-July 1994 civil war, when separatists in the South fought for dissolving the union.
Mine Ban Policy
Yemen signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified it on 1 September 1998. It was one of the only governments in the Middle East that actively participated in the Ottawa Process. It attended the Vienna and Brussels treaty preparatory meetings, endorsed the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration in June 1997, and was a full participant in the treaty negotiations in Oslo in September 1997. Yemen voted in favor of the pro-ban UN General Assembly Resolutions in 1996, 1997, and 1998.
In November 1997 a Regional Seminar on Landmines was organized by the Yemeni Mines Awareness Committee and Rädda Barnen (Swedish Save the Children), sponsored by Rädda Barnen, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and hosted by the President's Office.(32) Eleven regional governments were represented: Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and United Arab Emirates. NGO representatives came from Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. The Sana'a Declaration was approved of by all the participants.(33) The declaration urges all countries to sign the Mine Ban Treaty and calls for assistance from the international community to support humanitarian demining assistance not only for those countries that sign the treaty but also for those who have not signed yet, but whose populations suffer from the mine threat.
The bill ratifying the Mine Ban Treaty was passed in the Parliament on 12 May 1998 and the ratification instrument was deposited at the UN in New York 1 September 1998, making the Republic of Yemen the 34th country to ratify the convention.
The Parliament of Yemen issued, and the President signed, Law No. 8/98 on 8 June 1998. The law states that the government of the Republic of Yemen will enforce the ban from the day the law was issued.
Yemen is a state party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Protocol II on landmines, but has not ratified the amended Protocol II (1996).
Production, Transfer, and Stockpiling
According to the government, Yemen has never manufactured or exported antipersonnel mines.(34) For many years, Yemen imported significant numbers of landmines, primarily from the Soviet Union, as well as Czechoslovia, Hungary, and Italy.(35)
Yemen has a stockpile of antipersonnel mines, but the government has not revealed the total number of mines. According to Paul Kelly, the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs (UNDHA) landmine specialist, who worked on a demining program in Aden as an advisor to the Ministry of Defense from March 1995 to March 1996, the following AP mines were in the army's armory: (36)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
In the Aden governorate, fuses and explosives were removed from 42,000 AP mines and destroyed in June 1998 at Al Whaf outside Little Aden. These defused mines are now in storage in Aden (this is a storage for the Aden, Abyan, Lahej and Taez governorates).(37)
No timetable for destruction of the remaining stockpiled AP mines has been set yet. Neither have plans for destruction methods been mentioned. Yemen is still waiting for the donors that have expressed interest in giving aid to their mine action program to decide on how they are going to assist and how much money will be made available.
There have not been any discussions about how many mines need to be kept for training purposes.
Weapons of any kind including AP mines are still available in special arms outlets, open to the public for trade. At a study visit at the arms soukh at Jehanna outside Sana'a on 15 February 1999 no landmines were on display, but according to the salesmen, landmines could be delivered upon request.(38) The government is very concerned about this problem and tries to enforce the 1992 law that forbids unlicensed keeping of arms.
According to the Ministry of Defense, it is no longer using any AP mines; the last time AP mines were used was during the 1994 "separatist war." The different types of landmines that have been used in Yemen and which are still in the ground are as follows:(39)
In Haja and Al Gauf governorates:
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Egyptian unidentified mines are also mentioned.
Most of these mines were planted during the republican - royalist war of 1962-1975. The Egyptian army helped on the republican side. All three parties have planted the mines.
In Ibb, Dhala, Rada, Al Beida and Taez governorates, the following mines have been identified:
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Unidentified antipersonnel mines of shrapnel type of German and Egyptian origin are also mentioned. These mines were planted during the border war 1970-1983 by opposition fractions supported by the Southern regime.
In Al Baida, Aden, Abyan, Lahej, Shabwa and Hadhramout governorates, the same types of mines listed in the section on stockpiling were planted during the 1994 separatist war.
