Western Sahara

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 July 2016

Summary: Western Sahara cannot accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions due to its political status, but has expressed its support for the ban on cluster munitions. In June 2014, Western Sahara provided a voluntary transparency report for the convention, which states that it does not possess cluster munitions and has never produced them.

Policy

The sovereignty of Western Sahara remains the subject of a dispute between the government of Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguía el Hamra and Río de Oro (Polisario). Polisario’s Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a member of the African Union, but is not universally recognized. It has no official representation in the UN, which prevents formal accession to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

In June 2014, the SADR provided the UN with a voluntary Article 7 Report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions with a cover letter that declared “By submitting its voluntary report, the SADR would like to reaffirm its commitment to a total ban on cluster munitions as well as its willingness to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and be bound by its provisions.”[1] Previously, in June 2012, a Polisario Front representative informed the Monitor of Polisario’s support for the prohibition on cluster munitions.[2]

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

In the voluntary Article 7 report, the SADR has declared that it possesses no stocks of cluster munitions and has never produced cluster munitions.[3] This followed a 2012 statement to the Monitor that the Polisario does not possess cluster munitions and has never used them.[4]

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces used artillery-fired and air-dropped cluster munitions against Polisario in Western Sahara during their conflict from 1975 to 1991. SADR has reported that Royal Moroccan Armed Forces used BLU-63, M-42, and MK-118 cluster munitions at multiple locations in Dougaj, Mijek, Bir Lahlu, North Wadis, and Mehariz.[5]



[1] The report covers the period from 2005 to June 2014. The SADR provided the voluntary Article 7 report to the UN on 20 June 2014 with a cover letter signed by the Polisario’s representative to Switzerland and the UN in Geneva, dated 18 June 2014. A copy of the report was provided to the CMC and the Monitor, but the report had not been placed on the UN website as of 5 July 2016.

[2] Interview with Dr. Limam El Jalil, Representative of Polisario Front to the UN in Geneva, Geneva, 27 June 2012.

[3] SADR voluntary Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Forms B, C, D, and E, 20 June 2014.

[4] Interview with Dr. Limam El Jalil, Representative of Polisario Front to the UN in Geneva, Geneva, 27 June 2012.

[5] SADR voluntary Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form F, 20 June 2014.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 02 November 2011

Background

The sovereignty of Western Sahara remains the subject of a dispute between the government of Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguía el Hamra and Río de Oro (Polisario). Polisario’s Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic is a member of the African Union, but is not universally recognized. It has no official representation in the UN, which prevents formal accession to the Mine Ban Treaty. Polisario officials have, since 1999, stated that they would adhere to the Mine Ban Treaty if permitted to do so.

In November 2005, Polisario committed to unilaterally ban antipersonnel mines through the NGO Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment. The Deed pledges Polisario to a ban on use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of antipersonnel mines, and to cooperation in mine action.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Both Polisario and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces used mines extensively until the 1991 UN-monitored cease-fire. There have been no substantiated allegations of mine use since that time.[1]

Polisario is not known to have produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Polisario officials claim they acquired antipersonnel mines in the past by lifting them from Moroccan minefields, especially those around the berms (defensive earthen walls).[2] Based on mines previously destroyed, Polisario stocks have included antipersonnel mines of Belgian, Chinese, German, Israeli, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Soviet, United Kingdom, and Yugoslav manufacture.[3]

From 2006 to 2011, Polisario undertook four public destructions of stockpiled antipersonnel mines, pursuant to the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment.[4] The most recent stockpile destruction occurred on 28 February 2011, when Polisario destroyed 1,506 antipersonnel mines with technical assistance from Action on Armed Violence.[5] Polisario has not revealed the number of antipersonnel mines it still possesses. It has offered varying information on its stockpile in the past.[6]

 



[1] Morocco and Polisario have periodically traded accusations of new mine use, but both have denied it. See Landmine Monitor Report 2009, p. 1,216.

[2] They may have acquired mines from other sources as well. Some of the stockpiled mines Polisario has destroyed are not known to have been in Morocco’s arsenal, such as those of Belgian, Portuguese, and Yugoslav origin.

[3] “Observations made during field mission by Landmine Action UK,” provided by email from Landmine Action, 3 May 2006. See also, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 1,095; and Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 1,196.

[4] From 2006–2011, Polisario destroyed a combined total of 10,141: 3,316 in February 2006; 3,321 in February 2007; 2,000 in May 2008; and 1,504 in February 2011. See Ilaria Ercolano, “UN-backed talks on future of Western Sahara to resume next week,” UN News Centre, 3 March 2011, www.un.org; Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1,118; Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 1,095; and Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 1,196. The UN News Center report from March 2011 mistakenly noted that 1,506 antipersonnel mines had been destroyed. In an email to the Monitor, Geneva Call stated that 1,506 total mines were destroyed, including 2 TMA 4 antipersonnel mines used as donor charges, bringing the total number of antipersonnel mines destroyed in February 2011 to 1,504. Email from Katherine Kramer, Programme Director and Acting Coordinator for Landmines and Other Explosive Devices, Geneva Call, 22 August 2011. The mines included are: 111 M-35 (Belgium); six Type 58 (China); 6,728 VS-50 (Italy); 276 SB-33 (Italy); 76 M966 (Portugal); 20 M969 (Portugal); 49 MAI75 (Romania); 42 MI AP DV 59 (France); 303 MK1 [or Number 7] (UK); 109 PMD-6 (USSR); 1,490 PMD-6M (USSR); 12 PMN (USSR); 60 POMZ-2M (USSR); 29 PRB M404 (Belgium); 535 PROM-1 (Yugoslavia); 267 VS-33 (unknown type, presumably Italian); 22 “NEGRO” (unknown type, attributed to Israel); and six E-58 (unknown type, attributed to Germany). The Monitor had previously reported that the 2006 and 2007 destruction events also included 284 antivehicle mines. Geneva Call, which requested clarification from Polisario, was told that the destroyed mines were MK1 antipersonnel mines, not K1 antivehicle mines. Polisario also said that mines recorded as FMP1 were actually Portuguese-made M969 mines.

[5] Ilaria Ercolano, “UN-backed talks on future of Western Sahara to resume next week,” UN News Centre, 3 March 2011, www.un.org.

