- Landmines are victim-operated traps. Most are designed to maim, not to kill, because a wounded person is a bigger drain on resources.
- From 15,000 to 20,000 people worldwide are maimed or killed by landmines each year.
- Most victims of landmines are civilians, many of them children, who are killed or injured after hostilities come to an end.
- Landmines are indiscriminate weapons in the sense that they cannot tell the difference between a soldier and a civilian. Indiscriminate weapons are illegal under humanitarian law.
- The harm caused by landmines is disproportionate to their military utility.
- Landmines cost $3-$30 to produce but $300-$1000 to remove.
- A 10-year-old amputee, with a life expectancy of an additional 40-50 years, will need 25 artificial limbs during his or her lifetime.
- More than 70 countries have landmines hidden in the ground. Some of the most mine-affected countries are Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Croatia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan.
- The number of landmine producing countries has dropped in recent years from 54 to 14.
- More than 125 countries have ratified the International Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction. Among the 65 countries that have not joined in the convention are the United States, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and most Middle Eastern countries.
LANDMINES RESOURCES ONLINE
Many of the following websites have resources for teaching about landmines:
Adopt-A-Minefield, www.landmines.org. This program of the U.N. Association of the U.S. raises funds and seeks sponsors for landmine clearance and survivor assistance. The website includes background information, video clips, virtual maps of several mined countries, and fundraising ideas.
Canadian Red Cross Society, www.redcross.ca/english/international/other/publiced/peace/index.html. Provides information and video clips on the worldwide problem of landmines, especially the consequences for victims and communities. A PDF version of Survive the Peace, a 52-page lesson guide for teachers and group leaders, will be posted at the site in the near future. Print copies of the resource are available, in Canada only, from local Canadian Red Cross offices.
International Campaign to Ban Landmines, www.icbl.org. Includes the text of the international treaty, lists of countries that have and have not signed, and a downloadable Youth Action Campaign Kit. Students can visit this site to sign the Youth Against War Treaty.
International Committee of the Red Cross, www.icrc.org. Provides a wealth of information on the issue of landmines.
Land Mine on WWW Sites and References, www.pitt.edu/~ginie/lm/mine_www_link.html. This fantastic site provides links to landmine sites of all sorts.
The Road to Ottawa, Media Awareness Network and Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development,
This site features two lessons for grades 9-11 that use the topic of landmines and the treaty to ban them as examples to teach about the role of non-governmental organizations and media.
Safeland: Canada’s Guide to the Global Ban on Landmines, www.mines.gc.ca. This online publication provides background information on landmine use and clearance, the treaty to ban landmines, links to primary documents, and a Mine Action Workbook for educators (see www.mines.gc.ca/VI_A-e.asp).
Students Against Landmines. United Nations Schools Demining Schools Project, http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/banmines/index.asp. This award-winning site is designed by students and includes an online treasure hunt for landmine information.
Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program, www.dangermines.ca. Recruits Canadian youth ambassadors to raise awareness of landmines through education outreach programs in their regions and schools. The organization also provides resources and guest speakers (in Canada).