The conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) has resulted in extensive landmine, cluster munition and other explosive remnant of war (ERW) contamination. Mines and ERW caused 864 casualties in Syria in 2015 while cluster munition strikes caused another 231 casualties. The contamination will continue to kill and maim people for decades.
At a time when global landmine contamination is dropping, MAC has been very concerned about increasing Syrian contamination.
Today we have some good news though, the Government of Canada announced a $4.5 million CDN contribution to Mayday Rescue to support the Syrian Civil Defence aka the White Helmets. In addition to the post-bombing search and rescue they are famous for, the White Helmets carry out risk education and explosive ordinance disposal/clearance operations in some of the most contaminated areas.
We hope that this support, following the September announcement of $12.5 Canadian over five years to mine clearance in Colombia, is the start of Canada's return to being a top-five donor to mine action. It is time that Canada reasserts its leadership on the Ottawa Treaty and on global efforts to eliminate the suffering caused by landmines, cluster munitions and other ERW.
Landmine report finds global casualties at 10-year high while clearance funding hits 10-year low; but progress toward a mine-free world continues
(Ottawa, ON, 22 November 2016): New use of antipersonnel mines by states is extremely rare due to the ongoing success of a ban treaty encompassing more than 80% of all countries. However, according to Landmine Monitor 2016, armed conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen created harsher conditions for the victims and contributed to a sharp spike in the number of people killed and injured in 2015 by mines, including improvised devices that are triggered in the same way, and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). This latest annual report of the Nobel Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) was released today.
“The decade-high number of new casualties caused by landmines and unexploded ordnance, and the continued suffering of civilians, more than a third of whom were children, proves again that these indiscriminate weapons should never be used by anyone,” said Loren Persi, casualties and victim assistance editor of Landmine Monitor. “Assistance is essential for those people and communities victimized by landmines in countries that were already struggling to meet their needs,” Persi added.
For calendar year 2015, the Monitor recorded 6,461 mine/ERW casualties, marking a 75% increase from the number of casualties recorded for 2014 and the highest recorded total since 2006 (6,573). The sharp increase is mainly attributed to more casualties recorded in armed conflicts in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. The increase also reflects greater availability of casualty data, particularly from unique systematic surveys of persons injured in Libya and Syria last year. The vast majority of recorded landmine/ERW casualties were civilians (78%) where their status was known—a finding similar to the high civilian casualty rate in previous years. Despite the overall increase, declining casualty rates were recorded in more states and areas (34) than were increases (31).
“At a time when casualties are increasing, it is worrying to find decreasing international and national support to clear mine-contaminated land and assist landmine victims,” said Jeff Abramson, program manager of the Monitor initiative and final editor of Landmine Monitor 2016.
Thirty-five donors contributed $340.1 million in international support for mine action to 41 states and three other areas—the first time since 2005 that international support fell below $400 million. Canadian funding increased C$2,985, 063 or 35%. Canada’s total funding of C$11,447,904 moves it back into the top ten donors to mine action, but is far short of the C$49.2 million in 2007.
Fourteen affected states reported providing $131.2 million in national support for their own mine action programs. Combined, donors and affected states contributed approximately US$471.3 million for mine action in 2015, a decrease of $139 million (23%) from 2014. 2015 was the lowest level since 2005.
In 2016, donors hosted three international pledging conferences, during which they committed resources to support mine action activities, especially in Colombia and Iraq, as well as the treaty’s implementation support unit in Geneva. Separately, new pledges were also announced for clearance efforts in Lao PDR. “Mine action” comprises the clearance of mined area, destruction of stockpiles of landmines, assistance to victims of landmine explosions, mine risk education, and advocacy.
“It is encouraging to see special pledges made this year to address funding issues, but it is too early to determine whether they will turn around the trend in declining support,” Abramson added.
Landmine use occurs in a limited number of countries, clearance continues
New use of antipersonnel mines by states remains a relatively rare phenomenon, with Myanmar, North Korea, and Syria—all states not party to the Mine Ban Treaty—again having the only government forces actively planting the weapons during the past year (October 2015 to October 2016). Over that time, non-state armed groups used antipersonnel mines, including victim-activated improvised mines, in at least 10 countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen, as well as Nigeria—the only country joining last year’s list.
