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Table of Contents
Country Reports
BAHRAIN, Landmine Monitor Report 2005

Bahrain

Key developments since May 2004: Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials for the first time indicated there were no major impediments to joining the Mine Ban Treaty, and said internal processes to consider accession were underway. Bahrain attended the First Review Conference in Nairobi, its first participation in a meeting of Mine Ban Treaty States Parties. Ministry of Defense officials revealed for the first time that Bahrain keeps a limited stock of antipersonnel mines for training purposes. The ICBL and UNMAS each conducted their first advocacy missions to Bahrain, and the Egyptian NGO Protection and the Bahrain Human Rights Society organized a landmine workshop.

The State of Bahrain has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty, but in 2004 and 2005 the government became much more engaged in the issue than ever before.[1 ] In April 2005, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told a visiting ICBL delegation that no ministry objected to joining the Mine Ban Treaty, and only a lack of resources was holding up the accession process.[2 ] Another Foreign Affairs official told the ICBL that a document reviewing the requirements for Bahrain, should it join the Mine Ban Treaty, had been drafted and was circulating for comment among relevant ministries.[3 ] He said Bahrain had been communicating with Qatar (a State Party) about implementation aspects of the treaty. He also cautioned that Bahrain needed to coordinate with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states on the accession question.[4 ]

On 10-14 April 2005, Egyptian NGO Protection of Armaments and Consequences, a member of ICBL’s Advisory Board, organized a regional training session on landmines for journalists in Manama, Bahrain, together with the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS). BHRS used the occasion to urge the government and neighboring countries to follow Qatar’s example and join the Mine Ban Treaty.[5 ] Journalists from five GCC states participated in the training—including five from Bahraini media (Al Ayam, Al Wasat, Al Mithaq, Bahrain Tribune, Akbbar Al Khaleej)—and filed several stories during the week.[6 ] During the workshop’s opening plenary, Bahrain’s Under-Secretary for Information and Foreign Affairs delivered a statement on behalf of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in which he reaffirmed the government’s support for the Mine Ban Treaty. ICBL representatives also held private meetings with the First Deputy Prime Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and the Red Crescent Secretary-General.[7 ]

A representative from Bahrain’s Embassy to Egypt participated in the First Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in Nairobi in November–December 2004; this marked the first time Bahrain participated in a ban treaty meeting of States Parties. The representative did not make a formal statement to the conference.

On 3 December 2004, Bahrain voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 59/84, calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. Bahrain has voted in favor of every annual pro-ban UNGA resolution since 1996.

The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) conducted an advocacy mission to Bahrain in September 2004, meeting with the Minister of Defense, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and other senior officials.[8 ] Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials stated that Bahrain fully supports the Mine Ban Treaty, has studied it, and has no objections in principle; the delay in accession is only procedural and it is a matter of time, not policy. They indicated that parliament is interested in Bahrain joining the treaty soon, and legislative approval could be expected. The Minister of Defense told UNMAS that a formal decision had not yet been taken on accession, and stressed the need for consultations with GCC member states on the issue.[9 ]

In April 2005, Bahraini officials confirmed the country has never produced, exported, or used antipersonnel mines.[10 ] In September 2004, the Minister of Defense told UNMAS that Bahrain keeps a limited stock of antipersonnel mines for training purposes only.[11 ] Bahrain had been one of the very few countries in the world for which Landmine Monitor did not have a clear indication if antipersonnel mines were stockpiled. Landmine Monitor has been unable to determine whether a US stockpile of 3,124 antipersonnel mines is still in Bahrain, following the initiation of hostilities in Iraq.[12 ]

Bahrain is not mine-affected and there have been no known mine casualties.[13 ] Landmine Monitor has never recorded any contribution by the government to any international mine action programs.


[1 ]Landmine Monitor Report 2004 (p. 932) noted that Bahrain had not made a public statement on the mine ban issue since October 1998, when the government expressed support for the Mine Ban Treaty in the UN General Assembly.

[2 ]Notes from ICBL meeting with Mohamed Ghassan Shaiko, Director for International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Manama, 12 April 2005.

[3 ]Notes from ICBL meeting with Dr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Mohammed, Director for Legal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Manama, 13 April 2005.

[4 ]Qatar is the only State Party in the GCC. Other GCC states are Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

[5 ]Statement by Salman Kamel Al Deen, BHRS, to Opening Ceremony, GCC Media Training on International Humanitarian Law and Landmines/ERW, Manama, 10 April 2005.

[6 ]See, for example, Abdulrahman Fakhri, “GCC urged to ratify treaty banning landmines,” Gulf Daily News (Bahrain), 10 April 2005.

[7 ]ICBL meetings with: Dr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Mohammed, Director for Legal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 13 April 2005; Mohamed Ghassan Shaiko, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12 April 2005; Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalid Alkhalifa, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Islamic Affairs, 11 April 2005. See also, “Bahrain must back ban on landmines!” ICBL web report, www.icbl.org/news/bahrain, 15 April 2005.

[8 ]Amb. Satnam Singh, UNMAS Consultant, “Mission Report - Bahrain, 26-30 September 2004,” 30 September 2004.

[9 ]There has been a lack of clarity about whether the GCC has a formal resolution asking member states not to join the Mine Ban Treaty. Amb. Singh was told by GCC Headquarters that there is no such formal position, and each country has the sovereign right to decide for itself. Amb. Satnam Singh, UNMAS consultant, “Mission Report - Saudi Arabia/Kuwait, 22-28 October 2004,” (undated).

[10 ]Notes from ICBL meeting with Mohamed Ghassan Shaiko, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Manama, 12 April 2005. In the past, Landmine Monitor has reported that Bahrain was not known to have produced, exported or used antipersonnel mines, but this is the first public statement to that effect.

[11 ]Amb. Satnam Singh, UNMAS Consultant, “Mission Report - Bahrain, 26-30 September 2004,” 30 September 2004.

[12 ]See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 932.

[13 ]Notes from ICBL meeting with Mohamed Ghassan Shaiko, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Manama, 12 April 2005.