Ban on landmines for 25 years: humanitarian success marred by new use in Ukraine and Myanmar, high number of victims

Geneva, 17 November 2022 – Twenty-five years after its creation, the Mine Ban Treaty remains one of the most widely ratified disarmament treaties, but the high number of civilian casualties and the use of new mines in Ukraine and Myanmar show the challenges that must be overcome to achieve this. a world without mines, according to the Landmine Monitor 2022 report.

Landmines continue to kill and injure civilians, destroy livelihoods, deprive land use and disrupt access to essential services in more than 60 countries and territories. Cascading global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, and armed conflicts, combined with shrinking humanitarian aid budgets, are further compounding the obstacles to fulfilling treaty promises.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) today launches its flagship annual report, Landmine Monitor 2022, ahead of the twentieth meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, to be held from November 21-25 at the United Nations in Geneva.

“A quarter of a century ago, the banning of landmines put human security at the forefront and has since enabled affected communities to return to full and productive lives,” said Marion Loddo, Monitor’s editorial manager and final editor. from Landmine Monitor 2022. “But the outlook at this time is difficult, as we continue to observe new landmine casualties, new uses of the weapon, clearance backlogs and mine action budgets. decreasing. What we need now is immediate and coordinated government action. The number of casualties from mines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) has been worrying over the past seven years, following a dramatic decline immediately after the treaty entered into force. At least 5,544 people were injured or killed in 2021. Civilians accounted for most of the recorded casualties, half of whom were children.

The majority of casualties have occurred in countries affected by conflicts contaminated by mines of an improvised nature. In the previous year, landmines and explosive remnants of war claimed the lives of 50 states and other regions. Non-signatory Syria recorded the highest number of annual casualties (1,227), followed closely by State Party Afghanistan (1,074).
The new use of the weapon presents one of the biggest challenges to the anti-personnel landmine standard. The report documents new use by two non-state parties, Myanmar and Russia, as well as non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in at least five countries. “Any use of landmines by any actor, under any circumstances, is appalling and must be strongly condemned,” said Mary Wareham, Landmine Monitor 2022 Prohibition Policy Editor and Director of Arms Advocacy. from Human Rights Watch.

Landmine Monitor 2022 identifies a fivefold increase in the number of civilian landmine/ERW casualties recorded in Ukraine in the first nine months of 2022 compared to 2021 (277 civilian casualties vs. 58). Russia has used at least seven types of antipersonnel mines since it invaded the country on February 24. This is an unprecedented situation, in which a country which is not party to the treaty uses the weapon on the territory of a State party.

The report also documents new and widespread use of the indiscriminate weapon by government forces in Myanmar, particularly around infrastructure such as mobile phone towers, extractive companies and pipelines.

In this context, States Parties have continued to make progress in rehabilitating previously mined areas, reporting approximately 132 km2 of land cleared. As in recent years, the largest clearance of mined areas in 2021 was carried out by Cambodia and Croatia, which together accounted for 60% of recorded clearance.

While 30 States Parties have fulfilled their clearance obligations since the entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1999, only two of the remaining 33 affected States Parties appear to be on track to meet the clearance deadlines imposed by the treaty. . Systematic delays in clearance, or lack thereof, pose a serious threat to the long-term protection of civilians from landmines. Collective action by states is needed to reverse this trend and prevent further deterioration of the situation, the report concludes.

Another worrying setback is the steady decrease in funds allocated to victim assistance. According to the report, 2021 saw the lowest level of funding for the sector since 2016, despite growing needs and high loss rates in recent years. The treaty has established a valuable model for redressing the damage caused by landmines, but much remains to be done to ensure adequate support for survivors and affected communities throughout their lives.

“A survivor’s life lies not just in surviving tragedy, but rather in finding ways to fill the gaps by overcoming physical, mental and emotional challenges,” said assistance expert Alex Munyambabazi. to victims and the rights of persons with disabilities. , featured on the cover of Landmine Monitor 2022. “This can be achieved through the provision of holistic rehabilitation and sustained donor commitment.”


About the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor (the Monitor)

The Monitor is the civil society initiative that provides research and monitoring for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Coalition Against Cluster Munitions (ICBL-CMC). The year 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the ICBL, which has created a decisive and effective model of civil society-led disarmament and peace action. The ICBL’s efforts to ban landmines led to an entirely new approach known as humanitarian disarmament. This approach spawned four international treaties and resulted in two Nobel Peace Prizes, including to the ICBL in 1997 for its work to eradicate landmines.

Landmine Monitor 2022 provides a global overview of efforts to adhere to and implement the ban on anti-personnel landmines, ensure the clearance of contaminated areas, provide risk education, assist victims of these indiscriminate weapons and to support mine action activities. The report focuses on the calendar year 2021 with information included through October 2022 where possible. | | @MineMonitor

About the Mine Ban Treaty

The year 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption and opening for signature of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, commonly called the Mine Ban Treaty or Ottawa Treaty. . The treaty entered into force on March 1, 1999. Since then, it has established a strong international framework for the elimination of these weapons and has contributed to remarkable results in protecting lives and livelihoods.

The treaty prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines. It is the most comprehensive international instrument for the eradication of landmines and covers everything from the use, production and trade of mines to victim assistance, clearance and destruction. stocks.

Currently, 164 states are parties to the treaty and one signatory, the Marshall Islands, has yet to ratify.

**Media contacts***

Jared Bloch
Communication and Network Manager ICBL-CMC
Mobile/WhatsApp +41 78 683 44 07
[email protected]
Time zone: Geneva, Switzerland (CET/UTC+1)

Marion LODDO (her)
Monitor Editorial Manager ICBL-CMC
Mobile/WhatsApp +41 78 677 40 40
[email protected]
Time zone: Geneva, Switzerland (CET/UTC+1)