The Smashing Pumpkins music video for "Drum+Fife" is visually stunning and powerful. It brings light to the fact that wars don't end just because the guns fall silent and a peace agreement is signed.
Landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war continue to kill and maim years or decades after conflict while those who fought often return home with visible and invisible injuries only to be forgotten.
Since the video focuses on children passing through a mine field, let's look at the most recent statistics about landmine casualties. The Landmine Monitor 2014 has the most up to date information about the global landmine situation.
- In 2013, the Monitor reported 3,308 mine/ERW casualties of which 1,065 people were killed and another 2,218 people were injured.
- On average nine people are killed or injured by a landmine or other explosive remnants of war every day.
- Landmine casualties were reported in 55 states and other areas in 2013.
- Afghanistan reported the most casualties in 2013 (with 1,050 people killed or injured) and Colombia had the second highest number of casualties (368 people killed or injured)
- There were 1,112 child casualties in 2013 or 46% of all casualties.
- The majority of child casualties were from three countries - Afghanistan, Colombia and Syria.
- Globally women made up 12% of all landmine casualties.
- 79% of casualties in 2013 were civilians while security forces made up 18% and 3% were deminers.
While these figures are distressing they demonstrate a marked improvement compared to the situation before the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines. The Ottawa Treaty has led to an incredible decrease in the number of landmine casualties globally since it became international law in 1999 but there is still a long way to go. We need all states to join the Ottawa Treaty and commit to a mine free world. Learn more by visiting our website or www.the-monitor.org and support our work by donating online.
Erin Hunt, Programme Coordinator, Mines Action Canada.