[6] In 2002, Polisario told the Monitor that it no longer had a stockpile of antipersonnel mines, except for 1,606 disarmed mines on display in a military museum. In January 2006, however, Polisario’s Chief Engineer, Mohammed Fadel Sidna, told the Monitor that its stockpile consisted of more than 10,000 antipersonnel and antivehicle mines.


Mine Action

Last updated: 13 December 2017

Contaminated by: landmines (massive contamination), cluster munition remnants (medium contamination), and other unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Western Sahara cannot accede to the Mine Ban Treaty or the Convention on Cluster Munitions due to its political status

Summary

UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS)-contracted demining activities in the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR, or Western Sahara) east of the Berm were suspended from 20 March to 15 September 2016, following the expulsion of civilian staff members of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) by Morocco.

Mines: At the end of 2016, to the east of the berm there was a total of 252km2 of mine contamination, of which 248.24km2 was suspected hazardous area (SHA) and 3.8km2 was confirmed hazardous area (CHA). Of this 154.5km2 contained or was suspected to contain antipersonnel mines. The extent of contamination to the west of the berm is not known (see the Morocco country profile). In 2016 no areas containing antipersonnel mines were released east of the berm. There is an unexplained discrepancy between the contamination figures and land release results for 2016.

Cluster munitions (to end 2016): Western Sahara’s cluster munition contamination is located east of the Berm. As of the end of 2016, Western Sahara had 4.5km2 of hazardous areas confirmed to be contaminated by cluster munition remnants, a decrease on the 4.89km2 reported at the end of 2015. Contamination continued to be found in 2016, with five additional hazardous areas confirmed through survey activities, totaling 0.26km2. In 2016, 1.21km2 of cluster munition-contaminated land was cleared, with the destruction of 335 submunitions.

Recommendations for action

  • Western Sahara should formally commit to respect and implement the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Cluster Munitions, including to clear all mines and cluster munition remnants east of the Berm as soon as possible.
  • Morocco is strongly encouraged to provide cluster strike data to the UN or humanitarian demining organizations to facilitate survey and clearance of cluster munition remnants.
  • The mine action strategy should be finalized and released as soon as possible.

Mine contamination

The exact extent of mine contamination across Western Sahara is not known, although the areas along the Berm[1] are thought to contain some of the densest mine contamination in the world.[2] The contamination is a result of fighting in previous decades between the Royal Moroccan Army (RMA) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) forces.

According to UNMAS, the primary mine threat in Western Sahara east of the Berm, excluding both the Berm itself and the buffer strip, is from antivehicle rather than antipersonnel mines; cluster munition remnants are also a major hazard.[3] It stated that, as of the end of 2016, only a limited number of areas suspected to contain antipersonnel mines remained to the east of the Berm, and the majority of mine contamination identified during ongoing and historical clearance efforts was from antivehicle mines.[4]

At the end of 2016, land in Western Sahara to the east of the Berm contained a total of 37 confirmed and suspected mined areas covering a total of more than 252km2, as set out in the table below.[5] This is almost 4.5km2 less than at the end of 2015, according to UNMAS’s estimate of contamination.[6]

Seven of the 37 areas, covering a total of 61.9km2, are located within the 5km-wide buffer strip and are inaccessible for clearance.[7] Neither survey nor clearance has been conducted in the 5km buffer strip to the east of the Berm.[8] Clearance of the buffer strip of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) is not foreseen in MINURSO mission agreements, which according to the UN, considerably limits the ability of MINURSO military observers to patrol and verify developments.[9]

Mine contamination east of the Berm (as at end 2016)[10]

Type of contamination

CHAs

Area (km2)

SHAs

Area (km2)

AP mines

0

0

1

0.1

AV mines

13

3.3

13

94.2

AP/AV mines

2

0.5

8

153.9

Total

15

3.8

22

248.2

Note: AP = antipersonnel; AV = antivehicle.

Both the north and south of Western Sahara are known or suspected to contain antipersonnel mines, as set out in the table below.[11]

Areas containing antipersonnel mines by province east of the Berm (as of end 2016)[12]

Province

CHAs

Area (km2)

SHAs

Area (km2)

North Region

2

0.53

6

8.3

South Region

0

0

3

145.7

Total

2

0.53

9

154.0

 

The figure of 154km2 of remaining antipersonnel mine contamination is not consistent with the figure at the end of 2015 minus reported land release during the year. This figure would be just under 180km2. No explanation was provided for the inconsistency.

In 2016, UNMAS continued to prioritize non-technical survey of SHAs to obtain a more accurate picture of the remaining threat. In 2015, a number of confirmed mined areas were reclassified as SHAs in the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database prior to non-technical survey intended to better define the parameters and size of the areas.[13]

No new antipersonnel mine contamination was identified in 2016.[14]

The extent of contamination west of the Berm remains unknown, and as of 2017, no survey had been carried out there.[15] (See Morocco’s mine action profile for details.) The RMA controls territory to the west of the Berm where it has been conducting large-scale demining. According to UNMAS, the RMA cooperates with the MINURSO mine action component and submits regular monthly reports, helping to build a clearer understanding of the mine and ERW threat across Western Sahara.[16]

Cluster Munition Contamination

Western Sahara had 4.5km2 of CHAs containing cluster munition remnants east of the Berm as of the end of 2016.[17] Of this, six cluster munition strike areas with a total size of 0.5km2 are located inside the buffer strip and are inaccessible for clearance.[18] Confirmed cluster munition contamination has decreased from the 55 areas totaling 4.89km2 recorded at the end of 2015.[19]

Both the north and south of Western Sahara still contain confirmed cluster munition-contaminated areas, as set out in the table below.[20]

Cluster munition contamination east of the Berm (as of end 2016)[21]

Region

CHAs

Area (km2)

North

18

0.92

South

26

3.58

Total

44

4.50

 

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (RMAF) used both artillery-fired and air-dropped cluster munitions against Polisario Front forces during their conflict in Western Sahara from 1975 to 1991. According to Western Sahara, BLU-63, M42, and Mk118 submunitions were used by the RMAF at multiple locations in Bir Lahlou, Dougaj, Mehaires, Mijek, and North Wadis.[22]