Anti-handling devices and booby traps are not known to have been used in Yemen.(40)
Estimates of the number of mines planted in Yemen vary. The 1997 UN landmine database and a 1998 U.S. State Department report estimate that Yemen has 100,000 landmines on its territory.(41) A September 1998 UN Mine Action Service report states, "Just as there is no clear picture of the mined areas, there is also no accurate estimated number of landmines laid: the figures mentioned range from 150,000 (US estimate) to two million landmines" (estimate from the Head of the Security in Aden)."(42)
Following are affected areas, in order of the conflict during which they were mined:
Colonel Al Sheibani, Head of the National Demining Center, mentioned eight affected areas in the Taez, Ibb, Dhamar and Al Baidha governorates at the regional landmine Seminar on 3-4 November 1997:(50)
- Al Riyashie - Radaa - Gaban
- Al Radhma - Damt - Murais
- Al Sadda - Al Nadra
- Al Sabra - Nagd Al Gamai - Katabaa
- Allod - Al Shaar - Al Ala - Al Asfal
- Al Waziya
- Mawia - Al Hisha - Al Rahda
- Wisab Otma
According to Colonel Al Sheibani 30% of mines are found in the populated areas, 10% along main roads and caravan paths and 60% in the desert. The mines were planted at the edges and in the middle of many agricultural fields and in populated areas. Different mines were planted in the same row. The depths vary from 30 -60 cm under the surface. Both antitank and antipersonnel mines were planted together in some areas to increase the explosion effect.(51)
Sixty-four minefields have been located in Aden, Lahej and Abyan governorates and twenty-seven in Hadhramout. Approximately 30% of the mined area is cleared there.(52)
In Aden and its surroundings where UXOs have been a major problem, 315 tons of ordnance and missiles have been destroyed.(53) In Shabwa and Hadhramout most landmines are located in desert areas and one third of them in populated areas in the wadis, often close to main roads. A thorough survey of all areas where suspected mine fields exist has yet to be conducted. This is what the staff at the newly established demining centers are being trained for by US experts. The training was scheduled to be completed in April 1999.
Mine Action Funding
There is no figure available on what the government of Yemen has spent on demining or survivor assistance. External funding has come from the governments of Canada and the United States. Canada has granted $800,000 for extra protective demining suits, trucks, mine awareness education and mine survivors support. It has also allocated $950,000 for a level one survey.(54) The United States contributed $2.978 million in 1997-98, with another $1.7 million programmed for 1999.(55)
UNDHA funded a one year program with a landmine specialist as an advisor to the Ministry of Defense' Demining Unit.(56) Some new demining equipment and a computer were also donated to the Ministry of Defense at the end of the project. UNDP financed a one-year program, March 1995-March 1996, on technical demining assistance to the Ministry of Defense (no figures available for the cost of the project) and has also helped in co-funding the Regional Landmine Seminar in November 1997 with $10,000. UNICEF funded some TV programs during the 1995 mine awareness campaign at the cost of $2,000 and co-funded the Regional Landmine Seminar in November 1997 with $7,500 and the National Landmine Seminar in March 1998 with $1,030.
Regular records up to now have not been kept for the cost of humanitarian mine action programs carried out by the government. By establishing the National and Regional Demining Centers, an integrated mine action program is planned, and there will also be a data base in place to keep the records of the work of all the departments (covering surveys, mine clearance, victim/survivor assistance, mine awareness education, logistics and training).
The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has secured $518,569 from the Voluntary Trust Fund for a number of different surveys, among them the level one survey, that is going to be conducted by the Survey Action Center.(57)
After the UNMAS joint mission had finished their visit to Yemen and their report was written, Yemen was chosen to get funds for the surveys, since it would be a potentially manageable project to get a mine action program working and Yemen is one of the few countries committed to the landmine issue in the region after having both signed and ratified the Mine Ban Treaty. (58)
UNDP has from their track three fund earmarked US$500,000 for a mine action program together with the government's new demining centers.(59) UNDP is also trying to set up a local UNDP Trust Fund for the government, where donors can allocate their country funding for the mine action program directly. The money from the track three fund will be allocated here as well, once the local trust fund is established.
The goal of the UNDP program is to coordinate and supplement the funding of the different donors to Yemens mine action program, to give technical assistance to capacity building of the mine action program.(60) Vehicles and computers are missing for making the centers operational, but nations like Canada, Japan, Norway and Germany have indicated that they are prepared to help funding.
