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International Day of Mine Awareness and Mine Action
an article by International Campaign to Ban Land Mines

Members of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) in close to 50 countries around the world today (April 4) are calling on states to put an end to the use of landmines and cluster munitions immediately and to address their deadly legacy.



click on photo to enlarge

“The use of both these banned weapons recently by Syrian government forces, causing large numbers of civilian casualties, clearly demonstrates why these weapons are being consigned to the ash heap of history,” said Sylvie Brigot-Vilain, Executive Director of the ICBL-CMC. “The remaining hold-out countries should join the two treaties comprehensively banning these weapons now,” she added.

The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions have been highly successful in addressing and reducing the threat to individuals and communities worldwide from these banned weapons. There are 161 States Parties and one signatory to the Mine Ban Treaty to date while 111 states have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, of which 80 are full States Parties (including three new additions this year and one in the past week – Chad).

Thanks to the treaties many hundreds of square kilometers of previously infested land have been cleared and more than 46 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines and 750,000 cluster munitions containing 85 million submunitions have been destroyed. Most importantly, the number of new casualties caused by these weapons each year has dropped dramatically to fewer than 5,000 recorded cases.

Still, every day on average 12 people are killed or maimed by these weapons. Some 60 states and 6 areas worldwide are still affected by contamination from landmines and cluster munitions and victims still struggle in many affected countries to access assistance and services. Thirty-five countries remain outside of the Mine Ban Treaty and 86 outside of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

To push for more action by states, ICBL and CMC campaigners from Afghanistan to Zambia have organized public outreach events from 1 March to 4 April as part of global “Lend Your Leg” activities. The idea of rolling up a pants leg on 4 April in solidarity with victims was launched by Colombian NGO Fundación Arcángeles in 2011 to call attention to the issue of landmines and their devastating effect on communities in Colombia, and throughout the world (in 2012).

In 2013 campaigns worldwide mobilized celebrities, survivors, officials and the public calling on states to: initiate and/or speed up land clearance efforts; fully implement victim assistance legislation to improve access to services; destroy weapons stockpiles; and join the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. A full listing of national campaigns can be seen here.

DISCUSSION

Question(s) related to this article:


Can land mines be completely abolished?,

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This discussion question applies to the following articles:

12th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty
Nations should step-up Humanitarian Disarmament
International Day of Mine Awareness and Mine Action
Dramatic drop in landmine casualties
Mozambique: Landmine Clearance Success Shows a Mine-Free World is Possible
Kofi Annan, Foreign Ministers Pledge Support for a Mine-Free World by 2025
Celebrating our success in 2016; Supporting ICBL-CMC Efforts in 2017


This report was posted on April 22, 2013.