versão impressa ISSN 0042-9686
Bull World Health Organ vol.78 no.11 Genebra Nov. 2000
Progress made in reducing the number of landmines worldwide
The world is starting to embrace a new international norm where it is no longer acceptable to use landmines in armed conflicts, says the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
The campaigns second annual report, Landmine Monitor Report 2000: Towards a Mine-Free World, which was released in September at the Second Meeting of States Parties to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva, Switzerland, says nearly three-quarters of the worlds nations have signed and/or ratified the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The number of known producers of landmines has fallen, from 54 to 16, and trading of landmines appears to have been completely halted, with no known shipments of mines in 19992000. Furthermore, over 50 nations have destroyed more than 22 million stockpiled landmines, which includes 10 million since March 1999.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines is widely credited with being the driving force which led up to the Mine Ban Treaty. In 1997, the campaign received the Nobel Peace Prize for its contribution. Since then, the campaign has set up the Landmine Monitor, which includes a global reporting network, a central database and an annual report.
For the latest report, the group collected information worldwide on landmine ban policies, use, production, transfer, stockpiling, mine clearance, mine awareness, and the assistance given to survivors. Eighty-eight nations were found to be affected to some degree by landmines and/or unexploded munitions, a higher number than previously thought.
From the time the Mine Ban Treaty came into force in March 1999, up until mid-2000, 11 governments began new use of landmines in 20 conflicts, and these weapons were also used by at least 30 rebel groups or non-state actors. One of the most deplorable developments since Land-mine Monitor Report 1999, says the latest report, is the extensive use of landmines in conflicts in Chechnya and Kosovo. Some African countries are also thought to have continued use of antipersonnel mines.
Despite significant progress, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines remains concerned that too few resources are devoted to mine action programmes, including mine clearance, mine awareness and projects to help victims. The report says: At a time when there is a danger of the international community turning its attention elsewhere, to deal with the next hot issue, there is instead a need for a redoubling of efforts to get mines out of the ground more rapidly and to better address the needs of mine victims and mine-affected communities.
Sharon Kingman, London