The Ministry of Defense estimates that they have taken out and deactivated around 48,000 landmines since the beginning of April 1995, and prior to that approximately 20,000 in Aden, Lahej and Abyan. The major problem is that even if a field has been cleared, it has in some places been done in an erratic way and some mines may have been left behind in some fields. The terrain is difficult with moving sand dunes, which either expose the mines, which can be attractive to a curious child, or bury them deeply, so the mine detectors will not locate them.(61)
Approximately thirty AP mines and 15,000 antitank mines were cleared between 1994 -1997.(62) During this period, 306 camels were reported killed by mines in the desert of Hadhramout. There was also a fatal accident when twelve deminers died.(63) At the moment, Ministry of Defense demining unit is working in Hadhramout and has also helped a Canadian oil company there to clear a site for drilling.
In establishing the National Demining Committee on 17 June 1998 as an implementing body and laying down its constitution and objectives, the Prime Minister's Resolution No. 46 of 1998 has authorized the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs to lead the work of the Committee and further regulate its modes of operation and agenda. The Minister of State has subsequently made a detailed Resolution, regulating in further detail the work and the structures and tasks of subordinate organizational structures like Branch Committees, a Technical Executive Unit and a Secretariat.(64) The staff of the newly established demining center is still in training, but was scheduled to start the survey right at the end of April 1999.
The Demining Unit headed by the Engineering Department of The Ministry of Defense has been the sole mine clearer to date. However, when the staff at the Operation Department of the Demining Center is fully trained by the US team at the end of April 1999, they will have nine demining teams ready. Most of this staff already work with the Engineering Department.
Demining is going on at the moment in a mined area in Eastern Shabwa on the border to Hadhramout, where the Ministry of Defense' Engineering Department is clearing mines at an oil drilling site, which is prospected by Calvany, a Canadian oil company.(65) These areas, Wadi Hagr, Hajr Marifa and Safer had all been cleared already once before, but the oil company wanted a second clearance, since the first was done in a haphazard way and therefore not proved to be safe. It is very difficult to remove the mines in these areas due to the moving sand dunes.(66)
As mentioned earlier, since no proper survey has been conducted yet, very few maps of minefields exist and the clearance that has taken place has often been done in an erratic way due to outdated equipment and ineffective methods, there are no accurate figures about either the magnitude of mines, the number of the minefields or their locations. There are however figures given on how many fields that have been cleared. Dr. Hussein Abdul Kawi mentioned in his report regarding clearance in the Southern governorates that 30% is estimated to have been cleared after the 1994 war.(67) UNDHA's demining expert Paul Kelly says in his final report that forty-nine minefields in Aden governorate were mentioned to him to have been cleared before his arrival.(68)
On 17 June 1998, National and Regional Demining centers were formally established. The Regional Demining Center was opened to start the training of their staff on 20 October 1998. The National Demining Committee is heading the work and the chair person is the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs. Other board members are the Director of the Military Engineering Department, the Deputy Minister of Public Health, the Deputy Minister of Social Affairs, the Deputy Minister of Interior, the Deputy Minister of Information, the Deputy Minister of Education, the Director of Work and Administration at the Prime Minister's Office, a representative from the Ministry of Planning, a representative from the Environment Protection Council and a representative from the Yemen Mine Awareness Association. There is also a corresponding Regional Demining Committee, chaired by the Governor of Aden.
The composition of the committees reflects an understanding of that humanitarian demining involves the civil society and all concerned ministries and not only the Ministry of Defense.
The tasks of the Chairman of the National Committee are:
- to supervise the implementation of the Demining Policy
- to supervise the demining operations
- to coordinate the support presented by NGOs
- to modify the organizational structure of the Committee
- to appoint the employees in the Central and Branch executive units
- to represent the Committee with others
- to designate any mission to the members of the Committee and the Branch Committees
The departments of the demining centers are:
- Operation, Training and Planning Department with sections like Data and Service section
- Awareness Department with information section, publication and printing section
- Logistics and Financial department
- Social Services department with medical, social affairs and education affairs sections.
The U.S. has allocated $2.5 million for training of the demining centers' staff and some equipment. UNDP has volunteered to be the coordinating donors' agency. Already $500,000 have been allocated in a trust fund, but more is needed to make the centers viable.