The Mine Ban Treaty, which became international law in 1999 and today has 162 States Parties, bans the use of mines that detonate due to human contact, also known as “victim-activated,” and thereby encompasses improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that act as antipersonnel mines, also called improvised mines.
“The continued use of antipersonnel mines by non-state armed groups in today’s conflicts, particularly victim-activated improvised mines, flies in the face of the widespread international rejection of this weapon,” said Mark Hiznay, associate director of the arms division at Human Rights Watch and ban policy editor of Landmine Monitor.
In 2015, countries continued to make previously mined areas safe for use, reporting at least about 171 km2 of land cleared of landmines among the 60 countries (36 of which are treaty members) and four other sovereignty-disputed areas that are known to have mine contamination. As in recent years, the largest clearance of mined areas in 2015 was achieved in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Croatia, which together accounted for more than 70% of recorded clearance.
While 26 States Parties have completed their clearance obligations since the Mine Ban Treaty came into force in 1999, only four of the remaining States Parties appear to be on track to meet their treaty-mandated clearance deadlines (Algeria, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ecuador).
Ukraine is in violation of the Mine Ban Treaty due to missing its 1 June 2016 deadline for mine clearance without having requested a deadline extension.
In 2014, treaty members set a shared goal of completing landmine clearance by 2025. “This report’s findings should spur all states to commit the national and international resources necessary to achieve their collective ambition of creating a mine-free world by 2025,” said Abramson.
Additional key findings from the report include:
- The Monitor recorded but could not independently verify allegations of new mine use in States Parties Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Philippines, and Tunisia, or in states not party Iran and Saudi Arabia.
- The number of countries confirmed with mine contamination rose in 2015. The increase is due to new use of antipersonnel mines, including improvised mines, in Nigeria, and to the acquisition of new data on pre-existing contamination in Palau and Mozambique.
- The amount of land recorded as cleared of contamination (171 km2) in 2015 decreased from an estimated 201 km2 in 2014. It is not possible to attribute the 2015 decrease in clearance to a single cause, but the severe reduction in funding available for mine action probably played a major role.
- States Parties Niger and Palau are awaiting approval of landmine clearance extension requests at the Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, in November 2016.
- In 2015, children accounted for 38% of all civilian casualties where the age was known. Women and girls made up 14% of all casualties where the sex was known, a slight increase compared to recent years.
- Most States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty with significant numbers of mine victims suffered from a lack of adequate resources to fulfill the victim assistance commitments of the 2014–2019 Maputo Action Plan. Approximately two-thirds of these States Parties had active coordination mechanisms or relevant national plans in place to advance efforts to assist mine victims and uphold their rights.
- Collectively, States Parties have destroyed more than 51 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines, including more than 2.1 million destroyed in 2015.
- Belarus, Greece, and Ukraine remain in violation of the treaty after having failed to complete the destruction of their stockpiles by their four-year deadline.
- A de facto global ban on the state-to-state transfer of antipersonnel mines has been in effect since the mid-1990s, but the use of factory-produced antipersonnel mines in States Parties Yemen and Ukraine, where declared stockpiles had been destroyed, indicates that some illicit transfers have occurred either internally among actors or from sources external to the country.
- Down from a total of more than 50 producing states before the Mine Ban Treaty’s existence, currently only 11 countries are identified as potential producers, but just four are most likely to be actively producing, namely India, Myanmar, Pakistan, and South Korea.
About the Monitor:
Landmine Monitor 2016 is released by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in advance of the Mine Ban Treaty’s Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, taking place in Santiago, Chile, from 28 November–1 December. More detailed country-specific information is available in online country profiles, while the overviews in the report provide global analysis and findings. The report focuses on calendar year 2015, with information included up to November 2016 in some cases.
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor is the research arm of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines - Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC). The ICBL was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to eradicate landmines. The Monitor is coordinated by a Monitoring and Research Committee comprised of ICBL-CMC expert staff, research team leaders, and representatives of four non-governmental organizations: DanChurchAid, Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, and Mines Action Canada.
