Documents to download

Antipersonnel landmines are a lasting legacy of conflict, capable of killing or injuring civilians, denying access to land, and disrupting essential services and the provision of humanitarian aid, years after hostilities have ceased. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) estimates that at least 60 countries remain contaminated by mines and that in 2021 at least 5,544 casualties were recorded (PDF). Most of those casualties were civilians, half of whom were children. The highest number of casualties were recorded in Syria, closely followed by Afghanistan.

Landmines and other similar weapons, such as cluster munitions and improvised explosive devices, continue to be used in conflict in certain parts of the world. The ICBL has described this ongoing use as “one of the greatest challenges to the norm against antipersonnel landmines” (PDF).This new use has been documented by Russia in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, in Myanmar and by non-state armed groups in at least five countries. In January 2023 Human Rights Watch also alleged that Ukrainian armed forces had deployed antipersonnel mines around Izyum during its occupation by Russia in 2022. 

International regulation

There are two treaties regulating the possession and use of landmines:

The Mine Ban Treaty is one of the most widely ratified disarmament treaties with 164 States Parties. Notable exceptions, however, include Russia, the US, China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Syria. Ukraine is a State Party to the Convention and has opened an investigation into the recent allegations by Human Rights Watch. The UK was one of the first states to ratify the convention in 1998.

The UN continues to call for the universalisation of the Mine Ban Treaty. Thirty-three States Parties are also yet to complete their obligations under Article V of the Convention on the destruction of all antipersonnel mines in areas under their jurisdiction or control.

International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

In December 2005 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring that 4 April would be observed every year as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. It called on UN Member States to support the establishment of mine action programmes in those countries still affected by landmine use.

In 2023 the UN acknowledged the day with a new campaign: Mine Action Cannot Wait which aims to address the ongoing threat posed by landmines and calls for action by the States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention that have not yet fulfilled their disarmament obligations

The ICBL has said that the aftermath of the global Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing armed conflicts involving non-signatories to the Mine Ban Convention and cuts to humanitarian aid budgets are preventing states from “living up to the treaty’s promises” (PDF).

UK aid for landmine clearance

The UK provides aid for landmine clearance through its Global Mine Action Programme (GMAP). In line with recent reductions in aid spending, however, funding for the programme has decreased by over £53m in the last year. Programme funding under GMAP 2 (January 2018 to September 2022) was £142 million. GMAP 3, which was launched in March 2022 and will continue through to March 2025, has an allocated budget of £89 million, of which £4 million has been spent to date. Concerns over the cut in aid funding have been raised by the Halo Trust and the Mines Advisory Group (PDF).

Documents to download

Related posts