Since the staff in the centers are still in training, their work has not yet begun, but there have already been suggested priorities for where mine clearance should be carried out: populated areas, lands to be populated, highly mine affected areas, agricultural lands, and areas of economic importance.(69)
It is mainly the densely populated areas like Aden city that have benefited from mine clearance. Aden city has been declared a free-trade zone and the cleared land is being used for investments in the free-trade zone. Some agricultural areas benefit primarily people on the outskirts of Aden and in some Hadhramout villages. However, many areas have to be recleared since the first attempts were unsatisfactory.
Rädda Barnen and the Yemen Mine Awareness Association (YMAA) are at the moment training the communities in mine awareness education in four areas: Al Habil in Lahej governorate, Al Kood in Abyan governorate and Masabeen and Amran in Aden governorate.
After the two-month-long war in 1994, Rädda Barnen interviewed war affected children in the Aden governorate and found that there was an understanding of problems with not only landmines but also UXOs, that remained in several places, and which many children were tempted to pick up. Rädda Barnen invited partner organizations, including the Child-to-Child Association, the Girl Guides and the Boy Scouts, the Red Crescent, the Committee for War Traumatized Children, representatives from Ministries of Education, Defense, Interior, Health and Social Affairs, international agencies as UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDHA and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to a workshop on landmines, focused on mines awareness education, in April 1995 in Aden.(70)
Mine awareness materials used in the Somali and Rwandan mine awareness campaigns were introduced by UNESCO PEER staff from Nairobi and the landmine situation in the south of Yemen was presented by two officers from Ministry of Defense' demining unit and the UNDHA demining expert. As a result of this workshop the Yemen Mines Awareness Committee was established. Together with Rädda Barnen, the Yemen Mines Awareness Committee has worked with mines awareness education in the three Southern governorates of Aden, Lahej and Abyan since 1995.
In December 1995 and January 1996, a mine awareness campaign was carried out in most of the primary schools in the three Southern governorates. The preparations for this campaign started in April 1995 in cooperation with Rädda Barnen. Fifteen trainers workshops for 502 school staff in the three governorates were implemented. 10,000 posters, 150,000 booklets with 10,000 teachers' manuals were designed by members of the Mines Awareness Committee and printed in time for reaching over 140,000 school children, who in turn gave mines awareness messages to their families and communities.(71)
In addition to this campaign a special in-depth program on mines awareness was implemented with the Child-to-Child approach, in nineteen schools where 109 school staff members were trained to involve 25,150 pupils.(72)
Currently, the Yemen Mine Awareness Association (in December 1998 the Yemen Mines Awareness Committee registered as a nongovernmental organization and took on the name Yemen Mine Awareness Association) and Rädda Barnen carry out a community based mines awareness project in four villages; Al Kood (Abyan governorate) with 18,838 inhabitants; Amran with 1,900 inhabitants and Masabeen with 1,132 inhabitants (both Aden governorate); and Al Habil with 6,575 inhabitants (Lahej governorate).
The key people like community leaders, the sheiks, the akhels, the headmasters, the imams, teachers, members of women's associations, primary health care workers and even school children, around 160 persons in the four areas, have been trained in workshops by YMAA sponsored by Rädda Barnen. The trained villagers will in their turn pass on the mine awareness messages to the community.
The communities have also been encouraged to give as much information as possible to the demining center's demining unit regarding known mined areas and also to inform about any UXO, landmine or other ammunition, that are kept in their houses, so that the demining unit can destroy it. It has proved to be effective to have a staff member from the demining unit on the mine awareness education team. The communities have had the opportunity to ask about mines/UXOs and through several visits by the team to establish a relationship that has lead to trust, and therefore a lot of information from the villagers has come forward.
Quick responses from the demining unit to the villagers' call, when a suspicious object has turned up, has also lead to trust and good cooperation, which will also benefit the mine clearance team covering these areas in the future.
Staff from the mine awareness department in the regional demining center are under training by the US trainers. They have good cooperation with the YMAA. Before the US team started their training, the YMAA and Rädda Barnen invited them to a one day meeting, where the community based mine awareness approach they use was introduced and discussed. Members of the YMAA have also been invited to the US team training at the demining center.
The YMAA has also suggested in their Proposal for Mine Awareness Guidelines for Yemen that there should not be several different mine awareness programs. Instead it is better to have a joint program together with the demining center in order to have a better impact and not to confuse the communities. The proposal stresses the importance of good coordination and cooperation, not only among the different departments within the demining center but also with the communities and the donors to make a good integrated mine action program work.
