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Country Reports
Oman, Landmine Monitor Report 2004


Key developments since May 2003: In January 2004, the Ministry of Defense presented a study of the issues related to accession to the Mine Ban Treaty to the national parliament. Oman participated in a regional seminar on military and humanitarian issues surrounding the Mine Ban Treaty held in Amman, Jordan in April 2004.

Key developments since 1999: Oman has voted in favor of every pro-ban UN General Assembly resolution since 1996. The United States provided mine action assistance from 2000-2002. In February 2001, Oman revealed for the first time that it has a limited stockpile of antipersonnel mines for training purposes. The status of US landmines stockpiled in Oman is not known following combat operations in Iraq.

Mine Ban Policy

Oman has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. In January 2004, the Ministry of Defense presented a study of the issues surrounding accession to the Mine Ban Treaty to the national parliament.[1] Oman’s ambassador to Yemen stated in March 2004 that Oman has not signed the Mine Ban Treaty because of security concerns involving Iraq.[2] Other officials note that Oman’s position on joining the treaty is linked to the common position of its partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Qatar is currently the only treaty member.[3] The ICBL, Canada, and others have encouraged Oman to accede to the treaty before the First Review Conference in November 2004.[4]

Oman participated in the Ottawa Process leading to the Mine Ban Treaty and has remained relatively engaged since then. It has voted in favor of every pro-ban UN General Assembly resolution since 1996, including UNGA Resolution 58/53, promoting universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, on 8 December 2003. Oman attended annual Meetings of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in 2000, 2001, and 2002, but not in September 2003 in Bangkok. It participated in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings for the first time in May 2002 and was present at the meetings held in June 2004. In April 2004, Oman participated in a regional seminar on military and humanitarian issues surrounding the treaty in Amman, Jordan.

Oman has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines, but it has imported and used them in the past. In February 2001, the Ministry of Defense revealed that it has a limited number of stockpiled mines for training purposes.[5] The United States stockpiled at least 6,248 antipersonnel mines at its airbases in Oman, but the status of these stocks is not known following combat operations in Iraq.[6]

Landmine Problem and Mine Action

Oman has a mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem as a legacy of a 1964-1975 internal conflict. A variety of antipersonnel and antivehicle mines were used.[7] The majority of mines and UXO are located in Dhofar region of southern Oman and in two mined zones along the border with Yemen.[8] The Royal Army of Oman has mapped seven zones of suspected mined areas based on historical records of battlefield areas, unit positions, and landmine incident reports.[9]

In 1999, Oman was accepted into the US Humanitarian Mine Action Program. The US assisted Oman by training deminers, establishing a mine detecting dog program, providing equipment such as personal protective gear and mine disposal technologies, funding logistic support and supplying a landmine survey and information management capability. A survey led by the US Department of State was conducted in April 2000. Oman received more than $2.8 million in mine action assistance between 2000-2002.[10] No US funding was provided in 2003.

Landmine Casualties and Survivor Assistance

Since it started reporting in 1999, Landmine Monitor has not recorded any mine casualties in Oman.[11] In March 2001, there were reportedly two UXO incidents that caused serious injuries.[12]

In 2001 it was reported that, according to the government, landmines and UXO had killed at least 12 people and injured 84 others since the end of the Dhofar conflict in 1975.[13]

The government provides medical assistance and rehabilitation for mine and UXO survivors through the Armed Forces and other State authorities.[14]

[1] Interview with Amb. Taleb Meran Al-Raiesy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sanaa, 12 January 2004.
[2] Telephone interview with Abdullah Hamad Al-Badi, Amb. of Oman in Yemen, Sanaa, 19 March 2004.
[3] Statement by Omani Representative at the Amman Seminar on Military and Humanitarian Issues Surrounding the Ottawa Convention, Amman, 19-21 April 2004.
[4] Interview with Karen Mollica, MAT-ILX, DFAIT Canada, Geneva, 11 February 2004.
[5] Response to LM Questionnaire from the Ministry of Defense, 27 February 2001; see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 1038.
[6] US Air Force Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Section E, Appendix 1, Enclosure 5 of Solicitation Number F44650-99-R0007 “Operation, Maintenance, And Support of Pre-positioned War Reserve Materiel in Southwest Asia” shows the planned on-hand balances of munitions stored at facilities.
[7] Steve Soucek and Darrell Strother, “Humanitarian Demining in Sultanate of Oman,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 5.3, Fall 2001, p. 49.
[8] Al-Mahra Governorate is located in the easternmost part of Yemen, bordering Oman. According to the Landmine Impact Survey on Yemen, 2000, “Landmines in Al-Mahra have been laid around former military positions during the 1973-1984 conflict.”
[9] “Humanitarian Demining,” Journal of Mine Action, 2001, p. 49.
[10] US Department of State, “US Humanitarian Mine Action in the Middle East: A Six-Year Progress Report,” 6 December 2002.
[11] A health expert in Oman told Landmine Monitor that there was no landmine casualty-related data available at the Ministry of Health in Muscat. A medical doctor in Ruwi also stated that he was not aware of any landmine-related injuries in the Dhofar area.
[12] US DOS, “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” November 2001, p. 44.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Response by Ministry of Defense, 27 February 2001.