While cluster munition clearance had been projected to be completed by the end of 2012,[23] discovery of previously unknown contaminated areas meant this target date was not met. New contaminated areas have continued to be identified, with an additional five cluster munition strike areas with a total size of nearly 0.26km2 discovered in 2016.[24] New strike areas are expected to be found in the future as mine action activities continue and additional information is received from local populations.[25]

The reported six cluster munition strike areas located inside the buffer strip, with an estimated total size of 520,609m2, may increase if restrictions on access to the buffer strip are lifted, allowing survey and clearance to be conducted.[26]

Impact of mines and ERW

The significant mine, unexploded submunition, and other UXO contamination in Western Sahara continues to pose a daily threat to the local, nomadic, and refugee populations, along with UN personnel and military observers, and humanitarian actors.[27] Contamination from mines and ERW negatively impacts socio-economic growth and development, limiting access to fluctuating and seasonally dependent water sources vital for animal herding and small-scale agriculture on which local populations depend.[28]

Program Management

The MINURSO Mine Action Coordination Center (MACC) supports mine action activities, which were implemented by commercial contractor Dynasafe MineTech Limited (DML) and NGO Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in 2016.[29] The MACC was relocated to Tindouf, Algeria, in September 2016.

UNMAS-contracted demining activities in Western Sahara east of the Berm were suspended from 20 March to 15 September 2016. This followed a visit by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Sahrawi refugee camps in southern Algeria in March 2016 and his use of the term “occupation” to describe the political status of Western Sahara. Morocco ordered the expulsion of 84 civilian staff members of MINURSO, including the international staff of UNMAS.[30]

On 29 April 2016, the UN Security Council voted to extend MINURSO’s mandate in Western Sahara for one year until 30 April 2017. In doing so, it strongly emphasized “the urgent need for the mission to return to full functionality,” noting that MINURSO had been unable to fully carry out its mandate as the majority of its civilian component had been prevented from performing their duties.[31] The mandate was subsequently updated for a further year until the end of April 2018.[32]

UNMAS reported that mine action operations returned to full capacity in September 2016, when it relocated to Tindouf, Algeria. In March 2017, it stated that there were no restrictions on movement in UNMAS’s areas of operations east of the Berm.[33]

In 2013, the Polisario Front established a local mine action coordination center (the Saharawi Mine Action Coordination Office, SMACO), which is responsible for coordinating mine action in Western Sahara east of the Berm and for land release activities.[34] SMACO, which was established with UN support, started its activities in January 2014.

The RMA controls territory to the west of the Berm where it has been conducting large-scale demining. According to UNMAS, the RMA cooperates with the UN Mine Action Coordination Center (MACC) and submits regular monthly reports, helping to build a clearer understanding of the mine and ERW threat across Western Sahara.[35] (See Morocco’s mine action profile.)

Strategic planning

MINURSO MACC’s activities are conducted in accordance with the UN Mine Action Strategy for 2013–2018. UNMAS planned to develop a mine action strategy specific to Western Sahara in the second half of 2015.[36] As of September 2017, the strategy was still considered a draft and not publicly available. UNMAS reported that ongoing discussions with MINURSO and SMACO continued, with a target date of July 2018 for the strategy’s release, while a multi-year workplan remained in place.[37] According to UNMAS, the strategy foresees completion of non-technical survey in 2017/2018; release of all recorded cluster munition strike areas east of the Berm by the end of 2019; and a 50% reduction in the total number of recorded SHAs and CHAs remaining in Western Sahara by the end of 2022.[38]

UNMAS reported that the MACC identifies priorities for mine clearance to the east of the Berm in conjunction with SMACO and MINURSO. Priorities for mine clearance are areas that restrict MINURSO from carrying out its mandate and areas established with SMACO that hinder the safety of movement of local communities.[39]

Standards

In 2016, UNMAS, together with SMACO, finalized the development of local mine action standards applicable east of the Berm, in coordination with mine action partners. In May 2017, UNMAS reported that the standards had been disseminated to all mine action stakeholders and that their implementation was jointly monitored by MINURSO MACC and SMACO, pending their official certification by SMACO.[40] As of April 2017, the standards were said to be in the process of being translated into Arabic.[41]

Operators

In January–November 2016, a total of five Multi-Task Teams (MTTs) were in Western Sahara. Two MTTs were deployed by NPA to conduct mine clearance, along with two of three teams contracted from DML. In November 2016, new funding from Germany allowed three additional DML teams to be deployed, making a total of eight operational MTTs. Of these three additional DML teams, two were assigned to mine survey and clearance tasks.[42]

DML (formerly Mine Tech International, MTI) was the only implementing operator tasked with conducting cluster munition survey and clearance during 2016.[43] From January to November 2016, DML had one team deployed to conduct cluster munition survey and clearance. In November 2016, new funding enabled DML to add a second team assigned to cluster munition survey and clearance.[44]

Quality management

An external quality management system is in place and is implemented by MINURSO MACC, which consists of inspection visits for the accreditation of MTT teams as well as during clearance.[45]

According to NPA, SMACO also conducted external QA and quality control (QC) activities. In April–September 2016, however, no external QA/QC was carried out on demining activities owing to the expulsion of UNMAS and MINURSO staff from Western Sahara by Morocco.[46]

Information management

UNMAS claimed that significant improvements were made to the IMSMA database for Western Sahara in 2016 as a result of an ongoing data audit initiated at the end of 2015, which filtered out duplicate information. Revised standing operating procedures for data management were also introduced with a stronger emphasis on the verification of information.[47]

UNMAS initiated a project, funded by Germany, to build SMACO’s capacity for information management, which included training a local Information Management Officer in 2016. NPA reported that the management of the IMSMA database by MINURSO MACC and SMACO had improved, with better access, coordination, and communication between the two entities following the relocation of the MACC to Tindouf, Algeria, in September 2016.[48]

Land Release (mines)

No areas containing antipersonnel mines were cleared in 2016 east of the berm. An area thought to contain mixed antipersonnel and antivehicle mine contamination was cleared, but no antipersonnel mines were found, only 23 antivehicle mines.[49] (For land release west of the berm, see Morocco’s mine action profile.)

