LANDMINES AND EXPLOSIVE REMNANTS OF WAR
Peace agreements may be signed and hostilities may cease, but landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) are an enduring legacy of conflict.
Antipersonnel mines are munitions designed to explode from the presence, proximity, or contact of a person. This includes improvised landmines, also known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), with those same victim-activated characteristics. Antivehicle mines are munitions designed to explode from the presence, proximity, or contact of a vehicle as opposed to a person. Landmines are victim-activated and indiscriminate; whoever triggers the mine, whether a child or a soldier, becomes its victim.
Mines emplaced during a conflict against enemy forces can still kill or injure civilians decades later.
ERW refer to ordnance left behind after a conflict. Explosive weapons that for some reason fail to detonate as intended become unexploded ordnance (UXO). These unstable explosive items are left behind during and after conflicts and pose dangers similar to landmines.
Abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO) are explosive weapons that have not been used during armed conflict but have been left behind and are no longer effectively controlled.
ERW can include artillery shells, grenades, mortars, rockets, air-dropped bombs, and cluster munition remnants. Under the international legal definition, ERW consist of UXO and AXO, but not mines.
Both landmines and ERW pose a serious and ongoing threat to civilians. These weapons can be found on roads and footpaths; in farmers’ fields; in forests and deserts; along borders; and in surrounding houses and schools, as well as other places where people are carrying out their daily activities. Mines and ERW deny access to food, water, and other basic needs, and inhibit freedom of movement. They endanger the initial flight and prevent the return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and hamper the delivery of humanitarian aid.
These weapons instill fear in communities, whose citizens often know they are walking in mined areas, but have no possibility to farm other land, or take another route to school.
When land cannot be cultivated, when medical systems are drained by the cost of attending to mine/ERW casualties, and when countries must spend money clearing mines rather than paying for education, it is clear that these weapons not only cause appalling human suffering, but that they are also a lethal barrier to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and post-conflict reconstruction.
There are solution to the global mine and ERW problem. The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty (officially the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction) provides the best framework for governments to alleviate the suffering of civilians living in areas affected by antipersonnel mines. Governments that join this treaty must stop the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of antipersonnel mines immediately. They must destroy all stockpiled antipersonnel mines within four years and clear all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under their jurisdiction or control within 10 years. In addition, States Parties in a position to do so must provide assistance for the care and treatment of landmine survivors, their families and communities, and support for mine/ERW risk education programs to help prevent future incidents.
This legal instrument provides a framework for taking action, but it is up to governments to implement treaty obligations and it is the task of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work together with governments to ensure they uphold their treaty obligations.
The ultimate goal of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and its sister campaign, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), is a world free of landmines, cluster munitions, and ERW, where civilians can walk freely without the fear of stepping on a mine; children can play without mistaking an unexploded submunition for a toy; communities don’t bear the social and economic impact of mine/ERW presence for decades to come; and the rights of survivors and persons with similar needs are protected.
INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO BAN LANDMINES
The ICBL is a global network in more than 100 countries, working for the full universalization and implementation of the treaty banning antipersonnel landmines. It received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with its founding coordinator Jody Williams in recognition of its efforts to bring about the Mine Ban Treaty. The campaign includes national and international organizations, as well as multisectoral expertise from the human rights, development, refugee, medical, and humanitarian relief fields. The ICBL works in partnership with governments and international organizations on all aspects of treaty implementation, from stockpile destruction to mine clearance to victim assistance. The campaign calls as well on non-state armed groups (NSAGs) to abide by the norm against mine use.
The ICBL was founded in October 1992 by a group of six NGOs: Handicap International (now Humanity & Inclusion), Human Rights Watch, Medico International, Mines Advisory Group, Physicians for Human Rights, and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. These organizations witnessed the horrendous impact of landmines on the communities in which they were working across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, and how mines hampered and prevented development efforts. The solution, they realized, was a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines. More than 30 years on from its founding, the ICBL continues to serve as a decisive and effective model of a civil society-led campaign for disarmament and peace. Its effort to ban landmines led to a whole new approach known as humanitarian disarmament.
The founding organizations brought to the international campaign a multisectoral perspective and practical experience on the impact of landmines. These core members mobilized in short time a global network of NGOs engaged on this issue. Conferences and outreach events were initially organized worldwide to raise awareness on the global landmine problem and the need for a ban, as well as to provide training to partners for effective advocacy efforts. The call for a treaty banning antipersonnel landmines quickly spread throughout the world, and among diverse partners.
Through sustained and coordinated action by the ICBL and effective partnerships with other NGOs, international organizations, and governments, the Mine Ban Treaty was opened for signature on 3 December 1997 in Ottawa, Canada.
Once the goal of developing a comprehensive treaty banning antipersonnel mines was achieved, the attention of the ICBL shifted to ensuring that all countries join the treaty and that all States Parties fully implement their treaty obligations.
In line with the 2014 Maputo Declaration and the 2019 Oslo Action Plan, the ICBL urges States Parties to make all efforts toward completing major treaty obligations by 2025.
The ICBL’s success over three decades speaks to the campaign’s ability to evolve with changing circumstances. In January 2011, the ICBL merged with the CMC to become the ICBL-CMC.
LANDMINE AND CLUSTER MUNITION MONITOR
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor provides research and monitoring for the ICBLCMC, on the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has become the de facto monitoring regime for both treaties, reporting on States Parties’ implementation and compliance, and more generally, assessing the international community’s response to the humanitarian problems caused by landmines, cluster munitions, and other ERW.
