The threat of landmines for civilians

An anti-personnel mine An anti-personnel mine © Army Corps of Engineers photo

This article is a brief presentation of the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor’s annual report

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is committed to ending the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines and to destroying stockpiles, clearing mined areas and assisting affected communities. This report contains updated data on landmines remaining in the world and it aims to inform the international community about the prevention and detonation of these lethal weapons.

Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor carries out research and monitoring for the ICBL with the aim of making governments accountable for their obligations to anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions. This is done through an extensive collection, analysis and distribution of publicly available information on all aspects of mines,  in order to benefit the international community as a whole.

According to the data collected, 2019 was the fifth consecutive year with a high number of victims recorded due to the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines, including improvised ones, as well as cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war. The circumstances were aggravated by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, which slowed down implementation of the treaty to end the suffering caused by mines.

The situation reported in October 2020 shows that 60 states and other areas are still contaminated with anti-personnel mines, including 33 States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, 22 non-signatory states and five other areas. In 2019 at least 156 km² of land was declared mine-free and more than 123,000 anti-personnel mines were cleared and destroyed. With respect to 2018, this represents an increase of over 146 km² of land cleared and almost 98,000 anti-personnel mines destroyed. In 2019-2020, many states indicated improvements in accessibility, quality or quantity of services for victims. However, in 2020, the pandemic aggravated the problem of under-resources for victim assistance activities in many countries. Mine victims, especially in remote areas, already lacked access to adequate services and the pandemic further aggravated their condition.

In order to prevent landmine related accidents of civilians, risk education is an essential component for the protection of people. Despite its importance, in the last decade it has often received little recognition from the international community and, as a result, has often been underfunded. Moreover, in 2020, due to the pandemic, risk education was severely disadvantaged because face-to-face sessions were suspended, even if they are the most appropriate way to reach affected communities and to promote behavioural change. Nevertheless, practitioners have tried innovative ways to address the challenges by using digital methods and combining risk education and Covid-19 messaging.

Unlike other weapons, the destructiveness of landmines is indiscriminate and lasts long after the conflicts for which these were created. In order to prevent other civilians from being affected by these destructive weapons, there is a need to completely eliminate the remaining mines.


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Autore: Carla Pintor

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