Activists use anniversary to call on international community to put a final end to antipersonnel landmines.
(New York, USA, 19 October 2012): The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is today celebrating 20 years of campaigning for a world free of landmines. Events marking this anniversary will take place in over 20 countries this fall. In October 1992, the ICBL, a global civil society movement, was born to put an urgent stop to a humanitarian crisis, which was leaving more than 20,000 people killed or maimed by antipersonnel mines every year.
ICBL campaigers in Colombia in 2009 for the "Cartagena Summit on a Mine -Free World" (c) Giovanni Diffidenti
ICBL’s efforts were crucial to the development, negotiation, adoption and signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, the first treaty to ban a weapon in widespread use. Since then the campaign has continued working around the world to turn the words of the treaty into real change on the ground.
Today, after two decades of ICBL campaigning worldwide, and 15 years since the Mine Ban Treaty was signed, more than 80 per cent of the world – 160 countries – have banned the weapon by becoming party to the treaty, and most of those remaining outside abide by the ban norm. Many hundreds of square kilometres of previously mine infested land have been cleared of mines, and more than 45 million stockpiled landmines in 87 countries have been destroyed. Most importantly, the number of new casualties caused by antipersonnel mines each year has dropped dramatically to fewer than 5,000 recorded cases.
But despite this remarkable progress, still every day on average 12 people are killed or maimed by landmines or explosive remnants of war. Thirty-five countries have yet to renounce landmines and sign on to the Mine Ban Treaty. Countries’ efforts to clear all affected land as soon as possible, and to assist all landmine survivors and their affected communities have not been enough and more work is needed to achieve these obligations. Most alarmingly, a small number of governments outside of the treaty are still using antipersonnel landmines, including Myanmar and Syria in 2012.
“In today’s world, any use of antipersonnel mines is unacceptable,” said Kasia Derlicka, Director of the ICBL.“In our 20th year, and for as long as it takes, we will continue to challenge the international community to finish the job we started twenty years ago to put a final end to these weapons, and to do that rapidly, within years, not decades,” Derlicka added.
The ICBL is taking the opportunity of its 20th anniversary to call on the global community to do more and finish the job of eradicating antipersonnel landmines once and for all.
Specifically, the ICBL today urgently calls for:
- an immediate halt to the use of any new antipersonnel landmines, anywhere;
- remaining countries to join the Mine Ban Treaty without delay;
- States Parties to the Treaty to fully comply with their obligations to destroy all stocks, clear land, and assist victims;
- all countries to provide the necessary resources to achieve a world free of antipersonnel landmines.
Through the continuous and effective partnership of governments and civil society, a landmine-free world can be rapidly achieved to ensure no person, family or community anywhere need ever again suffer the devastating and lifelong effects of antipersonnel landmines.
For a PDF version of the full 20th Anniversary press release, please click on the PDF icon at the top of this page.