The ICBL created Landmine Monitor in June 1998, for the first time bringing NGOs together in a coordinated, systematic, and sustained way to monitor humanitarian law or disarmament treaties and to regularly document progress and challenges. In 2008, Landmine Monitor also functionally became the research and monitoring arm of the CMC. In 2010, the initiative changed its name from Landmine Monitor to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor (known as “the Monitor”) to reflect its increased reporting on the cluster munition issue. The Monitor successfully puts into practice the concept of civil society-based verification that is now employed in many similar contexts.
The Monitor system features a global reporting network, country profiles, and annual reports. A Monitoring and Research Committee provides oversight of the plans and outputs of the ICBL-CMC’s research and monitoring, including the Monitor publication content, and acts as a standing committee of the ICBL-CMC Governance Board. To prepare this report, an Editorial Team gathered information with the aid of a network comprised of more than a dozen researchers with the assistance of ICBL-CMC campaigners. Unless otherwise specified, all translations in this report were done by the Monitor.
The Monitor is not a technical verification system or a formal inspection regime. It is an attempt by civil society to hold governments accountable to the obligations they have taken on with respect to antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions. This is done through extensive collection, analysis, and distribution of publicly available information on all aspects of mine action. Although in some cases it does entail field missions, the Monitor does not send researchers into harm’s way and does not include hot war-zone reporting.
The Monitor complements transparency reporting required of states under Article 7 of the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It reflects the shared view that transparency, trust, and mutual collaboration are crucial elements for the successful eradication of antipersonnel mines, cluster munitions, and ERW. The Monitor was also established in recognition of the need for independent reporting and evaluation.
The Monitor aims to promote and advance discussion on issues related to landmines and cluster munitions, and to seek clarifications to help reach the goal of a world free of these weapons and the threat from other ERW. The Monitor works in good faith to provide factual information about the issues it is monitoring, in order to benefit the international community as a whole.
As was the case in previous years, the Monitor acknowledges that this report is limited by the time, resources, and information sources available. The Monitor is a system that is continuously updated, corrected, and improved. Comments, clarifications, and corrections from governments and others are sought, in the spirit of dialogue, and in the common search for accurate and reliable information on an important subject.
ABOUT THIS REPORT
This is the 25th annual Landmine Monitor report. It is the sister publication to the annual Cluster Munition Monitor report, first published in November 2010.
Landmine Monitor 2023 covers mine ban policy, use, production, transfers, and stockpiling globally; assesses the impact of mine contamination and casualties; outlines progress made and improvement required in clearance, risk education, and victim assistance; and documents international assistance and national resources to support mine action efforts.
This report focuses on calendar year 2022, with information included up to October 2023 where possible.
A broad-based network of individuals, campaigns, and organizations from around the world contributed to this report. It was assembled by a dedicated team of researchers and editors, with the support of a significant number of donors. Country-specific contributions were received from a network of at least 20 Monitor researchers covering more than 30 countries. Researchers are cited separately on the Monitor website.
The Monitor is grateful to everyone who contributed research to this report. We wish to thank the scores of individuals, campaigns, NGOs, international organizations, field practitioners, and governments who provided us with essential information. We are grateful to ICBL-CMC staff for their crucial assistance in the production, release, distribution, and promotion of Monitor reports.
Content produced by the Monitor was reviewed by members of the Monitoring and Research Committee comprised of six NGOs, as well as Monitor research team leaders and ICBL-CMC staff. At the time of publication, the committee’s members were: Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines (Camilo Serna), DanChurchAid (Lene Rasmussen), Danish Refugee Council (Richard MacCormac), Human Rights Watch (Stephen Goose), Humanity & Inclusion (Alma Taslidžan), Mines Action Canada (Erin Hunt), Monitor research team leaders (Ban Policy: Stephen Goose; and Impact: Loren Persi Vicentic), and senior ICBL-CMC staff (Kasia Derlicka-Rosenbauer and Tamar Gabelnick).
During 2022 and the first half of 2023, the Monitoring and Research Committee benefitted from the participation of Hector Guerra, Paul Hannon, and Marion Loddo.
From January to October 2023, the Monitor’s Editorial Team undertook research, updated country profiles, and drafted thematic overviews for Landmine Monitor 2023. The Editorial Team included:
- Ban policy: Mark Hiznay, Susan Aboeid, Stephen Goose, Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, and Mary Wareham;
- Impact: Loren Persi Vicentic, Katrin Atkins, Matthew Armstrong, and Audrey Torrecilla;
- Support for mine action: Ruth Bottomley.
This edition also builds on earlier contributions from Marion Loddo through August 2023.
Michael Hart (Publications Consultant) provided final editing in October and November 2023 with support from Tamar Gabelnick.
Report formatting and cover design was undertaken by Michael Sherwin. Maps were created by Maria Angela Torri. Héliographie Girard printed the report in Switzerland.
The front cover photograph was provided by M. Simoncelli/HI, and the back cover photographs were provided by FSD and Marijn van Broekhoven/NPA. Additional photographs found within Landmine Monitor 2023 were provided by multiple photographers, cited with each photograph.
We extend our gratitude to Monitor contributors. In 2023, this work was made possible with funding from (list accurate as of 1 November 2023):
- Government of Australia
- Government of Austria
- Government of Canada
- Government of France
- Government of Germany
- Government of Norway
- Government of Switzerland
- Government of the United States of America*
- Holy See
The Monitor is also grateful for the support received from private donors.
The Monitor’s supporters are in no way responsible for, and do not necessarily endorse, the material contained in this report. We also thank the donors who have contributed to the organizational members of the Monitoring and Research Committee and other participating organizations.
*Specifically for research on contamination, casualties, clearance, risk education, victim assistance, and support for mine action.