- Landmine Monitor 2016 landing page, including new maps - http://www.the-monitor.org/en-gb/reports/2016/landmine-monitor-2016.aspx
- Monitor factsheets - http://the-monitor.org/en-gb/our-research/factsheets/2016.aspx
- ICBL website - http://www.icbl.org/
- Mine Ban Treaty - http://www.apminebanconvention.org/
- Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor Twitter - https://twitter.com/MineMonitor
- Mines Action Canada Twitter - https://twitter.com/MinesActionCan
- Press Conference video
For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:
Twenty years ago today Canada’s then foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy issued a surprise challenge at an international conference in Ottawa. Minister Axworthy’s challenge led to an intense and unique diplomatic process that resulted in a ground-breaking treaty banning landmines.
The challenge was issued during the closing session of a three day conference on mine action held at the old downtown railway station in Ottawa that had been converted into a government conference centre. The conference was forward looking and didn’t focus on past failures to effectively address the global landmines crisis. It attracted representatives from 75 countries, international organizations and civil society. Few in attendance expected a consensus on a new treaty to emerge let alone Axworthy’s call for a treaty to ban landmines.
However, many accepted the surprise and unusual challenge and a very vigorous effort began to bring governments together to negotiate a new ban treaty. Canada and a small group of like-mined countries (such as Austria, Belgium, Mexico, Norway, South Africa) led the diplomatic efforts with the International Committee of the Red Cross and United Nations agencies adding their expertise while civil society under the leadership of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) brought the voices of affected communities and landmine survivors into the negotiations. It was an accelerated and inclusive effort that worked. That effort became known as the Ottawa Process and has been widely studied as a new form of international relations.
On December 3, 1997 more than 120 states came to Ottawa to sign the resulting treaty that combined humanitarian and disarmament components into a comprehensive ban on landmines. The treaty signing happened a little less than 14 months after Lloyd Axworthy issued his challenge. Commonly known as the Ottawa Convention or Mine Ban Treaty it has been very successful to date. It is humbling to think of the results of that surprise announcement in a converted train station in our national capital 20 years ago today: countless lives and limbs have been saved, survivors around the world have access to services to live their lives in dignity and thousands of square kilometres of land has been cleared of mines.
Mines Action Canada was at that conference 20 years ago and we are still here working to ensure the Ottawa Treaty achieves its ultimate goal of a landmine free world. We hope you will join us in commemorating this significant event and the remarkable achievements that have resulted from it.
Over the next 20 days on our website and Facebook page, through social media on our Twitter and Instagram accounts and via emails, we’ll periodically share our thoughts on why this was such an important moment in time. We hope you will find it interesting and informative, maybe even inspirational
We were there 20 years ago, we’re here now and we want to finish the job. To do that we’ll need your help.
During this 20 day period we’re hoping at least 20 new donors will join us. Will one of them be you?
If you have supported us in the past perhaps you’d like to make a one-time contribution of $20.00 or more to mark this 20th anniversary.
The promise of a mine-free world began with a surprise on October 5, 1996. After 20 years of hard work we have never been closer to a world without landmines. Let’s make it a reality.
On December 8th 2005, the United Nations General Assembly declared April 4th the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness on mine action and remind the population of the danger that landmines pose all over the world. It is also an opportunity to highlight all the exceptional work that mine action personnel and advocacy groups do around the world; and to point out that dealing with explosive hazards are only one aspect of mine action work. It is also a moment for the United Nation to reaffirm its partnership with states, non-states actors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) to eradicate all anti-personnel landmines across the globe. This year the ICBL is using the slogan: “Finish the Job 2025” and the United Nations official theme of International Mine Action Day is “Mine action is humanitarian action”. Let’s look at both of those themes.
Finish the Job 2025
In 2014, capitalizing on the momentum provided by the Third Review Conference of the Ottawa Treaty in Maputo, the ICBL challenged the international community to fulfill the promises of the Treaty and to realize a mine free world by 2025. The states present at the Review Conference adopted the Maputo Declaration which set the same goal.
The Ottawa Treaty or as it is often called, the Mine Ban Treaty, was signed in Ottawa in 1997 and entered into law in 1999. It is one of the world's most endorsed treaties. Over 80% of world's countries have committed to it. This universalization of the treaty helps reinforce the stigma now associated with the use of landmines; and this tactic is obviously working. To see the success in action we looked at Landmine Monitor 2005 which identified 6,521 new landmine/UXO casualties in calendar year 2004. The Landmine Monitor 2015 identified 3,678 new casualties in calendar year 2014, the second lowest number of casualties since 1999. The drop in casualties alone between 2005 and 2015 is worth celebrating but there are more successes that show it is possible to Finish the Job by 2025.