There are still no clear records kept of accidents and deaths in connection with mines/UXOs. Some hospitals have registered accidents, but so many injured or killed never reach the hospitals and are therefore not registered.
Most accidents are likely to go unreported for fear of questioning by the police or the army. However, according to the Ministry of Interior, landmines and UXOs have claimed a total of 723 victims in Yemen between 1992 and 1996 (an average of fifteen victims each month), of which 204 have died of their injuries: The majority of the accidents reported have occurred in the governorates of Aden (ninety-seven victims), Sana'a (ninety-three victims), Ibb (eighty-five victims), Lahej (sixty-six victims), Taez (fifty-eight victims), and Al Hudeida (fifty-six victims). Approximately 75% of them were caused by landmines, and 25% by other explosive devices."(73)
In connection with the Rädda Barnen/YMAA mine awareness programs, a survey on mine victims/survivors has been conducted. This is the first real survey on mine/UXOs accidents, to be undertaken in Yemen. In 1996 a team of the YMAA (Yemen Mine Awareness Association) also interviewed police, security and hospital staff in the three governorates of Aden, Abyan and Aden, but it turned out to be difficult, since most hospitals would not give out any data, and many police stations did not have complete records.
The following figures show the rate of mine/UXO accidents in the four areas now surveyed by the YMAA, during the period May 1994 - December 1998:
Of all the deaths, ten were killed by landmines, twelve by UXOs and thirty-four by direct explosions during the war. Of all the survivors fourteen were injured by landmines, thirty-three by UXOs, and twenty-one by direct explosions during the war. Of all the deaths, nine were children (although in Al Kood village they had not registered the age) from the villages of Masabeen, Imran, and Al Habil. Of all the survivors, seventeen were children from the same three villages.
Apart from the government's attempts at mine clearance, villagers have in some cases used their sheep to clear safe paths. This has been practiced in the Ibb governorate, according to one of the sheiks there. Many villages are also very remote and a number of accidents might go unreported.
As an indication that accidents continue to occur regularly, the UNMAS assessment team was told during a visit to Al Jumhuriat Hospital, Sana'a's main referral hospital for mine victims, that eight mine victims had been treated there during the months of March and April 1998. Seven of these victims were between seven and thirty years old, and three of them had to have a limb amputated as a result of their accident.
Landmine Survivor Assistance
Health facilities in Yemen are inadequate in most regions. Only the main cities have hospitals. In the rural areas there are health clinics, but often staff, essential medicines, transport and other necessary facilities are lacking.
Mrs. Sharon Beatty, Adviser to the Ministry of Health, said in an interview in Sana'a 26 February 1999, that First Aid is taught to all Health Care Staff in their training, but it is not followed up and there is no quality control in the field. She added in the same interview that in some schools, although it is not in the curriculum, the Red Crescent society has held First aid Training with the schoolchildren.
Sana'a, the capital city, and other major cities like Taez and Aden have surgical units, that amputate. More training is however also needed there, and in 1999 the Italian Government Emergency Unit will start a bilateral project, training Yemeni surgeons, specifically on mine victims operations.(74)
There are two orthopedic workshops, one in Sana'a and one in Taez, the latter one led by Handicap International (HI), that can provide prostheses for under-the knee-limbs. In Sana'a the orthopedic workshop is funded by the WHO, that has also trained the staff to produce artificial legs. None of the centers though have the capacity to make functioning arms or hands. The Canadian Embassy in Yemen approved a contribution of $7,000 for raw materials for prostheses.(75)
According to Handicap International in Taez, they have treated nineteen mine survivors, which is 14% of the total number of 139 patients they have assisted during the period of operation of their center, September 1997 - September 1998. Fourteen of the nineteen survivors were men and most of them had tampered with mines/UXOs.(76)
ADRA, an international NGO, which is working with community based health projects in the Tihama area, will start a project on assistance to mine survivors, funded by the Canadian government.
