Introduction – landmines
Landmines are explosive weapons that are placed under or on the ground and are designed to kill people or destroy vehicles. Antipersonnel mines explode from the contact or presence of a person. When triggered, they kill or cause injuries like blindness, burns, destroyed limbs and shrapnel wounds. Antivehicle mines target vehicles including tanks and armoured fighting vehicles.
By the 1990s, almost all armed forces of the world had used landmines in one form or another. In 1996 States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons amended their 1980 Protocol II on landmines in a bid to respond to the humanitarian concerns being raised by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. However, this Amended Protocol II failed to prohibit anti-personnel landmines and, as a result, the Canadian government led a self-selecting group of states to negotiations on a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel landmines. In 1997 states signed the Mine Ban Treaty, which now has 156 States Parties. The use, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines has dramatically reduced since the treaty entered into force, with millions of square metres of land cleared of mines and millions of stockpiled mines destroyed.
Article 36 calls on all states to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty without delay. Article 36 calls on all States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty to adhere to their legal obligations to clear land within the 10 year period allowed, to destroy stockpiles within the 4 year period allowed and to increase efforts to provide assistance to survivors of landmines so that they can exercise their human rights. In addition Article 36 believes that states should end the use of antivehicle mines, which have a severe humanitarian and development impact.
To learn more and take action in your country, visit the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.