Egypt has been believed to be a landmine producer and has
denied signature to the Ottawa Treaty. Although Egypt agrees with the
"ultimate goal" of eliminating mines, it believes in the
"responsible use" of mines. The country’s principle
objection to the treaty is that it does not make countries that laid the
landmines responsible for removing them. Both Britain and Germany have
given some money towards mine clearance. Egyptian officials believe that
an estimated $200 million (U.S.) is needed to clear the country of
mines. Officials also argue that AP mines are a legitimate form of self
defense when used responsibly, and Egypt states that if it agrees to
sign the ban on landmines, then an alternative to the weapons must be
Significant victims and casualties have been reported
in past years. During 2001, 12 victims were reported, including five
deaths. This figure proves a decrease in victims, as 37 victims (14
killed/23 injured) were reported in 1999 and 33 (13 killed/20 injured)
in 1998. Reports indicate that the majority of serious injuries to
civilians occurred in the eastern regions, from mines planted during the
war with Israel, not during the conflict during WWII.
Cairo announced the establishment of a center for
combating mines and removing more than 23 million mines planted in
Egypt. This center constitutes the first civilian attempt in the region
to combat the danger of mines and prevent their use and manufacture.
Since 1948, various Egyptian demining operations have been undertaken,
resulting in approximately 20 percent of the former contaminated areas
now considered clear. Seven million mines have been cleared from the
western desert in the past 15 years and three million from the Sinai
desert. Egypt has set the year 2006 as the target for finally ridding
the area of landmines, but it is not prepared to independently pay for
and carry out the huge task.
Over the years, thousands of detainees held in police
stations in connection with criminal investigations have been subjected
to torture and ill treatment. These incidents are widespread and
indiscriminate, and include women, children and the elderly.