Friday, December 29, 2006

Moroccan army clears landmines in Senegal

If the usually shady Maghreb Arab Press can be trusted, 100 Moroccan soldiers are in Senegal clearing landmines left over from that country's civil war. Good for you, Morocco.

According to Wikipedia, the region the Moroccans are based in, Casamance, has a Sahrawi style low-level civil war. I'm not familiar with the merits of Casamance independence, but whatever they are, it's good that Moroccans are helping to clear the landmines.

I hope these Moroccan experts stay in the service long enough to clear the 100,000 square kilometers of Western Saharan land that may have been sown with landmines.

But while we wait for that, it's heartening to see Morocco use its expertise at sub-Saharan intervention for a noble goal.


  1. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Morocco has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. It was one of twenty countries to abstain on the vote on UN General Assembly Resolution 54/54 B in support of the Mine Ban Treaty in December 1999. Morocco explained its abstention by saying that "it could not become a signatory for the time being, due to security issues in its southern province [Western Sahara]."
    There are about 100 million anti-personnel mines spread around the world; over one million of them are found in Western Sahara. The biggest concentration of landmines in Western Sahara is found along the defensive berm built by the Moroccan Army. This berm divides Western Sahara in two parts, one controlled by Morocco and the other by the Polisario Front. The red line in the map shows the approximate location of the defensive wall.
    On 22 October 2005, the Saharawi Association of the Victims of Mines (SAVM) was created to provide support to mine survivors and to raise awareness. The association is based in the Chedid Chreif Center and all its members are mine survivors. Its draft work plan aims to refer mine survivors to medical and rehabilitation care, provide psychosocial support and liaise with authorities and NGOs to create vocational training and capacity-building opportunities, as well as raising awareness for the rights of persons with disabilities in Western Sahara and internationally.[64]
    The French NGO Triangle has provided assistance to people with disabilities in the Dakhla refugee camp for Saharawi people. Services include several community and welcome centers, awareness raising and education.[65]
    Some Spanish and Italian NGOs reportedly have provided funding for artificial limbs for amputees in Western Sahara. On occasion, mine survivors accompany children participating in summer camps in Spain as guardians, and are provided with prosthetic devices when possible. In 2005, eight mine survivors, including one woman, received a prosthetic device in this way. Organizations providing this support are the Catalunia Association of Solidarity with the Saharawi People and the Murcia Association of Solidarity with the People of Western Sahara.[66]
    Since 2005, the Moroccan Association of Mine Victims active in Smara, Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, has collected casualty information, raised awareness on the rights of mine survivors and advocated for their reintegration into society, in cooperation with other organizations. However, the organization does not have the funds to implement reintegration and assistance projects.[6

    Source: Associated Press, and

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