Deadly, treacherous, and internationally banned: landmines. According to the Landmine Monitor, thousands of people fell victim to these weapons last year.
Landmine Monitor 2022 reports multiple landmine victims for the seventh year in a row. The report, presented Thursday in Geneva, lists a total of 5,544 victims of mines and explosive remnants of warfare in 2021, including 2,181 deaths. Three-quarters of the victims were civilians, about 1,700 children.
People have been injured or killed in all 50 states and other territories. Syria recorded the highest death toll (1,227) for the third year in a row, followed by Afghanistan (1,074). Other countries with more than 100 registered victims were Colombia, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria and Yemen.
Landmines are usually the size of the palm of your hand and can be deployed over large areas by rockets from the ground or from the air. They lie on the ground and explode when someone approaches or steps on them.
Handicap International calls for implementation of landmine ban
Humanitarian organization Handicap International is calling on the international community to urge the conflicting parties to renounce these weapons, marking the 25th anniversary of the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines. In addition, funding for victim support should be increased; Despite increasing demand, it has recently declined.
The renewed use of anti-personnel mines is a setback, according to Handicap International. People in affected countries will have to live with the threat of mines and garbage for decades.
“Contracting states should be more involved and implement the convention consistently,” said Eva Maria Fischer, head of the political department of Handicap International Germany.
Mine report: Russia uses banned weapons
Landmine Monitor 2022 records the implementation of the Ottawa Convention, which prohibits the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines. It is based on data collected from non-governmental organisations, initiatives and individuals.
The current report documents, among other things, the deployment of new anti-personnel mines by two states that are not part of the Ottawa Treaty: Russia and Myanmar. It also lists operations by non-state armed groups in at least five countries: Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, India and Myanmar.
The Ottawa Treaty has been in effect for over twenty years.
The Monitor states that Russia has used at least seven types of anti-personnel mines in Ukraine. There is also confirmed evidence that Russian forces have placed booby-traps and improvised explosives on numerous sites.
Handicap International criticizes that “it is unprecedented for a country that is not a party to the Mine Ban Treaty to use this weapon on the territory of a contracting state (Ukraine)”.
The Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition and Disposal of Landmines entered into force in 1999. In addition to the USA, Russia and Myanmar, as well as China, India, Israel and Syria are not among the signatory countries. The Convention was initiated by the ICBL campaign, which was run with non-governmental organizations in more than 100 countries, for which it received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.