Landmines—a deadly, disabling threat to humanity

Landmines—a deadly, disabling threat to humanity

Antipersonnel landmines are explosive devices designed to injure or kill

They are placed under, on or near the ground, where they lie hidden for years or even decades until a person or an animal sets them off. They cannot discriminate between the step of a child or a soldier. 

Landmines wound and kill wound indiscriminately, posing a severe risk to civilian populations, peacekeepers and aid workers—sometimes decades after a conflict has ended.

Urgent: Demand the U.S. to stop using landmines

164 countries—including every other member of NATO—have signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. In 1997, the U.S. participated in the Ottawa process to ban landmines, but never adopted or signed it.

Through a 2014 policy, the Obama administration banned the U.S. military from using landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula. The Trump administration undid that policy in 2020.

In June 2022, the Biden administration reversed the Trump policy, maintaining the exception for use of landmines on the Korean Peninsula. Join us in urging President Biden to go one step further and join the Mine Ban Treaty. Sign our petition NOW.

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71% of landmine survivors are civilians

Year after year, Landmine Monitor reports that civilians account for 70 to 85 percent of casualties. Landmines are still killing and maiming ordinary people every day. This is not just during a conflict–most of the countries where casualties are reported are no longer at war.

Thanks to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, landmine use has dropped dramatically in recent years. However, more than 75 countries and territories remain polluted by landmines and/or explosive remnants of war. The weapon poses a significant and lasting threat to communities living in contaminated areas.

Antipersonnel landmines were used systematically in international and internal conflicts from the Second World War onwards. Originally intended to protect anti-tank minefields from removal by enemy soldiers, the weapons were designed to maim rather than kill an enemy soldier, with the idea that more resources are taken up on the battlefield in caring for an injured soldier than dealing with a dead soldier.

Due to their low cost and perceived high effectiveness, landmines became increasingly popular weapons. From the 1970s, they were used as offensive weapons to terrorize civilian populations, denying communities access to their farmland and restricting population movement.

Three photos, left to right: 1) A donor with Humanity & Inclusion in Laos scans the ground with a metal detector. 2) Sanaullah, 5, stands tall on his prosthetic limb after receiving vital rehabilitation care from Humanity & Inclusion's team in Afghanistan. 3) A female member of Humanity & Inclusion's risk education team in Iraq teaches Iraqi children how to spot, avoid, and report any weapons they may find.

Decades of campaigning to protect civilians

Humanity & Inclusion was created in 1982 in response to the horrific landmine injuries suffered by Cambodian refugees. Soon, we realized that action needed to be taken at an international level to ban these indiscriminate weapons.

Humanity & Inclusion played a key role in founding the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, for which we were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, following the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997.

We are a founding member of the Cluster Munition Coalition, and we actively support the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which came into effect on August 1, 2010.

Humanity & Inclusion is also a founder and coordinating member of Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which monitors these two international treaties and produces annual reports on their implementation. And we are a founding member of the International Network on Explosive Weapons.

We act and campaign in places where "standing tall" is no easy task

Over the years, Humanity & Inclusion has evolved into the world's most comprehensive mine action organization, working to prevent accidents through education and clearance, and to support the victims.

When you support Humanity & Inclusion, you help: 

  • Ensure landmine victims can recover from their injuries both physically and mentally;
  • Clear landmines and other explosive remnants of war so that families can live without fear, in safety;
  • Educate the local population, especially children, how to spot, avoid, and report the weapons they find.

Please help victims of landmines. Make a gift today.