Land Release (cluster munition remnants)

Total cluster munition-contaminated area released by clearance in 2016 was just over 1.21km2, a decrease on the 1.84km2 cleared in 2015, which UNMAS reported was due to the suspension of mine action activities in March–September 2016.[50]

Survey in 2016 (cluster munition remnants)

In 2016, DML identified five previously unrecorded cluster munition strike areas totaling 256,735m2 through its survey activities.[51]

Clearance in 2016 (cluster munition remnants)

In 2016, UNMAS reported that DML cleared 17 cluster munition-contaminated areas with a total size of 1,208,930m2 to the east of the Berm, destroying 335 submunitions and another 95 items of UXO.[52] This compares to the clearance of 11 cluster munition-contaminated areas totaling 1,841,225m2 in 2015.[53] While the six-month suspension of its activities during the year accounted for the decrease in the total amount of cluster munition contamination cleared by DML, the number of cluster munition remnants it destroyed increased by more than 40% compared to the previous year. This resulted from the addition of a second MTT focusing on cluster munition contamination in November 2016, and the deployment of both teams on heavily contaminated areas.[54]

Progress towards completion of antipersonnel mine clearance

Western Sahara is neither a State Party nor a signatory to the Mine Ban Treaty. In June 2014, however, the SADR submitted a voluntary Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report to the UN “as a sign of the support of the Sahrawi State for the goals of the Treaty.”[55]

As noted above, in 2016, the six-month suspension of operations negatively affected UNMAS’ yearly operational targets. NPA cited other challenges to operations, including working in a remote desert environment allied to serious difficulties in procuring certain equipment and materials.[56] Temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius, strong winds, sandstorms, and heavy rain during the wet season can also cause mine action activities to be suspended.[57]

Under Western Sahara’s new draft mine action strategic plan, non-technical survey is to be completed in 2017/18 and the number of recorded SHAs and CHAs reduced by 50% by the end of 2022.[58] MINURSO MACC reported that priorities in 2017 would be the completion of non-technical survey in five districts east of the Berm, with the survey of six SHAs. It predicted that the increase in demining capacity in November 2016 would be maintained throughout the year as operational funding for the additional teams had been secured for 24 months.[59]

In keeping with previous estimates, UNMAS estimated that all high and medium hazardous areas in Western Sahara east of the Berm, including mined areas, could be released by 2025.[60]

Progress towards completion of cluster munition clearance

Western Sahara is neither a State Party nor a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and therefore does not have a specific clearance deadline under Article 4. However, Western Sahara submitted a voluntary Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 transparency report to the UN in 2014, stating that “By submitting its voluntary report, the SADR would like to reaffirm its commitment to a total ban on cluster munitions as well as its willingness to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and be bound by its provisions.”[61]

As noted above, in 2016, the six-month suspension of operations negatively affected UNMAS’ yearly operational targets. Additionally, UNMAS reported that delays to clearing confirmed cluster munition-contaminated areas continued, the result of restrictions on accessing certain areas of the buffer strip established by various MINURSO mission agreements.[62]

Under Western Sahara’s new draft mine action strategic plan, all recorded cluster munition strike areas to the east of the Berm should be released by 2019.[63] UNMAS expected to complete clearance of all 10 recorded strike areas outside the buffer strip in the Bir Lahlou, Mehaires, and Tifariti districts by the end of 2017.[64] It predicted that the increase in capacity in November 2016 would be maintained throughout the year as operational funding for the additional teams had been secured for 24 months.[65]

Five-year summary of cluster munition clearance

Year

Area cleared (m2)

2016

1,208,930

2015

1,841,225

2014

1,756,566

2013

985,000

2012

819,122

Total

6,610,843

 

 

The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (www.mineactionreview.org), which has conducted the mine action research in 2017, including on survey and clearance, and shared all its resulting landmine and cluster munition reports with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.



[1] A 2,700km-long defensive wall, the Berm, was built during the conflict, dividing control of the territory between Morocco on the west, and the Polisario Front on the east. The Berm is 12-times the length of the Berlin Wall and second in length only to the Great Wall of China.

[2] See UNMAS, “About UNMAS in Western Sahara,” updated May 2015; and Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), “Making life safer for the people of Western Sahara,” London, August 2011. 


[3] Email from Graeme Abernethy, Programme Manager, UNMAS, 7 September 2017.

[4] Email from Virginie Auger, Associate Programme Officer, UNMAS, 29 March 2017.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Response to questionnaire by Sarah Holland, UNMAS, 18 May 2015. The extent of contamination in Moroccan-controlled territory to the west of the Berm remains unknown.

[7] Email from Graeme Abernethy, UNMAS, 7 September 2017. The buffer strip is an area 5km wide east of the Berm. MINURSO, “Ceasefire Monitoring Overview,” undated.

[9] “Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara,” UN doc. S/2017/307, 10 April 2017, p. 8.

[10] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 29 March 2017.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid. This includes areas recorded as having mixed antipersonnel and antivehicle mines.

[13] Email from Graeme Abernethy, UNMAS, 24 August 2016.

[14] Ibid., 7 September 2017.

[16] UNMAS, “2017 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects: MINURSO,” undated.

[17] A defensive wall (the Berm) was built during the conflict between the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) forces, dividing control of the territory between Morocco on the west, and the Polisario Front on the east.

[18] The buffer strip is an area 5km wide, east of the Berm. MINURSO, “Ceasefire Monitoring Overview,” undated.

[19] Emails from Graeme Abernethy, UNMAS, 27 May 2016; and from Sarah Holland, Programme Officer, UNMAS, 23 May 2016.

[20] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 15 March 2017.

[21] Emails from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 17 May, 10 May, and 15 March 2017. UNMAS previously reported that there were 55 CHAs remaining at the end of 2015. However, there was one suspected cluster munition strike area that was pending survey and not reported in the total, which accounts for the apparent discrepancy in its reporting of contamination remaining at the end of 2015 and progress in release in 2016. Bir Lahlou (also spelled Bir Lehlou), Mehaires (also spelled Meharrize), and Tifariti are considered to make up the north, and Mijek and Agwanit the south. Email from Graeme Abernethy, UNMAS, 9 June 2015.

[22] Western Sahara, Voluntary Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form F, 20 June 2014; and Cluster Munition Monitor, “Cluster Munition Ban Policy: Western Sahara,” updated 2 November 2011.

[23] Email from Karl Greenwood, Chief of Operations, AOAV/Mechem Western Sahara Programme, AOAV, 18 June 2012.

[24] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 15 March 2017.

[25] Emails from Sarah Holland, UNMAS, 23 May 2016; and from Gordan Novak, AOAV Western Sahara, 25 July 2014.

