02 February 2007

Workshop in Sana’a to examine mine clearance, risk education and victim assistance

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), in collaboration with the YemenExecutiveMineActionCenter, is organizing a one-day workshop on the implementation of the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty. The workshop will take place in Sana’a, Yemen, on 3 February 2007.

The aim of the meeting is to enhance understanding about the provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty among all parties working on mine action and victim assistance in Yemen, as well as to measure progress and discuss remaining challenges in the treaty’s implementation. “The workshop will be particularly timely because in 2009, only two years away, Yemen will face its 10-year mine clearance deadline,” explained Tamar Gabelnick, ICBL Treaty Implementation Director. “Meeting this deadline can be challenging,” added Gabelnick. “However we encourage Yemen to continue in its efforts to make it, and in case this should not be possible, to request an extension for the shortest period feasible. The sooner Yemen removes and destroys all the antipersonnel mines on its territory, the better it will be for all Yemenis.”

The workshop will also address issues related to victim assistance, mine risk education, and other elements of the treaty. Yemen is one of the 24 States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty identified as having the highest numbers of mine victims and therefore the greatest needs relative to victim assistance. “Survivor assistance is included as a priority in Yemen’s mine action strategic plan, which is very positive,” said Katleen Maes, Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Landmine Monitor. "However, we encourage the Yemeni authorities to increase the dialogue with civil society working on disability and victim assistance issues, as well as to do more to promote the inclusion, psycho-social support and economic reintegration of landmine survivors..” “Mine risk education is a key part of the strategy to keep the number of new victims as low as possible. And the rapid destruction of all cleared mines and newly discovered stockpiles, as required by the treaty, will ensure that these mines are never used again,” said Aisha Saeed Mohamed, Chair of the Yemeni Mine Awareness Association, a member of ICBL. “We commend Yemen for its commitment to the Mine Ban Treaty since the beginning, in 1997,” declared Sylvie Brigot, ICBL Executive Director. “Yemen is one of only five countries in the Middle East and North Africa to have joined the Mine Ban Treaty. By dealing responsibly with its mine problem it has been setting a positive example to other countries in the region. It is now time for the final push towards a truly mine-free Yemen,” Brigot concluded. Background

  • The workshop will take place from 9:00 to 17:30 on Saturday, 3 February at the Movenpick Hotel in Sana’a, Yemen.
  • Yemen became a Party to the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 March 1999, the day when the treaty came into force. Accordingly, it is required under Article 5 of the Treaty to “destroy all antipersonnel mines in all mined areas” by 1 March 2009.
  • Yemen is one of a handful of countries in the Middle East and North Africa to have joined the treaty, together with Algeria, Jordan, Qatar and Tunisia.
  • Yemen is contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) as a result of several conflicts, including the 1962-1975 war in the north between republicans and royalists, the 1963-1967 war of independence in the south, the 1970-1983 war against left-wing guerrillas, and the 1994 separatist war. Most of the mines were laid in border areas between northern and southern Yemen and in the southern governorates. A Landmine Impact Survey conducted in 2000 found 1,078 mined areas covering a surface area of 923 square kilometers.
  • According to the Landmine Monitor Report 2006, there were 35 new victims from mines and UXO in 2005, a significant increase from 2004 figures.
  • The 8th Meeting of the States Parties of the Mine Ban Treaty will take place this year near Amman, Jordan, from 18-22 November.
  • The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is a network of civil society organizations working for the eradication of anti-personnel mines in 90 countries across the world. In 1997 it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • More information on the landmine situation in Yemen can be found at www.icbl.org/lm/country/yemen

*** For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Tamar Gabelnick ICBL Treaty Implementation Director +967-734-028-706