The consequences of armed violence, landmines and other weapons of war

In 1999 the 14th General Meeting of WCPT passed a motion to encourage all its member organisations to call on their governments to ban and clear landmines.  Delegates voted unanimously to support a motion from the Australian Physiotherapy Association, also calling for the provision of appropriate rehabilitation facilities in those regions affected by landmines.

To strengthen its policy in this area and reflect developments in international policy the WCPT General Meeting approved a Policy statement: The Consequences of Armed Violence, Landmines and other Weapons of War at the 17th General Meeting of WCPT in June 2011.


 

Key facts:

  • Eighty two countries are known to be affected by landmines or unexploded ordnance.
  • As of 2005, more than (200,000 km2) of the world's landmass is suspected to be contaminated by landmines and other devices.
  • In 2008, mine action programs cleared almost 160km2 of mined areas—the size of Brussels.
  • There were at least 5,197 casualties caused by mines, explosive remnants of war (ERW), and victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2008, which continues a downward trend over the last few years. Some 1,266 people were killed, 3,891 injured, and the status of 40 people was unknown. Some 61% of casualties were civilians. Children accounted for 28% of casualties where the age was known.
  • 24 States Parties have been identified as having significant numbers of mine survivors. These include Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad and Colombia.
  • In Cambodia alone there are over 35,000 amputees injured by landmines.
  • Many survivors do not have access to some of the most basic needs: food security, access to water, adequate housing, roads, a way to earn an income, healthcare, and access to the lifelong rehabilitation services that many need.
  • Injuries inflicted by anti-personnel mines or other explosive weapons can lead to amputation, severe disability and psychological trauma. These casualties require specialist surgery and post-operative care in the first instance and rehabilitation and psychological support in the longer term.
  • Landmines impact the health of affected populations in the following ways:
    • Mines kill and maim innocent civilians long after conflicts have ended.
    • Mined agricultural land and water contribute to malnutrition and waterborne diseases.
    • Mined public places and roadways prevent food delivery and make it difficult for mobile health and vaccination teams to access the area, which can result in an increase in childhood killer diseases that are otherwise preventable.
    • Amputation and injuries requiring blood infusions drain local blood supplies.
    • Landmine accidents affect entire families and communities. Death, or the disability of a parent, takes an economic toll on the family and emotionally scars the widow or widower and children. Caring for the injured survivor can put enormous stress on a family. Medical treatment, transportation and rehabilitation costs can further impoverish a family.
  • In 2008–2009, there was a continued lack of psychosocial support and economic reintegration for survivors even where there were improvements to national healthcare, physical rehabilitation, or disability laws/policies.
  • The five pillars of mine action are:
    • Advocacy to universalize the Ottawa Convention
    • Assistance to landmine survivors/victims
    • Clearance of mined areas
    • Mine-risk education
    • Stockpile destruction
Sources:
Mine Action Information Center at James Madison University
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)
Landmine Monitor
Landmine Action

 

Below are links to organisations and additional resource material.

International policy

United Nations

The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. Due to its unique international character, and the powers vested in its founding Charter, the Organization can take action on a wide range of issues, and provide a forum for its 192 Member States to express their views, through the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and other bodies and committees.

International organisations
Humanity & Inclusion (HI)

Handicap International works in partnership with local organisations and government institutions. It raises awareness of both governments and the general public on disability and landmine issues, mobilises civil society and implements of action in emergency situations. Handicap International is a co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines which was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. It is involved in a wide range of projects including the provision of support to landmine survivors through rehabilitation.

 

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a Swiss-based humanitarian organisation and founding member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (1863). This Movement is composed of the ICRC, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The ICRC is mandated by the international community to be the guardian and promoter of international humanitarian law. They work around the world providing assistance to people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. The ICRC provides physical rehabilitation to people injured by anti-personnel mines or by other types of explosive weapons, as well as in a large variety of other types of incident.

International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC)

The International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) is a global consortium of 23 disability and development non-governmental organisations (NGOs), mainstream development NGOs and disabled people's organisations (DPOs) supporting disability and development work in more than 100 countries around the world.

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization provides access to educational and relevant resources on landmines and related issues, including work to map the scale of landmine injuries.

 

 

Professional organisations
International Council of Nurses (ICN)

Relevant policies:

Position Statement: Towards Elimination of Weapons of War and Conflict

Position Statement: Armed Conflict: Nursing's Perspective

World Medical Association (WMA)

Relevant policy:

World Medical Association Resolution Supporting The Ottawa Convention

 

Campaigning organisations
Arms Control Association The Arms Control Association (ACA) is a national membership organization in the USA dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies.
Clear Path International Clear Path provides immediate and long term medical attention to landmine accident survivors, while involving their families and communities to help them restore their physical mobility.
Cluster Munitions Coalition The Coalition is an international civil society movement The Coalition is a network of civil society organisations, including Non-Governmental Organisations, faith-based groups and professional organisations campaigning against the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. It includes large worldwide organizations like Amnesty International, Handicap International and Human Rights Watch, as well as nationally based organizations such as the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society and national campaigns such as the Philippines Campaign against Cluster Munitions and the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition.
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) ICBL is a global network in over 70 countries that works for a world free of antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions, where landmine and cluster munition survivors can lead fulfilling lives. The Campaign was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its efforts to bring about the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.
Landmine Action Landmine Action is a not-for-profit organisation committed to good governance and the development of civil society through the promotion of international humanitarian law, the relief of poverty and the empowerment of communities marginalised by conflict.
Mines Action Canada Mines Action Canada (MAC), a coalition of Canadian non-governmental organizations, is an international organisation working to eliminate the serious humanitarian, environmental and development consequences of landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW).
Mines Awareness Trust MAT is a not for profit organisation that was set up in Guernsey in May 1999 in reaction to the conflict in Kosovo. Since then MAT has worked in over 9 countries working hard to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance from countries that have been affected by war.
Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children

The Women's Refugee Commission advocates vigorously for laws, policies and programmes to improve the lives and protect the rights of refugee and internally displaced women, children and young people, including those seeking asylum - bringing about lasting, measurable change.

The Women's Refugee Commission is working to ensure that all service providers working with conflict-affected populations take into account the specific needs of persons with disabilities in their programming.

 

Useful resources
E-Mine Electronic Mine Information network

Here you can access resources on a range of topics:

What is mine action?

How the work is done

Portfolio of projects

Who pays for it?

UN document library

Who does it?

Where it happens

Treaties & law

How to help

Strategy & guidance

Mine Action Information Center at James Madison University The Mine Action Information Center at James Madison University is a public policy center which manages information and conducts training relevant to humanitarian mine clearance, victim assistance, mine risk reduction and other landmine-related issues. The center provides training, operates a help desk for queries, hosts conferences and symposia on landmine-related topics, publishes the Journal of ERW and Mine Action, maintains a web site, develops mine-action education materials, produces global information system (GIS) products and conducts studies and surveys designed to facilitate and improve global landmine action. [Note: ERW= Explosive Remnants of war]
Mine Action Standards

Here you can access information on:

International Mine Action Standards a Directory of standards in force for all UN mine action operations

National Mine Action Standards are standards issued by a National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) to guide the management and implementation of mine action projects, in that country, in a safe, coordinated and efficient manner

Technical Notes for Mine Action which are advisory documents designed to accompany or supplement an International Mine Action Standard (IMAS), or act as an independent source of information

WCPT News Feature on A new call to arms on landmines