Middle East and North Africa: anti-personnel mines, explosive remnants of war and cluster munitions
The current situation in the region and the latest on the ratification of the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War.
With 155 parties, the Ottawa Convention is one of the most widely ratified arms-related treaties of international humanitarian law. However, most of the countries from the Middle East and North Africa — with the notable exception of Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Qatar, Tunisia and Yemen - have not yet acceded to the convention. Bahrain has stated it intends to ratify it soon.
To summarize the situation in the region, according to the Landmine Monitor, there were no reported anti-personnel mine producers in 2006: Egypt produced landmines before 2005; Israel says it ceased production in the 1980s; and Iraq had produced some in the past. The 2006 Landmine Monitor reported that no new mines had been laid in the region. Among regional States, only Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria are reported to have tockpiles. Most importantly, every country in the Middle East and North Africa except four (Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) is affected by anti-personnel mines to varying degrees.
The Protocol on ERW and the Middle East
While there are currently 103 parties to the CCW, only four are in the Middle East and North Africa, namely Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.
Furthermore, of the 35 States that have so far ratified Protocol V, none are from this region, even though it contains some of the countries most affected by ERW. Indeed, recent studies show that, except for Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, every country in the region is affected to a certain degree by ERW.
The issue of cluster munitions is highly relevant in the Middle East, as several countries are directly affected, specifically Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco (Western Sahara), Saudi Arabia and Syria. In addition, the extensive use of these weapons during the war in Lebanon in mid-2006 has created a fast-growing momentum towards the development of new international restrictions on the use of these weapons.
Discussions are ongoing at the international level with the purpose of concluding a treaty on cluster munitions by the end of 2008.
- Convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines
- Explosive remnants of war: the lethal legacy of modern armed conflict