[26] Emails from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 15 March 2017; from Sarah Holland, UNMAS, 23 May 2016; and from Graeme Abernethy, UNMAS, 27 May 2016. The six areas were identified in a 2008 survey.

[27]Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara,” UN doc. S/2017/307, 10 April 2017, p. 8; and emails from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 29 March 2017; and from Sarah Holland, UNMAS, 26 April 2016, and 18 May 2015.

[28]Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara,” UN doc. S/2017/307, 10 April 2017, p. 8; and UNMAS, “2016 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects: MINURSO,” undated.

[29] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 15 March 2017.

[30] “Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara,” UN doc. S/2017/307, 10 April 2017, p. 8; R. Gladstone, “Morocco Orders U.N. to Cut Staff in Disputed Western Sahara Territory,” The New York Times, 17 March 2016; and What’s in Blue: Insights on the work of the UN Security Council, “Western Sahara: Arria-formula Meeting, Consultations, and MINURSO Adoption,” 26 April 2016.

[31] UN Security Council Resolution 2285 (2016), 29 April 2016.

[32] UN Security Council Resolution 2351 (2017), 28 April 2017.

[33] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 29 March 2017.

[34] Response to questionnaire by Sarah Holland, UNMAS, 24 February 2014; and email, 25 February 2014.

[35] UNMAS, “2017 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects: MINURSO,” undated.

[36] Email from Sarah Holland, UNMAS, 5 June 2015.

[37] Email from Graeme Abernethy, UNMAS, 7 September 2017.

[38] Email from El Hadji Mamadou Kebe, Programme Manager, NPA, 8 April 2017.

[39] Emails from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 15 and 29 March 2017.

[40] Ibid., 17 May 2017.

[41] Email from El Hadji Mamadou Kebe, NPA, 8 April 2017.

[42] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 10 May 2017.

[43] The company changed its name on 3 August 2015 to Dynasafe MineTech Limited. Dynasafe website, “History of MineTech,” undated.

[44] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 10 May 2017.

[45] Ibid., 29 March 2017.

[46] Email from El Hadji Mamadou Kebe, NPA, 8 April 2017.

[47] Emails from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 24 April and 29 March 2017.

[48] Email from El Hadji Mamadou Kebe, NPA, 8 April 2017.

[49] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 29 March 2017.

[50] Ibid., 15 March 2017; and from Sarah Holland, UNMAS, 21 April 2016, and 18 May 2015.

[51] Emails from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 15 March 2017; and from Sarah Holland, UNMAS, 21 April 2016. DML declined to provide data directly to Mine Action Review and requested that UNMAS data be used instead. Email from Melanie Villegas, Project Executive, DML, 3 March 2017.

[52] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 15 March 2017.

[53] Email from Sarah Holland, UNMAS, 21 April 2016. 


[54] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 10 May 2017.

[55]SADR initiative welcomed by Maputo Conference on Mine Ban,” Sahara Press Service, 2 July 2014.

[56] Email from El Hadji Mamadou Kebe, NPA, 8 April 2017.

[57] UNMAS, “About UNMAS in Western Sahara,” updated January 2017.

[58] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 29 March 2017.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid., 10 May and 29 March 2017; and from Sarah Holland, UNMAS, 21 April and 18 May 2016.

[61] Western Sahara, Voluntary Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form F, 20 June 2014; and Cluster Munition Monitor, “Cluster Munition Ban Policy: Western Sahara,” updated 2 November 2011.

[62] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 15 March 2017.

[63] Ibid., 29 March 2017.

[64] Ibid., 15 March 2017.

[65] Ibid.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 19 November 2017

In 2016, international assistance to mine action activities in the territory of Western Sahara amounted to nearly US$2 million, with Norway and Germany as the sole donors.[1]

Additionally, Switzerland provided in-kind assistance valued at CHF550,000 ($558,489) in support of clearance operations in Western Sahara.[2]

International contributions: 2016[3]

Donor

Sector

Amount

(national currency)

Amount

(US$)

Germany

Clearance

€1,002,812

1,110,313

Norway

Clearance

NOK7,100,000

845,883

Total

 

 

1,956,196

 

Since 2012, international contributions towards mine action in Western Sahara have fluctuated between $2 million in 2016 and $0.4 million in 2012, and totaled $5.5 million.

Summary of international contributions: 2012–2016[4]

Year

International contributions ($)

2016

1,956,196

2015

1,217,020

2014

681,494

2013

1,200,179

2012

399,795

Total

5,454,684

 



[1] Germany, Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II Annual Report, Form E, 31 March 2017; and email from Ingrid Schoyen, Senior Adviser, Section for Humanitarian Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 31 May 2017.

[2] Switzerland, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 28 April 2017. Average exchange rate for 2016: US$1=CHF0.9848.US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 4 January 2017.

[3] Average exchange rate for 2016: €1=US$1.1072; NOK8.3936=US$1. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 4 January 2017.

[4] See previous Monitor profiles. 


Casualties

Last updated: 13 July 2017

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2016

At least 2,500

Casualties occurring in 2016

34 (2015: 47)

2016 casualties by survival outcome

6 killed; 26 injured; 2 unknown (2015: 13 killed; 33 injured; 1 unknown)

2016 casualties by item type

2 antipersonnel mine; 13 antivehicle mines; 8 unspecified mines; 8 explosive remnant of war (ERW)

 

In 2016, the Monitor identified 34 mine/ERW casualties in Western Sahara. Most (19) casualties were civilians, three were military, and 12 were of unknown civil status. Nineteen casualties were male, three were female, and 12 were of unknown sex. Thirteen were adults, four were children, and 17 were of unknown age group. Antivehicle mines caused more casualties (13) than any other mine/ERW type.[1]

The majority of casualties, 24 (71%), were in in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara (west of the berm[2]), and 8 (24%) occurred in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara (east of the berm, also known as the Liberated Territories). The remaining two casualties occurred in the buffer zone.

For 2016, Morocco reported 19 mine/ERW casualties, two people killed and 17 injured, including in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara (west of the berm).[3] No details were provided on exact locations.