The Ministry of Social Affairs has a Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program for Children with Disabilities in several parts of Yemen. In the Southern Governorates of Lahej, Aden and Abyan children with landmine injuries are among the beneficiaries. Rädda Barnen's advisor to this program has reported on these cases.(77)
With regard to victim reintegration, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational training is running twenty-three vocational training centers throughout the country. These centers are providing some short term vocational courses for those unemployed who possess a minimum level of education, and occasionally they accept physically disabled people. In addition, the Ministry of Social Affairs is running two vocational training centers, one in Sana'a and one in Aden, each of which deals specifically with the integration of persons with disabilities.(78)
The Yemeni government has not singled out mine victims/survivors from other persons with disabilities. But people with disabilities in need of support are entitled to a small allowance equivalent to $10 to $14 per month.
In a Landmine Monitor interview in Sana'a, 24 February 1998, Undersecretary Saleh Ahmed Ali at the Ministry of Social Affairs gave the following information on resolutions taken, which are in a draft submitted to the Parliament for a Care and Rehabilitation of the Disabled Act:
Article 5 of the draft act stipulates that all categories of disabled persons, shall according to their individual needs, be entitled to one or more of the following benefits:
- special equipment
- rehabilitation or training
- suitable work in the case of those with vocational qualifications, those who have been rehabilitated and those who are educated
- follow up in the case of those who have been employed to ensure they are settled in their jobs
- tax exemptions in the case of those who are employed
- enjoyment of concessional use of various means and transport
- exemptions from customs duty for aids, equipment and educational training materials that they are obliged to import on account of their disability
- facilitated access to mobility in public places.
Article 11 of the draft act entitles disabled persons right to all stages of education, and article 21 ensures the right to employment commensurate with the level of rehabilitation. By the Government's own admission, however, these acts have not been applied in practice and remain to a large extent not enforced.
In terms of the right to schooling the 1994 Constitution stresses "education for all" at the basic level. Law no 45 of 1992 articles 6, 8 and 9 state that public education is for all and emphasizes social justice and equal opportunities in education. It specifically states that "the Government of Yemen is committed to provide compulsory education for all children including children with disabilities."
The Society for the Physically Disabled is a watchdog group that not only tries to see that the government lives up to its policy, but also trains young men and women in secretarial duties and computer skills, so that they will have a chance to fit in as clerks in a ministry department.
Assistance to mine survivors in the form of prostheses and allowances has not been separated from other cases of disabilities, therefore no special figures can be mentioned.
A family with a disabled member and in need of assistance is entitled to a monthly allowance of 1.200 YER up to 2000 YER (around US$ 8-14) per month. At the moment 46,856 disabled persons are registered at the Social Fund department at the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs.(79) Few people in the rural areas know of this right to assistance though. The same applies to the right to help with prostheses, many people are not aware of this form of assistance.
Both the government through its rehabilitation centers in Sana'a and Aden, and Handicap International's center in Taez have assisted with prostheses. The waiting list for receiving prostheses is up to six months in Taez.
The War Victim's Society has 4,600 members registered. They are all former soldiers, but there is no statistics of how many of them are mine/UXO survivors. The government has allocated a budget of $350,000 for the society. Every member has around $28 as a monthly allowance. Some money is spent on rehabilitation, vocational training and surgeries.(80)
The Society for the Physically Disabled with Headquarters in Sana'a have 5,500 disabled members. They estimate 40% of them to be war victims, but the mine/UXO survivors are not singled out as special cases. Therefore no special statistics is available. To members in need they give assistance in kind.
1. Statement of Ambassador Samir Khalifeh at the opening session of the Mine Ban Treaty conference in Ottawa, December 1997.
2. Opening speech of Her Majesty Queen Noor at the first Middle East conference on Landmines injury and rehabilitation, "Surviving the Scourge of Landmines" held in Amman, Jordan, 11-12 July 1998.
3. Personal interview conducted in July 1998.
4. Opening speech of Her Majesty Queen Noor at the first Middle East conference on Landmines injury and rehabilitation, "Surviving the Scourge of Landmines" held in Amman, Jordan, 11-12 July 1998.
5. U.S. Army, Armament, Munitions, and Chemical Command (USAMCCOM), Letter to Human Rights Watch, 25 August 1993, and attached statistical tables. In her remarks in July 1998, Queen Noor stated that Jordan has not imported AP mines since 1974.