In the year the Ottawa Treaty became binding international law, there were 45 states parties. Fifteen years later, we have 162 states parties and Sri Lanka has announced they will soon be #163.
Finish the Job 2025 calls for complete worldwide mine clearance by 2025. An ambitious objective, even by NGO standards, but the ICBL strongly believe that with political determination and commitment from the mine ban community, the States Parties of the Mine Ban Treaty are more than capable of fulfilling their obligations within the next decade. As you noted above, the Ottawa Treaty has made excellent progress over the past ten years and we hope to see similar progress over the next ten. The International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action provides an excellent opportunity for the international community to stress to decisions makers the important of fulfilling that objective. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared: "Eliminating the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war is a crucially important endeavour that advances peace, enables development, supports nations in transition and saves lives.”
Mine action is humanitarian action
Mine action is not only about the danger of dealing with explosives, more importantly it is about providing hope and a chance at a better life to thousands of civilians. As the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon affirmed:
“...mine action programmes make an invaluable contribution to post-conflict recovery, humanitarian relief efforts, peace operations and development initiatives. They prevent landmines and other explosive ordnance from causing further indiscriminate harm long after conflicts have ended, and help to transform danger zones into productive land. Mine action sets communities on course toward lasting stability.”
Contamination by landmines and explosive remnants of war prevent civilians from accessing basic necessities such as drinking water. Contaminated lands and farms cripple development of agriculture exacerbating poverty. Thanks to landmine clearance and the hard work of mine action personnel, now communities in the Battambang province in Cambodia can grow produce on their farms and sell them to local markets; while the city of Bentiu in South Sudan now have access to safe drinking water since the local borehole has been cleared of explosive remnants of war.
Mine action also plays a crucial role in relief efforts. For example, in 2014, the World Food Program initiated a project to build a road in South Sudan so that humanitarian assistance could be delivered by road to villages affected by the ongoing conflict. It is estimated that approximately 2.5 millions of South Sudanese were in need of food assistance at that time. However, during the first few days of the project, a bulldozer hit a anti-tank mine. The project had to be suspended while the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) cleared the area of remaining explosive hazards. The team cleared close to 27,000 km of road, allowing vital humanitarian assistance to reach those in need; saving countless lives.
The work that mine action staff do has a concrete and direct impact on the lives of millions of civilians affected by conflict. Every day, countless lives are saved and changed for the better by mine action whether is clearance of land, risk education, assistance to victims or advocacy. One can only hope that in the near future the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action be a day of remembrance of what used to be.
Jean-Philippe Lambert Ste Marie is an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa and a Mines Action Canada research assistant.
Next Tuesday, April 4th, is the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, as declared by the UN General Assembly in December 2005.
The theme chosen this year is “Mine action is humanitarian action.”
Significant progress has been made since this day was first established, with multiple organisations and governments showing an increased effort to deal with this problem quickly and efficiently.
In fact, today, 162 states are now party to the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines and in 2014 international support for mine action reached $416.8 million (US).
However, while this is a considerable achievement, there remains a significant amount of work to be done. Every day an estimated 10 people are killed or injured by landmines or explosive remnants of war.
Further, there remain 35 countries outside of the Ottawa Teaty and 60 states and areas which are still contaminated by landmines or explosive remnants of war. This means that in 60 areas around the world parents are frightened to send their children to school, people put themselves at risk daily simply by leaving their homes and many people struggle to rebuild their lives after surviving a landmine incident. Just yesterday, three Syrian boys were killed by a landmine they thought was a toy.
In light of this, the issue of landmine and explosive weapons contamination must be addressed through a humanitarian lens, because it is individual people who must face the very real danger of having their lives, or the life of a family member cut tragically short as a result of wars and conflict that they themselves had nothing to do with. With April 4th fast approaching, we have another opportunity to recommit ourselves to ending the suffering caused by landmines and to remind the international community that mine action is humanitarian action.