The 34 casualties identified in 2016 represent a decrease from the 47 casualties identified in 2015, although it is more than the 23 casualties reported in 2014. Casualty data is not comprehensive, making it difficult to determine clear casualty trends over time. However, in 2017, UNMAS reported that it had begun conducting a continued review of casualty data and verifying it against historical data.[4]

The total number of mine/ERW casualties in Western Sahara is not known. Morocco reported a total of 2,536 mine/ERW casualties (831 killed; 1,705 injured) from 1975 to the end of 2012; it was not reported how many of these occurred in Morocco versus Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.[5] In 2014, the Saharawi Association of Landmine Victims (ASAVIM) had collected detailed information on 1,006 victims of mines, cluster munitions, and other ERW who are living in and around the Rabouni refugee camps on the Algerian border with Western Sahara.[6]

Cluster munition casualties

In total, 182 cluster munition casualties have been identified in Western Sahara. No unexploded cluster submunition casualties were reported in 2016. There were four unexploded cluster submunition casualties in 2015, including at least one child.[7] Prior to that, in September 2013, a boy was injured by an unexploded submunition.[8] ASAVIM identified 177 casualties of unexploded submunitions occurring between 1975 and 2012.[9]



[1] Casualty data provided by email from Virginie Auger, Associate Programme Officer, UNMAS, 30 March 2017; and by email from Elisa Pavon Mulero, Dales Voz a Las Victimas, 21 March 2017; and GICHD, “Anti-Vehicle Mine (AVM) Incidents map,” 2017.

[2] Berms are earthen walls about three meters high that Morocco built in 1982–1987 to secure the northwestern corner of Western Sahara.

[3] Morocco, Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016).,

[4] Email from Virginie Auger, UNMAS, 30 March 2017.

[5] Morocco, Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form I, April 2013.

[6] In the SADR, Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014, Form H the Polisario authorities reported a total of 1,413 people killed and injured by mines/ERW through April 2014. Polisario authorities cited the ASAVIM database as the source for their casualty data, though ASAVIM was unable to confirm the total reported by the Polisario authorities. Email from Awala Lehib, ASAVIM, 10 August 2014.

[7] Casualty data provided by email from Graeme Abernethy, Programme Manager, UNMAS, 6 February 2016.

[8] Email from Jonas Tappolet, MINURSO MACC, 4 June 2014.

[9] Email from Gaici Nah Bachir, Advisor, ASAVIM, 24 July 2013.


Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 17 December 2014

Victim assistance commitments

Western Sahara has a significant number of landmine survivors, cluster munition victims, and survivors of other explosive remnants of war (ERW) who are in need. The Polisario authorities signed Geneva Call’s “Deed of Commitment” in 2005 which obliges them to support humanitarian mine action activities, such as victim assistance among other commitments.[1] In 2014, the Polisario authorities submitted a voluntary Article 7 report to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “reaffirm its commitment to a total ban on cluster munitions as well as its willingness to accede to the [Convention] and to be bound by its provisions.”[2]

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2013

At least 2,500

Casualties in 2013

23 (2012: 40)

2013 casualties by outcome

1 killed; 22 injured (2012: 5 killed; 35 injured)

2013 casualties by item type

1 antipersonnel mine; 2 antivehicle mines; 1 cluster submunition; 4 ERW; 15 unknown explosive items

In 2013, the Monitor identified 23 mine/ERW casualties in Western Sahara.[3] Most (13) casualties were civilians; there were three casualties among security forces.[4] There was at least one child casualty; however, it is possible this number was much higher because the age and sex of the majority of the casualties recorded (19 of 23) were unknown. There were no confirmed female casualties.

The majority of casualties (19 or 83%) were in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara (west of the berm[5]) with the remainder occurring in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara, east of the berm. This was similar in percentage to 2012 when 35 of the 40 casualties identified occurred in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.

The 23 casualties identified in 2013 represented a significant decrease from the 40 casualties reported in 2012, although an increase compared with the 11 casualties report in 2011.[6] Casualty data is not comprehensive, making it difficult to determine clear casualty trends over time. [7]

The total number of mine/ERW casualties in Western Sahara is not known, although it was estimated in 2011 that there had been some 2,500 since 1975.[8] Morocco reported a total of 2,536 mine/ERW casualties, 831 persons killed and 1,705 injured, from 1975 to the end of 2012; it was not known how many of these occurred in Morocco versus Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.[9] As of August 2014, the Saharawi Association of Landmine Victims (ASAVIM) had collected detailed information on 1,006 victims of mines, cluster munitions, and other ERW who are living in and around the Rabouni refugee camps on the Algerian border with Western Sahara.[10] The Polisario authorities reported a total of 1,413 people killed and injured by mines/ERW through April 2014.[11]

Cluster munition casualties

A 14-year-old boy was injured by an unexploded submunition in September 2013.[12] As of July 2013, ASAVIM had identified 177 casualties of cluster munition remnants occurring between 1975 and 2012.[13]

Victim Assistance

As of August 2014, ASAVIM had collected data on 1,006 landmine and cluster munition victims (including some family members of persons killed) as well as 473 other war victims and persons with disabilities in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara.[14] From 1975 to the end of 2012, Morocco has reported a total of 1,705 mine/ERW survivors.[15] It is likely that most of these occurred in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.[16]

Victim assistance since 1999

Victim assistance in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara, extremely limited since monitoring began in 1999, is worsened by the fact that most survivors live in extreme poverty in refugee camps. A lack of public transportation in the region made it very difficult for survivors to access the limited services available. With the start of the Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) mine/ERW clearance program in 2006, AOAV began providing emergency aid and transportation in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara to complement a similar service provided by the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. However, given the vast and remote territory, emergency response and transportation remained inadequate.

The Chehid Cherif National Center for Mine and War Victims consistently provided basic medical care for war victims, including landmine survivors. The center also offered vocational training programs (when funding allowed), although demand for services consistently exceeded supply. All medical services in refugee camps were free but facilities lacked adequately trained staff and resources. Rehabilitation and prosthetics improved in 2008 and continued to be provided through 2013 with the start of an ICRC-supported program in the Rabouni rehabilitation center, serving Saharawi refugees from Polasario-controlled Western Sahara; before this, obtaining access to physical rehabilitation was virtually impossible as no services were available for those living in nearby refugee camps. International technical and financial assistance for physical rehabilitation decreased in 2011 as the ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled ceased providing support to the rehabilitation center in Laâyoune, in Morocco-controlled Western Sahara.