6. Wolfgang Hirsch, Point Paper: Jordan, (New York: United Nations Publications 1998), p. 7.
7. Wolfgang Hirsch, Point Paper: Jordan, (New York: United Nations Publications 1998), p. 7.
8. Personal interviews conducted in July 1998 and January 1999.
9. Wolfgang Hirsch, Point Paper: Jordan, p. 7.
10. Jordanian Armed Forces official paper presented at the Arab Conference on the Dangers of Mines and Precautionary measures, Beirut, Lebanon, 11-12 February 1999.
11. Hind-Lara Mango, "UNMAS endorses Jordan's demining efforts: 'We think that the standards maintained by the Royal Corps of Engineers here are exceptional,'" Jordan Times, 31 January 1999.
12. U.S. State Department, Hidden Killers, September 1998, p. A-2.
13. Wolfgang Hirsch, Point Paper: Jordan, p. 7.
14. Document obtained from the Royal Corps of Engineers by Kamel Saadi in July 1998.
15. Document obtained from the Royal Corps of Engineers - July 1998, and the Jordanian Armed Forces official paper presented at the "Arab Conference on the Dangers of Mines and Precautionary measures," Beirut, Lebanon, 11-12 February 1999.
16. Opening speech of Her Majesty Queen Noor at the first Middle East conference on Landmines injury and rehabilitation, "Surviving the Scourge of Landmines" held in Amman, Jordan, 11-12 July 1998.
17. Hind-Lara Mango, "UNMAS endorses Jordan's demining efforts."
18. "Norway's PM praises Jordan's demining efforts, pledges continued support to United World College", 24 February 1999.
19. "Demining Program Financing History," U.S. Department of State, February 1999.
20. "Norway's PM praises Jordan's demining efforts, pledges continued support to United World College", 24 February 1999
21. United Nations Mine Action Service assessment mission to Jordan, terms of reference, 22 January 1999.
22. Document obtained from the Royal Corps of Engineers by Kamel Saadi in July 1998.
23. Personal interview conducted on 24 January 1999.
24. Wolfgang Hirsch, Point Paper: Jordan, p. 8.
25. Opening speech of Her Majesty Queen Noor at the first Middle East conference on Landmines injury and rehabilitation, "Surviving the Scourge of Landmines" held in Amman, Jordan, 11-12 July 1998.
27. Document obtained from the Royal Corps of Engineers by Kamel Saadi in July 1998.
28. Wolfgang Hirsch, Point Paper: Jordan, p. 8.
29. Jordanian weekly, Hawadeth Al Sa'ah, 13 May 1997; Jordanian daily, Al Arab al Yom, 19 May 1997; Al Dustour daily 25 December 1997; Al Arab Al Yom, 26 February 1998, and 10 March 1998.
30. Information on landmine survivor assistance is based on a field study undertaken by Kamel Saadi for the Landmine Survivors Network.
31. Bill of Rights Declaration for Landmines Survivors dated 11 July 1998.
32. The Yemeni Mines Awareness Committee, a group of members and staff from different Yemeni NGOs and ministries, that in December 1998 registered as a separate NGO under the name Yemen Mine Awareness Association. They have mainly dealt with mine awareness education in mine infested areas in the south of Yemen and advocacy work on banning landmines.
33. See Christina Nelke, Report on Regional Seminar on Landmines, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen, November 3 - 4 1997, pp. 17 - 18.
34. Interview with Colonel Al Sheibani, Head of the National Demining Center, Sana'a, 23 January 1999.
35. United Nations Mine Action Service, Joint Assessment Mission Report: Yemen, 21 September 1998.
36. Department of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Program of Technical Assistance in Demining, Republic of Yemen, Final report by Paul Kelly, 28 June 1996, p. 3.
37. Landmine Monitor interview with the Head of the Mine Clearance Department at the Regional Demining Center, Fadhle Mohammed Obaid Garama, Aden, 7 October 1998.
38. Study visit by Rädda Barnen staff 15 February 1999 at Jehanna arms soukh.
39. See The Magnitude of Landmine Problems and Executed Efforts in Demining in the Republic of Yemen, a paper presented at a donor's meeting in September 1998 in Sana'a by Dr. Hussein Abdul Kawi, Director of the Military Engineering Department and member of the National Demining Committee, pp. 7, 12, 14, 15.