Claudia Pearson is an undergraduate student at the University of Leeds currently on exchange at the University of Ottawa.
On 3 March 2016, the Sri Lankan government finally approved accession to the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. Sri Lanka will soon be the 163rd state party to the Mine Ban Treaty, as it is also known.
Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva stated, “We decided to sign the Ottawa Convention because we have no intention of going to war again.”
Sri Lanka’s ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty is a significant step that should greatly accelerate the process of mine clearance. Now, neither the government, nor any non-state actors, can exacerbate the problem any further.
Ambassador Aryasinha, the Sri Lankan representative to the United Nations speaking at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on March 2, announced that the government wishes Sri Lanka to be a mine free country by the year 2020, and that a strategic plan is currently in the making to achieve this goal.
The Extent of Contamination in Sri Lanka
Three decades of armed conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tamil Tigers left behind extensive mine and ERW contamination. The conflict came to an end in 2009, by which time it is estimated that approximately 300,000 people had been displaced.
Following the war, almost 2,064 acres of land had been contaminated and were in urgent need of clearance before displaced persons could return to their homes.
While the government decided only days ago to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty, work has been underway for some time to combat the issue of contamination. For example, in July 2010, a National Mine Action Centre was created. It has become the government's lead agency in national demining efforts.
Furthermore, it was reported that in 2014, a number of NGOs conducted demining activities in Sri Lanka. This included a Sri Lankan non-profit, Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH), as well as two international NGOs – the Halo Trust, and Mines Advisory Group (MAG).
The work of these various organisations has had a significant impact, and as of December 2015, 2,000 acres of land had been cleared.
With the combination of the Sri Lankan government’s acceptance of the Mine Ban Treaty, and the significant progress that has already been made in terms of clearance, it seems extremely likely that by 2020, Sri Lanka will achieve its goal of being a mine free country.
Mines Action Canada welcomes this decision by the Sri Lankan government and thanks our colleagues in the Sri Lankan Campaign to Ban Landmines for their years of hard work to make this a reality.
This post is the first in a series by MAC student interns.
Claudia Pearson is an undergraduate student at University of Leeds currently on exchange in Ottawa.
Mines Action Canada welcomes today’s statement by the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs that recommitted Canada to achieving a mine-free world by 2025 and expressed support for the universalization of the treaty banning landmines. Minister Dion called on states to summon the same courage that landmine survivors demonstrate daily in order to achieve the goal of a world without landmines by 2025. Minister Dion made the statement in Geneva at the First International Pledging Conference of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. Commonly known as the Ottawa Treaty it bans the use, transfer, production and stockpiling of anti-personnel landmines.
“More than 80% of the world’s states belong to the Ottawa Treaty and more than 49 million mines have been destroyed by landmines because of the treaty” said Paul Hannon, Executive Director of Mines Action Canada. “This life-saving treaty is working, but much work remains. We are pleased to see the Government engaged again at such a high level. Canada’s leadership is very important”
The Pledging Conference was organized by Chile which currently holds the Presidency of the treaty. Minister Dion appeared on a high-level panel with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan; Peter Maurer, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross; the Foreign Ministers of Chile and Colombia; as well as, Ms. Tammy Hall, a Canadian who is Head of Demining of the Danish Demining Group and Mr. Firoz Alizada, Campaigns and Communications Manager of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
This statement comes one day after the 17th anniversary of the Ottawa Treaty becoming international law. Over the past 17 years, the Ottawa Treaty has resulted in a dramatic drop in number of new casualties, nearly 30 affected countries have become free from the scourge of landmines, and the stigma on landmines continues to hold strong. With this statement, Minister Dion reaffirms Canada’s dedication and leadership in implementing the steps necessary to realize a mine-free world by 2025.
The Minister’s statement was not the only big news of the Pledging Conference. The Sri Lankan Ambassador announced that Sri Lanka’s cabinet approved accession to the Ottawa Treaty this morning meaning that Sri Lanka will be to acceding to the treaty before the end of the year. With this exciting announcement, Sri Lanka will soon be the 163rd State Party to the Ottawa Treaty.
