What are landmines?
Landmines are weight-triggered explosive devices contained in casings of metal, plastic or wood that are placed under or on the ground and intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact.
Anti-Personnel Mines (APL): Anti-personnel mines are designed to kill or injure an individual as opposed to destroying vehicles. Anti-personnel mines explode from the contact or presence of a person. They are often designed to injure rather than kill, causing injuries like blindness, burns, destroyed limbs and shrapnel wounds. Some types of anti-personnel mines can also damage the tracks or wheels of armored vehicles.
Anti-Tank Mines: Anti-tank mines were created not long after the invention of the tank in the First World War. They set off when a tank passes over and are designed to immobilize or destroy vehicles and their occupants. Anti-tank mines are typically larger than anti-personnel mines and require more pressure to detonate.
What are the problems with this weapon?
The Landmine Crisis is a Global One. Landmines are indiscriminate weapons that maim or kill civilians every year. There are between 70 and 80 million landmines in the ground in one-third of the world's nations. The presence of landmines threatens people’s lives, and also prevents much-needed economic growth and development. Long after wars are over, landmines make land unusable for farming, schools or living, preventing people from rebuilding lives torn apart by conflict.
Why is a ban on landmines necessary?
Since 1945, landmines have been used throughout the world in wars of liberation, civil wars, and local conflicts, with a devastating impact on economic and political reconstruction. Landmines demoralize survivors as well as their families and communities, impeding the process of peace and reconciliation. Because they lurk undetectably in the ground, population movement is restricted, land cannot be cultivated, roads and bridges cannot be rebuilt and refugees cannot return to their homes. Survivors of landmine accidents often cannot work at their previous jobs and require retraining. Without a strong workforce, the pace of reconstruction slows.
For poor countries, clearing landmines places an additional burden on already meager resources. It costs from $300 to $1,000 to locate and destroy a single landmine. This is not the only expense. It costs $100 to $3,000 to provide an artificial limb to a landmine survivor. An adult must replace a prosthesis every two to three years and a child must have a new one every six months to a year.
Landmine Monitor is a unique and unprecedented civil society based reporting network to systematically monitor and document nations' compliance with the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the humanitarian response to the global landmine crisis. This initiative was established in June 1998 by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and is coordinated by a core group of five non-governmental organizations. By collecting and analyzing data relating to antipersonnel mines, Landmine Monitor aims to evaluate the overall progress of the international community in eradicating this insidious weapon and by doing so improve the lives of those living at risk in mine affected communities.
Latest News from USCBL
Check out the great trailer below from our friends at "The Eyes of Thailand."
"The Eyes of Thailand" tells the amazing and heroic true story of Soraida Salwala, a passionate woman who dedicated ten years of her life to help two elephant landmine survivors walk again. Treating their wounds was only part of their journey; building elephant-sized prostheses was another. For more information go to www.eyesofthailand.com.
Watch the 2012 Lend Your Leg Video Here!
For more on the Mine Ban Treaty, go to www.icbl.org
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