Landmines and the explosive remnants of war kill or injure 15,000-20,000 people a year in at least 78 countries, according to the UN Mine Action Centre. While several international agreements exist to regulate or ban landmines, most notably the Mine Ban Treaty in 1999, momentum is gathering to do more to minimise these effects of armed conflict for humanitarian reasons.
• See IRIN's in-depth series on landmines
To this effect, on 8 December 2005 the UN General Assembly agreed to establish an International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action to be observed every 4 April.
"Landmines and explosive remnants of war continue to inflict a terrible toll. These indiscriminate weapons cause grievous injuries and death, hamper reconstruction in post-conflict zones, damage the environment, and are an obstacle to socioeconomic and development activities long after conflicts have ended," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for this year’s mine awareness day.
The Mine Action Centre defines “explosive remnants of war” as unexploded ordnance (UXO) and abandonded ordnance, such as weapons left behind by an armed group. It says UXO comprises “bombs, mortars, grenades, missiles or other devices that fail to detonate on impact but remain volatile and can kill if touched or moved. Some of the main sources of UXO are cluster bombs.”
IRIN has reported extensively on the impact of landmines and UXO and last month released an in-depth series of articles and multimedia on the issue.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions