20 Years of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention
Twenty-years ago, States and civil society came together to ban anti-personnel mines. This unprecedented cooperation led to the signing of the Anti-personnel mine ban Convention. This digital exhibit highlights this significant achievement by telling the stories of some of those affected by these weapons, showing the history of mines and explaining the history of the Convention.
This exhibit is based on an open-air installation on display from Nov. 27- Dec. 11 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. This is joint initiative of Handicap International, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit.
6500 casualties per year with nearly 1 in 3 dying from their injuries.
Every two hours...
anti-personnel mines & other remnants of war claim a victim somewhere in the world.
Kandahar, AfghanistanSayedvictim of an improvised mine at the age of 5
He had to have his leg amputated to save his life. Handicap International has been providing support since end of 2014. Thanks to his new prosthesis, and with the help of his physiotherapist, he can learn how to walk again.
CambodiaKanhawas only 8 years old when her life was turned upside down
She was playing close to her house when everything was erased when a mine exploded. Amputated at the femur, she had a hard time recovering from the terrible psychological shock of the event: the weapon stole everything from her and she lost her father in the accident.
Nearly 80% of the victims are civilians, of which almost 40% are children. After years of steady decline, new conflicts have caused the number of casualties to increase again.
Mine survivors need lifelong assistance, as well as their families and communities.
Thanks to victim assistance, many can now live a dignified life.
Kanyampara, UgandaMr. Bwambale
stepped on a landmine in 1999 and lost a leg. Thanks to Handicap International, this father of 12 children now runs his own small tailor shop.
Kompong Cham Province, CambodiaHab Chorn...victim of a mine in 1984
Handicap International provided him with a prosthesis and support until he got his life back on track. Today, he raises pigs and buffaloes and cultivates lotus flowers.
WHAT IS A MINE?
An anti-personnel mine is designed to explode by the presence, proximity or contact of a person
Anti-personnel mines are designed to injure or kill one or more persons
A mine can remain active for decades after it has been laid
What types of anti-personnel mines exist?
buried in the ground or at the surface, detonate when someone steps on them.
hidden above ground in vegetation and triggered by a tripwire. It spreads metal fragments in a 360-degree arc.
Directional fragmentation mines
are designed to be positioned in the direction the enemy is likely to advance from. This mine can be a victim or command detonated. Once triggered, it projects metal fragments in a specific direction.
Bounding fragmentation mines
buried in the ground and triggered by either a tripwire or by stepping on them. Once triggered, bounding mines jump into the air and detonate, spreading metal fragments in a 360-degree arc.
What is Mine Action?Efficient mine action operations accelerate the return of the land to productive use and help establish a safe environment where people affected by conflict can rebuild stable and dignified lives
Mine action includes 5 types of actions:
Survey and Clearance
Mine Risk Education
Three ways we search for and clear mines:By hand
Depending on the terrain and vegetation, deminers use metal detectors, search needles or rakes.
Identified explosive devices are then professionally removed and destroyed.
Special machines can be used if the terrain is flat enough to remove vegetation and loosen the ground, making subsequent manual demining easier.
Some armoured vehicles can also be used for actual mine clearance: they dig through the ground, causing the mines to explode.
Due to their special abilities, animals can be a great help in the search for mines. Mine detection dogs, for example, are trained to smell and locate explosives.
What is the impact of mines?
Populations living in mine-affected communities must often live with the risk posed by mines. Due to mine contamination, people are often no longer able to farm their own fields and feed their family. Children are no longer able to go to school and refugees are unable to return safely home after the end of the conflicts.
Many of the contaminated countries are already poor, and the presence of mines and other explosive remnants of war is aggravating the situation. It limits access to livelihoods and obstructs reconstruction after the end of a conflict.
HISTORY OF THE CONVENTION
An unprecedented movement
In the 1990s, anti-personnel mines killed tens of thousands all over the world. As a response, civil society led a coordinated effort to end the suffering with a group of non-governmental organisations.
Together they created the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a coalition that won the Nobel Peace Prize for their determination in calling for the Convention.
20th Anniversary of the Signing ofThe Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention
A landmark treaty signed by 121 states, twenty years ago, on 3-4 December 1997 in Ottawa.
This landmark disarmament and humanitarian treaty became the first instrument to also address the needs of victims and survivors.
Key figures in the process...Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Lloyd Axworthy
He called upon states interested in a ban on anti-personnel mines to adopt a treaty prohibiting these type of landmines by 1997.
Cambodian landmine survivor and ban advocate. He was a key figure in the movement to ban landmines that lead to the convention.
He received a signed copy of the treaty in Ottawa as a symbol of the Convention's promise to landmine survivors everywhere.
The Role of Geneva
While mine clearance work, stockpile destruction and victim assistance efforts are carried out in the field, Geneva is home to continuous diplomatic and implementation work essential to assessing progress and fostering cooperation in the field of mine action.
a way of showing that, even when mutilated, the victims of the violence of war still stand with dignity - fragile but strong.
In 1997, Handicap International constructed this work of art in Geneva, thereby appealing to all countries in Ottawa, to sign the treaty banning anti-personnel mines.
This monumental sculpture in wood was created by the Swiss artist, Daniel Berset.
Handicap International (HI)
works alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in the
poorest countries in the world, to meet their essential needs and improve their
quality of life.
More on HI: www.handicap-international.ch/
The Convention's Implementation Support Unit
a small secretariat that exists to provide advice and technical support,
communicate and provide information about the Convention, including towards
States that are not party to the Convention, and the public.
More on The Convention: www.apminebanconvention.org/
Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)
expert organisation working to reduce the impact of mines, cluster munitions
and other explosive hazards, in close partnership with mine action
organisations and other human security actors.
More on GICHD: www.gichd.org/