There was an acute lack of economic opportunities for survivors; psychological support in the camps was insufficient to address the needs of the population. ASAVIM was founded in 2005 to collect information about survivors and their needs, refer survivors to available services, and advocate on their behalf. There was no government coordination of victim assistance by Morocco during the period, but there was regular coordination between the Chehid Cherif Center and ASAVIM in the refugee camps and in Polasario-controlled Western Sahara.

Victim assistance in 2013

In August 2013, the Polisario authorities established the Sahrawi Mine Action Coordination Office (SMACO) to coordinate activities “related to landmines, demining and landmines victims.”[17] At the end of 2013, ASAVIM was awarded a grant by the ICBL-CMC’s Survivor Network Project (SNP) to provide peer support and referrals to survivors and other persons with disabilities and  to strengthen the network.

Assessing victim assistance needs

During 2013 and into 2014, ASAVIM continued to work in cooperation with the Polisario government to identify mine/ERW victims and other victims of armed conflict and to assess their needs. Collected data was added to the database established in 2012 by ASAVIM, with support from AOAV.[18] The Ministry of Defence shared their database on veterans with disabilities for inclusion in the survey.[19]

In order to improve victim assistance planning, coordination, and the provision of services, the results of the survey were shared with representatives of the Polisario government (including the ministries of social affairs, health, education, and cooperation), and also with survivors, the ICRC, and other international organizations such as the Spanish Red Cross, UNHCR, and MINURSO.[20] Data from the survey were included in the voluntary Article 7 report submitted by Polisario authorities to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[21]

Victim assistance coordination

SMACO, established by presidential decree in July 2013, is the national authority responsible for the coordination of all activities related to landmines and cluster munitions (including victim assistance) and has been designated as the national victim assistance focal point. The Polisario authorities also named ASAVIM as “an institution that is in charge of all questions related to mine victims such [as] compiling data about them and assessing their needs as well as finding ways for financing, educating and supporting them in all aspects of life.”[22]

In 2013 and into 2014, SMACO, ASAVIM, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Recruitment and Vocational Training, representatives of the legislature, and representatives of international organizations met to promote the rights of mine and ERW victims and to consider the drafting of a national law to protect these rights. A draft law was under consideration as of February 2014.[23]

Survivor participation and inclusion

Survivors, through ASAVIM, coordinated regularly with the Chehid Cherif Center and relevant Polisario government institutions in order to refer survivors to available services.[24] ASAVIM’s Secretary General, Aziz Buchar Haidar, himself a landmine survivor, headed the delegation of the Sahrawi Republic to a workshop on victim assistance held jointly by the African Union and the ICRC in March 2014.[25]

ASAVIM was involved in the ongoing implementation of data collection and needs assessment. ASAVIM and its survivor members also implemented an economic inclusion program, provided peer support, and carried out advocacy activities.[26]

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities[27]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2013

Chehid Cherif Landmine and War Victims Center

Public center (supported by Polisario authorities)

Medical attention, nutritional support and vocational training center; host for ICRC rehabilitation center; facilitated transportation to access services

Ongoing

Rabouni Hospital

Public hospital

Provided psychological assistance to mine/ERW survivors in nearby refugee camps

Ongoing

ASAVIM

Survivor Association in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara

Advocacy for victim assistance and for the inclusion of victims in existing development and training initiatives; needs assessment; economic inclusion; peer support and referrals

Continued the only ongoing needs assessment/data collection; strengthened peer support

Moroccan Association of Mine Victims (l’Association marocaine des victimes des mines)

Survivor Association in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara

Awareness of victims’ rights and risk education

Ongoing

AOAV

International NGO

Emergency response to mine/ERW incidents in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara; support to ASAVIM for survivor needs assessment, and support to the Chehid Cherif Center

Ongoing

ICRC

International organization

Support for physical rehabilitation at Rabouni Rehabilitation Center; outreach to refugee camps to identify beneficiaries and raise awareness of available services; referral system in hospitals; support for education for children of mine victims

Transferred main physical rehabilitation center from Noukheila to the Rabouni hospital, closer to refugee camps

UNHCR

International organization

Basic services for all refugees; emergency medical services and evacuation; support for vocational training for persons with disabilities

Ongoing

Emergency and ongoing medical care

MINURSO staff provided emergency response following mine incidents in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, while AOAV provided the same service in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara.[28] UNHCR’s medical unit also provided emergency medical services and casualty evacuation.[29]

However, in 2013 as in previous years, it was reported that emergency response times for people involved in mine/ERW incidents in remote areas could be several hours or even days, resulting in some casualties dying from their wounds before receiving medical attention.[30] Morocco reported having modern medical facilities where survivors could access services for free.[31]

Ongoing healthcare remained very limited and treatment for complex injuries or chronic conditions is scarce and in some cases non-existent. The ASAVIM/AOAV needs assessment found that 71% of survivors were in need of some form of medical attention and at least a quarter could not access the assistance they needed where they lived.[32]

Physical rehabilitation, including prosthetics

In 2013, the ICRC-run Rabouni Rehabilitation Center within the Chehid Cherif Center was transferred to the Rabouni hospital to be closer to refugee populations which it was serving in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara. The ICRC maintained its referral network with area hospitals and its outreach visits to refugee camps.[33]

There were also reported to be rehabilitation centers in two hospitals as well as in medical centers in each of the five refugee camps near Rabouni.[34] Among the survivors who were surveyed in 2012, 57% indicated the need for prosthetics or other mobility aids.[35]

Economic inclusion

In 2013, ASAVIM provided support to survivor cooperatives to support income-generating projects through a grant program launched in August 2012. ASAVIM had established a national project commission to monitor the implementation of the project. The commission included representatives from among several victim assistance stakeholders, including the ministries of social affairs and women’s promotion; cooperation; education; and defence. Cooperatives received training in project and business planning. At least 27 cooperatives had received support for their business proposals in 2013.[36]

A limited number of vocational training and income-generating programs were available to refugees in the area of the Rabouni refugee camps through the Polisario government and international organizations, such as UNHCR, including some targeting persons with disabilities.[37] However, in general survivors based in refugee camps were not aware of such programs.[38]

Just 15% of survivors surveyed by ASAVIM received financial assistance (which was very limited) in the form of a small pension for persons with severe disabilities referred to as “the encouragement,” provided by the Polisario authorities.[39] Survivors in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara were entitled to financial assistance from the Moroccan government; however, it was estimated in 2010 that about one in six survivors lacked the documentation needed to access this assistance, which was deemed insufficient to meet basic needs.[40] Morocco reported having government programs for the economic and social inclusion of these survivors.[41]

Psychological support

In 2013 and into 2014, ASAVIM increased the availability of psychological assistance by providing peer support, along with information on where to access services, while continuing to collect information on the needs of survivors. ASAVIM continued to provide such support on an ongoing basis through its office and during meetings of members.[42] Some psychological assistance was also available through the Rabouni hospital.[43] Many survivors did not know about psychological assistance services and have reported a complete absence of professional psychological support.[44]

Laws and policies

The Polisario constitution guarantees the rights of all Sahrawi citizens with special mention for the rights of “those wounded in war.”[45] In 2013, as a result of advocacy efforts by national associations including ASAVIM, discussions began among relevant government bodies to develop a draft law entitled the “National Law to Protect the Rights of Victims of Mines and Cluster Bombs.” As of February 2014, a complete draft was prepared and pending approval by the Polisario legislature.[46]

It was reported that medical care, rehabilitation, and economic inclusion programs that were relevant to mine/ERW survivors were implemented in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.[47]

 



[1] Since 1979, the Polisario authorities have been recognized by the UN as the representative of the people of Western Sahara. Geneva Call, “Western Sahara,” undated.

[2] Sahrawi Arabic Democratic Republic (SADR), Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014, Form H; and email from Awala Lehib, Director, ASAVIM, 10 August 2014.

[3] Email from Jonas Tappolet, Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) Officer, UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC), 4 June 2014.

[4] The civil status of seven casualties was unknown.

[5] Berms are earthen walls about three meters high that Morocco built in 1982–1987 to secure the northwestern corner of Western Sahara.

[6] 2012 casualty data provided by email from Karl Heinz Stierli, IMSMA Officer, MINURSO MACC, 24 June 2013; and Monitor media review 1 January 2012–31 December 2012.

[7] MINURSO, the principal source of information on casualties in Western Sahara, only began collecting casualty data in 2008 and for 2011 it did not include all of the casualties identified by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).

[8] AOAV, “Making life safer for the people of Western Sahara,” London, August 2011, p. 7; and Louise Orton, “Killed in Western Sahara by a bomb shaped like a ball,” BBC News (Western Sahara), 17 May 2011.

[9] Morocco did not make statements during Mine Ban Treaty meetings in 2013 or 2014 nor did it submit an Article 7 report for calendar year 2013. Statement of Morocco, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 24 May 2012; and Morocco reported 36 landmine casualties for 2012 (four people killed and 32 injured), all occurred in the areas of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form I, April 2013.

[10] Email from Awala Lehib, ASAVIM, 10 August 2014.

[11] Polisario authorities cited the ASAVIM database as the source for their casualty data though ASAVIM was unable to confirm the total reported by the Polisario authorities. SADR, Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014, Form H; and email from Awala Lehib, ASAVIM, 10 August 2014.

[12] Email from Jonas Tappolet, MINURSO MACC, 4 June 2014.

[13] A more updated figure was not available as of December 2014. Email from Gaici Nah Bachir, Advisor, ASAVIM, 24 July 2013.

[14] Email from Awala Lehib, ASAVIM, 10 August 2014.

[15] Morocco did not make statements during Mine Ban Treaty meetings in 2013 or 2014 nor did it submit an Article 7 report for calendar year 2013. Statement of Morocco, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 24 May 2012; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form I, April 2013.

[16] It is possible that some, though few, may have occurred in Morocco. Morocco does not collect data on casualties occurring in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara.

[17] SADR, Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014.

[18] By August 2014, the total number of people surveyed was 1,479. AOAV, “Understanding and Addressing Needs of Victims and Survivors of ERW in Western Sahara,” London, September 2012, p. 11; and email from Awala Lehib, ASAVIM, 10 August 2014.

[19] Email from Gaici Nah Bachir, ASAVIM, 24 July 2013.

[20] Email from Aziz Haidar, ASAVIM, 20 June 2012.

[21] SADR, Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014.

[22] Ibid., Form H.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.; and email from Awala Lehib, ASAVIM, 10 August 2014.

[25] ICBL-CMC’s SNP, “Survivor Leaders at Key ICRC African Union Meeting,” 5 March 2014.

[26] Email from Awala Lehib, ASAVIM, 10 August 2014.

[27] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, 2013; email from Awala Lehib, ASAVIM, 10 August 2014; SADR, Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014, Form H; and “Dakhla: Les mines antipersonnel font de nouvelles victims” (“Dakhla: Landmines are the cause of new victims”), Aujourd hui, 28 June 2013.

[28] SADR, Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014, Form H; and Ginevra Cucinotta, “Mine Action Activities in Western Sahara,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 14.3, Fall 2010.

[29]Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara” (New York: UN Security Council, 8 April 2013), S/2013/220, p. 9.

[30] Email from Gaici Nah Bachir, ASAVIM, 24 July 2013; and SADR, Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014, Form H.

[31] Statement of Morocco, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 24 May 2012.

[33] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, 2013.

[34] SADR Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014, Form H.

[36] Email from Gaici Nah Bachir, ASAVIM, 4 October 2013.

[37] Interview with Aziz Haidar, ASVIM, 23 February 2012; and “Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara” (New York: UN Security Council, 8 April 2013), S/2013/220, p. 13.

[38] Response to Monitor questionnaire from Gaici Nah Bachir, ASAVIM, 5 May 2012.

[40] John Thorne, “Western Sahara conflict’s explosive legacy,” The National (Smara), 8 May 2010.

[41] Statement of Morocco, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 24 May 2012.

[42] Email from Awala Lehib, ASAVIM, 10 August 2014.

[43] SADR, Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014, Form H.

[44] Response to Monitor questionnaire from Gaici Nah Bachir, ASAVIM, 5 May 2012.

[45] Article 41, Sahrawi Constitution, as quoted in SADR, Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014, Form H.

[46] SADR, Convention on Cluster Munitions voluntary Article 7 Report (reporting period 2005 to June 2014), submitted 16 June 2014, Form H.

[47] Ibid.