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Country Reports
Morocco, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Mine Ban Policy

Morocco has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. In January 2002, a government representative said the country is in de facto compliance with the treaty, as it is not producing, importing or exporting antipersonnel mines; the only obstacle to ratification is the government’s security concerns in Morocco’s “southern provinces.”[1] On 22 November 2002, however, Morocco was one of 23 countries to abstain from voting on UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, promoting universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Morocco attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in September 2002 and participated in intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003.

Morocco ratified Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) on 19 March 2002. It attended the Fourth Annual Conference of State Parties to Amended Protocol II in December 2002, but did not submit a national annual report as required by Article 13 of the treaty.

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling and Use

Morocco is not known to have ever produced or exported antipersonnel landmines. Since 2000, it has stated that it no longer imports antipersonnel mines.

On three separate occasions in 2001 and 2002, Morocoo stated that it does not have a stockpile of antipersonnel mines.[2] Morocco has not indicated on what date it no longer maintained a stockpile of antipersonnel mines, or whether the stockpile was purposefully destroyed or depleted through use. Morocco has acknowledged extensive use of mines in the past.[3] In February 2001, Moroccan officials told Landmine Monitor that the country no longer uses antipersonnel mines.[4] However, Morocco has never repeated this claim and it would not appear that a policy prohibiting use is in place. In January 2002, the Polisario Front claimed that Royal Moroccan Army troops deployed in Western Sahara “refurbish and upgrade their minefields on a daily basis.”[5]

Landmine Problem and Mine Action

Morocco is not considered mine-affected except for the territory it controls in Western Sahara (see the separate Western Sahara report). Under bilateral military agreements signed by Morocco and Polisario in early 1999, both parties committed to cooperate with the UN Mission for a Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) in the exchange of mine-related information, marking of mined areas, and clearance and destruction of landmines and unexploded ordnance in the presence of MINURSO observers. The UN reported that the Royal Moroccan Army carried out 36 disposal operations and the Polisario Front carried out nine such operations between April 2002 and January 2003.[6] In May 2003, the UN reported that MINURSO had monitored another 16 disposal operations carried out by the Royal Moroccan Army in Western Sahara.[7]

In 2003, the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining provided MINURSO with installation support, training, software maintenance, upgrades and general support for the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA). IMSMA will enable MINURSO to consolidate the data on mines and UXO that has been collected over the years for use in planning mine action in the area.[8]

Landmine Casualties And Survivor Assistance

Landmine Monitor could not obtain any updated information on Moroccan landmine casualties during the reporting period. Landmine Monitor previously reported that between March 2000 and March 2001, Moroccan authorities registered 51 military casualties of antivehicle mines and UXO explosions in Western Sahara.[9]

Mine survivors are treated the same as other persons with disabilities in Morocco. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said, “In general, assistance to the handicapped and their insertion into the socio-economic fabric constitutes one of the principal priorities of the Moroccan government.”[10]

[1] See, “Regional Seminar on the Ottawa Convention in North Africa, Tunis, 15-16 January 2002: Final Report on Proceedings.” “Southern provinces” is a reference to the ongoing dispute regarding the Western Sahara between the Morocco and the Polisario Front (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguía el Hamra and Río de Oro).
[2] Interview with Abderrahim Bendaoud, Chief of the Security and Disarmament Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at Tunis, 15 January 2002; response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 9 March 2001; meeting with four Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, Rabat, 28 February 2001.
[3] See past editions of Landmine Monitor Report. Since the 1991 UN-monitored ceasefire, the UN Mission for a Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) apparently has not documented any instances of landmine use by Morocco. Review of UN Secretary-General reports on Western Sahara; Landmine Monitor review of MINURSO records.
[4] Meeting with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, 28 February 2001.
[5] Telephone interview with Emhamed Khadad, Polisario Coordinator to MINURSO, 23 January 2002.
[6] UN Secretary-General, “Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara,” S/2003/59, 16 January 2003, p.3.
[7] UN Secretary-General, “Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara,” S/2003/565, 23 May 2003, pp. 2-3.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 9 March 2001.
[10] Ibid.