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Ban on Landmines

Globally, the mine ban has always been a controversial issue, since many countries have been opposing such moves. Nevertheless, there must be a global ban on the production and use of antipersonnel land mines in order to put an end to agony and fatalities caused by these antipersonnel mines. It occurs due to the fact that even though peace accords are signed and antagonism is ceased, on the other hand, landmines carry on the legacy of conflict (Monitor Mine, 2011). Antipersonnel mines are referred to as munitions designed to be detonated by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and debilitate, injure or kill one or more individuals. However, mines that are designed for explosion by the presence proximity or contact means other than an individual, such as outfitted vehicle with anti-handling devices, are not recognized as antipersonnel mines because they are equipped.

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Compared to anti-vehicular mines that require great weight to set them off, antipersonnel land mines require little weight to set them off (Hansen, 2004). The production and use of the antipersonnel mines result in death and incapacitation of hundreds of people weekly, especially women and children, who are mostly innocent and defenseless. It hinders economic growth, reforms and inhibition of the repatriation of refugees and internally displaced people (Arms Control Association, 2014). Land mines are victim-activated and unsystematic; they hit whoever triggers them either a child or a soldier. They are emplaced during war and many of them fail to explode on impact, but remain dreadful and, unless a nation takes proper measures to ban these antipersonnel mines, they continue to pose a threat to human beings (Monitor Mine, 2011).

Internationally, the efforts to ban antipersonnel landmines ended with the signing of the comprehensive treaty in 1997, also named the Ottawa Convention, which outlawed the weapons. The Ottawa Convection banned the application, stockpiling, production, as well as transfer of antipersonnel mines together with their destruction. It is considered to be the fastest treaty to be enacted and implemented as international law in twentieth century because it was negotiated in just over a year and executed fifteen months after it had been signed (Peter’s, n.d.). Thus, a total ban should be placed on the production and use of land mine and countries should adopt the Ottawa Convention Treaty.

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According to the White House Press Office (1997), in sixty-four nations, mainly developing ones, people face a daily threat of being killed or injured by an estimated one hundred million land mines in the ground. Annually, antipersonnel land (APL) mines result in over twenty-five thousand deaths and injuries, thereby hindering economic growth and preventing the displaced families and refugees from returning home. According to Hansen (2004), land mines took the lives of approximately twenty-thousand individuals globally in 2002. Before 1997, over two hundred and fifty people became victims of these mines and more than sixty percent of them were women and children. In a study of sixty-five countries in 2002 and 2003, the greatest number of victims caused by landmines was documented in Chechnya (5,695), Afghanistan (1,286), Cambodia (834), Columbia (530) and India (523). These countries were the hard hit and the worse fact is that out of sixty-five countries, forty-one were not in a state of war and amounted only fifteen percent of soldiers. In this regard, there is a greater need to address the problem and issue of banning the use and production of APL mines.

Even though all the injuries inflicted during the wars are horrifying, the harm caused by APL mines blast is severe. The munitions are designed to kill or permanently incapacitate the victims. They are designed specifically to shatter limbs and lives beyond repair; therefore, an explosion of a buried antipersonnel blast mine slashes off one or both legs of the victim. Moreover, it removes soil, grass, gravel and metal in that area. It damages the body of the victim physically and psychologically due to trauma and depression. Treating a wound of a mine injured casualty needs a competent surgeon, but in most cases, civilian doctors treat them (ICRC, 1998). According to Peter (n.d.), one of the most significant factors in the origin of efforts to ban antipersonnel landmines is the involvement of humanitarian support workers and medical practitioners, who experienced the consequences of these weapons and their effects on the individuals and damage to the society and themselves. According to the Association News (1994), the American Public Health Association acknowledged that antipersonnel mines remain to be dangerous weapons that cause deaths and injuries to an estimated number of seventy-five people a day.

The survivors of APL mine blasts mostly require multiple operations and prolonged rehabilitation. Unluckily, as in the statistics above, most mine blasts occur in developing and less developed nations. Therefore, the access to proper medication and treatment is hard or impossible. Additionally, the transportation of medical facilities or patient after occurrence of such tragedies is often difficult. In many countries, especially landlocked ones, many victims take six to twenty four hours before obtaining help from a doctor, and thus, many die before receiving medical attention (ICRC, 1998). 

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Following the requirements for medical care, many victims require extensive rehabilitative treatment. Apart from fitting amputees with artificial limbs, they should be given psychological therapy to address their conditions as many survivors end up disabled. Only few survivors can access such long term care and humanitarian programs. Moreover, even if they are provided with assistance, many cannot provide for their families afterwards; therefore, causing more anxiety without the hope of recovering from their situations.

APL mine blasts not only affect individuals adversely but also result in social and economic challenges, especially when the country is rebuilding after the end of a war. The presence of munitions can leave a large portion of land unusable. It results in the reduction of sizes of land due to landslides and inaccessibility of farming and grazing areas leads to a decline in agricultural products, thereby leaving the society impaired and unable to feed themselves, thus affecting economic growth.

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