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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Landmine Monitor Report 2005

United Arab Emirates

Key developments since May 2004: The UN Mine Action Service conducted the first advocacy mission to the UAE in September 2004. The UAE appears to be giving more serious consideration to the Mine Ban Treaty. In 2004, the UAE donated over US$6 million to mine action, principally to Operation Emirates Solidarity, which cleared some five square kilometers of mine-affected land in South Lebanon in 2001-2004, with a total UAE contribution of $50 million.

Mine Ban Policy

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. The UAE has previously stated that it supports “the international effort to ban antipersonnel landmines.”[1 ] It has voted in favor of every pro-ban UN General Assembly resolution since 1996, including UNGA Resolution 59/84 on 3 December 2004, calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) conducted an advocacy mission to the UAE in September 2004, the first of its kind in the UAE. Senior officials said there were no serious reservations against joining the Mine Ban Treaty, but that it had not been a priority issue. The UAE initiated a study after the mission to examine the treaty in all aspects.[2 ] The Canadian government visited the UAE shortly thereafter to encourage its accession to the treaty. Previously, in April 2004, a representative of the UAE had cited no blockages or reasons for not joining the treaty in his statement to a regional seminar on military and humanitarian issues surrounding the treaty held in Amman, Jordan.[3 ]

The UAE did not participate in the First Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in Nairobi in November-December 2004. A military legal advisor attended the meetings of the intersessional Standing Committees in Geneva in June 2005. The advisor told the ICBL that this was the first time the UAE had sent a senior officer directly concerned with the treaty and that this was an indication of the government’s desire to look at the issue seriously.[4 ]

The UAE has stated that it has not produced or exported antipersonnel mines. In December 2003, an Army representative stated that there are no landmines stockpiled in the country.[5 ] This was confirmed by the defense secretary in September 2004.[6]

The UAE is not party to Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Mine Action

The United Arab Emirates is not mine-affected.[7 ] In 2004, the UAE continued to contribute to mine action in other countries affected by mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).

From October 2001 until June 2004, the UAE supported demining operations in South Lebanon through the Operation Emirates Solidarity (OES) project. Initially planned for only two phases, the project completed a third phase in May 2004. Since the beginning of operations in 2001, some five square kilometers of affected land have been cleared and released for use by the local population. One remaining area, which was not part of the original project, is yet to be cleared. In December 2004, the UAE declined a proposal by Lebanon to fund this operation.[8]

The UAE contributed, through UNMAS, about $50 million to the OES project for the period 2002-2004:[9]

  • $1,631,715 for Phase 1 (minefield reconnaissance and elimination of booby-traps);
  • $24,766,000 for Phase 2 (clearance and elimination of mines and UXO);
  • $6,199,000 for Phase 3 (clearance and elimination of UXO);
  • $1,349,685 for purchasing demining machinery and other equipment;
  • $3,342,800 contribution to the UN office in South Lebanon;
  • $476,538 for film and media coverage of the project by Emirates Media Corp;
  • $12,234,262 for UAE Armed Forces expenses and other administrative expenses.

The UAE contributed over $6 million to mine action in 2004, including Phase 3 of the OES project, which took place from January to May. In previous years, the UAE contributed to international mine action programs in Egypt, Kosovo and Sri Lanka.[10]

In 2004-2005, the Arab Gulf Council provided $62,000 to the Sudanese Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of War Victims for a development center for landmine survivors and other war-affected people and their families, especially women and children; the center was in one of the camps for internally displaced persons south of Khartoum, Sudan. Assistance includes micro credit and medical care for 100 families, including some mine survivors.[11]

 The UAE Red Crescent Society supports several Iraqi hospitals and centers with technical or financial support, and assists children with war-related disabilities, through rehabilitation centers in Jerusalem, Nablis and Beit Lahya.[12 ]

[1 ]Letter to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 5 October 2000. Translated by UAE Embassy, Washington DC.

[2 ]Ambassador Satnam Singh, “UNMAS Advocacy Visits,” 16 December 2004 (reporting on his trips to five countries on behalf of UNMAS); email from Amb. Satnam Singh, 7 October 2004.

[3 ]Statement by Col. Juma’a Mubarak Al-Jnaibi, Amman Seminar on Military and Humanitarian Issues Surrounding the Ottawa Convention, Amman, 19-21 April 2004.

[4 ]Email from Amb. Satnam Singh, ICBL Diplomatic Advisor, 28 June 2005. The legal advisor was Col. Aamar Al-Taaei.

[5 ]Presentation by Ali Al-Hosni, UAE military officer, Workshop on the Risks of Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War, Sharjah, 8-9 December 2003.

[6] Email from Amb. Satnam Singh, 7 October 2004.

[7 ]See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1137.

[8] See the report on Lebanon in this edition of Landmine Monitor.

[9] Mine Action Investment database, www.mineaction.org, accessed 4 August 2005.

[10] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 1136-1137.

[11] Email from Shaza Nagm Eldin, Victim Assistance Coordinator, UNOPS for UNMAS, 5 June 2005.

[12 ]Landmine Monitor interview with Head of Board, Red Crescent Society , Sharjah, 8–9 December 2003; “Landmines continue to claim a staggering 15,000 lives ever year,” Khaleej Times, 9 December 2003.