40. See UNMAS, Joint Assessment Mission Report on Yemen.
41. United Nations, Country Report: Yemen, at http://www.un.org/Depts/Landmine/country/yemen.htm.
42. See UNMAS, Joint Assessment Mission Report, pp. 7, 8.
43. UNMAS, Joint Assessment Mission Report, p. 7.
44. Dr. Hussein Abdul Kawi, The magnitude of landmine problems..., p. .6.
45. UNMAS, Joint Assessment Mission Report, p. 7.
46. Dr. Hussein Abdul Kawi, The magnitude of Landmine Problems... , p. 8.
47. UNMAS, Joint Assessment Mission Report, p. 7.
48. Dr. Hussein Abdul Kawi, The magnitude of Landmine Problems..., p. 10.
49. Ibid., pp. 4, 5. See also UNMAS, Joint Assessment Mission Report, p. 8.
50. Colonel Al Sheibani, Yemen Policy Towards Landmine Problem, November 3-4 1997, pp. 13, 14.
51. Colonel Al Sheibani, Yemen Policy..., p. 5.
52. Dr. Hussein Abdul Kawi, The Magnitude of the Landmines Problem...., p. 5
53. Colonel Al Sheibani, Yemen Policy..., p. 9.
54. Landmine Monitor interview Sana'a, 8 February 1999, with Mr. Ian Shaw, First Secretary at the Embassy of Canada, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
55. U.S. State Department, Demining Program Financing History fact sheet, dated 11 January 1999.
56. Paul Kelly, United Nations Program of Technical Assistance in Demining, Final Report.
57. Landmine Monitor interview with UNDP official.
58. Landmine Monitor interviews with different UNMAS staff in Ottawa at the Landmine Monitor meeting 1-2 December 1998 and the UNICEF meeting in Florence 13-15 December 1998.
59. The Track Three Fund is an 'outside country fund', extra mobilized money, that is not included in the ordinary UNDP country fund. Landmine Monitor interview Sana'a, 7 February 1999, with Carmen Niethammer, Project Officer at the Yemen UNDP office.
61. Christina Nelke, A Review of the Mines Awareness Program in the Three Yemeni Governorates Aden, Lahej and Abyan, 15 February 1997, p. 3. This information was originally given by UNDHA's demining advisor Paul Kelly in an interview in April 1995.
62. UNMAS, Joint Assessment Mission Report, p. 8.
63. Colonel Al Sheibani, Yemen Policy...,p. 11.
64. Landmine Monitor Interview, Sana'a, 22 January 1999 with Rashida Al Hamdani.
65. Landmine Monitor interview, 27 January 1999, with Colonel Al Sheibani.
66. Landmine Monitor interview, RB office Aden, 13 January 1999, with Fadhle Mohammed Obaid Garama, Head of the Mine Clearance Department at the Regional Demining Center.
67. Dr. Hussein Abdul Kawi, The Magnitude of the Landmine Problem...p. 5.
68. Paul Kelly, UNDHA, United Nations Program of Technical...p 6.
69. Colonel Al Sheibani, Yemen Policy...p. 18.
70. Nelke, A Review of the Mines Awareness..., .p. 2.
71. Ibid., p. 7
72. Ibid., p. 7
73. UNMAS, Joint Assessment Mission Report, p. 9.
74. Interview with staff from the Italian Embassy, Sana'a, 22 January 1999.
75. Letter from D.E. Hobston, Ambassador, Canadian Embassy to Director, Handicap International, Taiz, Yemen, 3 March 1998. Provided by Handicap International.
76. Handicap International Report, Statistics Sur Les Amputes, by Barbieux Marie-Aude, Yemen 1998.
77. Jane Brouillette, RBs (Swedish Save the Children) advisor on CBR to the Ministry of Social Affairs, interview 15/1 1999.
78. UNMAS, Joint Assessment Mission Report, p. 12.
79. Landmine Monitor interview 24, January 1999, with Mansoor Al Fiadhi, director of Social Fund Department at the Ministry of Social Affairs.
80. Landmine Monitor Interview 24 January 1999, with Mr. Yahiya Al Moshiki, Chairman of the War Victim Society.
81. Osservatorio sul commercio delle arme report, Italy.
82. Journal l'Authentique, 6 September 1998.
83. John Burns, "Algeria Back from the Brink," The Observer, 14 March 1999.
84. U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Problem with Uncleared Landmines, 1993, p. 44.
85. "Landmines: A Problem for Algeria as Well," Reuters, 24 December 1997.