“Mines Action Canada looks forward to welcoming Sri Lanka to the Mine Ban Treaty. As a mine-affected country, Sri Lanka knows all too well the humanitarian harm caused by these horrific weapons,” said Erin Hunt, Program Coordinator. “Sri Lanka’s announcement is another step towards a mine-free world and should serve as a call to neighbouring states that it is time to ban landmines.”
The Pledging Conference also saw strong statements and funding announcements by Australia, Cambodia, Finland, Jordan, Thailand, and more than 25 other states. Mines Action Canada looks forward to working with the Government of Canada and partners around the world in achieving a world without landmines.
After Hungary closed its border to refugees, there have been reports that refugees are starting to seek a new route to safety through Croatia.
After escaping cluster munitions, barrel bombs, shelling, suicide bombings and long term conflict, minefields left over from the 1990s threaten the refugees.
Before we talk more about this issue, some landmine safety notes for anyone travelling through Croatia (Google translated into Arabic).
- Stay on roads (البقاء على الطرق)
- The UN has a mine risk education app (وللامم المتحدة التطبيق للتوعية بمخاطر الألغام)
- Apple (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id720063438)
- Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.eigo.unmas)
- Pay attention to warning signs (إيلاء الاهتمام لعلامات التحذير)
- Visit the Croatian Mine Action Centre map website to see where minefields could be located (زيارة الموقع مركز للأعمال المتعلقة بالألغام الكرواتي لنرى أين يمكن أن تقع حقول الألغام): https://misportal.hcr.hr/HCRweb/faces/simple/Map.jspx.
- The Croatian Mine Action Centre appeals to all citizens and travellers (مركز مكافحة الألغام الكرواتية تناشد جميع المواطنين والمسافرين):
- DO NOT ENTER MINE SUSPECTED AREAS
- ADHERE TO MINE WARNING SIGNS
- DO NOT REMOVE MINE WARNING SIGNS – BE RESPONSIBLE TOWARDS OTHER PEOPLE
- DO NOT TOUCH UNKNOWN OBJECTS AND EXPLOSIVE REMNANTS OF WAR
- MARK THE LOCATION OF MINE AND UXO DETECTION AND INFORM THE POLICE; CALL 192
- INFORM THE URGENT ASSISTANCE SYSTEM AT 112
- AVOID RISKY BEHAVIOUR – CALL FOR HELP
- LEAVE DEMINING TO EXPERTS!
- لا تدخل لغم أرضي المناطق المشتبه
- تلتزم شركتى علامات التحذير
- لا تزيل الألغام الأرضية علامات التحذير - يكون مسؤولا تجاه الآخرين
- لا تمس أجسام مجهولة والمتفجرات من مخلفات الحرب
- تشير إلى موقع الألغام الأرضية والذخائر غير المنفجرة الكشف وإبلاغ الشرطة. استدعاء 192
- إعلام النظام إلى مساعدة عاجلة في 112
- تجنب السلوك المحفوف بالمخاطر - طلب المساعدة
- اترك إزالة الألغام للخبراء!)
Croatia is not the only place where landmines threaten refugees as they attempt to find safety. To make things easier, we will focus on the impact of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) on Syrian refugees but the Landmine Monitor has a factsheet on landmines/ERW, refugees and displacement that covers the issue globally.
The border between Turkey and Syria has large minefields which have caused numerous casualties among those fleeing Syria. There are reports of displaced persons living in the minefield between Turkey and Syria. Refugees in Iraq and Lebanon face threats from landmine and ERW as well. Recently, we have heard reports of Syrian refugees being killed and injured by cluster munitions in Lebanon.
While solving some of the conflicts that are driving the current refugee crisis may be slow and incredibly difficult, we can make the road to safety much more secure. A priority must be to fund mine clearance along borders and near refugee camps and settlements. Today Croatia started moving mine clearance teams to the borders to help prevent casualties. Funding this sort of emergency clearance operations is something Canada should be doing - it is an effective way of saving lives and helping live up to our obligations under the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines. No one should risk death or disability as they seek safety. In addition, emergency risk education is ongoing among refugee communities but it could be scaled up dramatically with increased funding.
There is no debate that clearing minefields can save the lives of refugees now and into the future. It must be a priority.
Map from the Croatian Mine Action Centre of mine fields near the Serbian border.
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.