The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) launched the Landmine Monitor 2014 today, reporting on worldwide progress in clearing antipersonnel mines and providing assistance to victims. The report covers 2013, and confirms a significant decrease in casualties of landmines and other explosive remnants of war. Handicap International, as an ICBL co-founder and member, stresses that much remains to be done, in particular when it comes to addressing the needs of victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war.
"More and more countries are being declared free of mines,” said Marion Libertucci, Head of Advocacy for Handicap International. “Of course, we are extremely satisfied to see that the Treaty is having an impact on the ground through mine clearance operations, positively contributing to reducing the risk of mine/ERW accidents and improving the quality of life of people living in mine/ERW affected communities.
“We need to remember, however, that mine-free does not mean victim-free. As such, victims should not be forgotten at a time when more and more countries are reaching their obligations in terms of clearance. People who are permanently impaired as a result of a mine/ERW accident need our support, especially to access their human rights on an equal basis with others.
As more countries are declared free of mines, providing assistance for victims in the limited context of disarmament treaties, such as the Mine Ban Treaty, is not enough and integrating victim assistance into development and human rights frameworks is essential if we want to see the rights of mine survivors fully recognized and upheld.
"The Landmine Monitor Report 2014 finds that despite obvious progress, much remains to be done”, Libertucci added. “We ask governments in countries affected by mine/ERW problems to address the needs of survivors of mines/ERW through effective national policies, and programs to assure the equal participation of all people with disabilities.”
Mines/ERW do not only cause physical injuries and impairments. They harm entire communities by making their environment inaccessible and preventing people from going about their day-to-day activities, whether collecting water, farming, or walking to school. Mine/ERW contamination still poses an ongoing threat in far too many communities, rendering access to water and public infrastructure a threat to life and limb, as well as also blocking the overall development of countries affected by mines/ERW. Continued support, both for clearance operations and the many survivors and indirect victims is vital to make a positive and sustainable impact on quality of life.
Landmine Monitor 2014
According to the 2014 report, landmines caused fewer casualties in 2013 compared to previous years. Last year, landmine explosions resulted in 3,308 casualties—the lowest figure since 1999, when the Landmine Monitor published its first report. The victims were mostly civilians (79%), and among them 1,065 people died.
- The use of landmines has almost completely disappeared. This trend indicates that the Ottawa Treaty has been a success.
- The treaty counts 162 States Parties. Only 35 states have not signed the agreement. The latest violation of the treaty by one of its members dates to 2011, and concerns Yemen. Observers have reported the existence of stockpiles relating to the conflict between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels. Ukraine is a State Party to the treaty.
- Almost 50 million antipersonnel landmines have been destroyed since 1999.
- The United States announced in June 2014, that it was putting an end to the production and acquisition of anti-personnel mines, saying it would work to comply with the Ottawa Convention in order to eventually join it. In September, the U.S. also announced that it would stop using anti-personnel mines (except on the Korean Peninsula) and would destroy its stockpiles.
- During the last ten years, very few mines have been transferred globally. The use of landmines was reported in Sudan and Yemen, however, indicating a residual form of the market.
- However, 56 states, including 32 States Parties to the Treaty, are still contaminated with landmines. Of these, 40 are in a position to clear their territory of mines within a four-year period.
- At the Maputo Conference in June 2014, the States Parties have set the goal of clearing the world of anti-personnel mines by 2025.
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor
The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor is a research group which is part of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC). 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, including Handicap International. The ICBL, together with Handicap International, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.