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Landmines and Cluster Bombs: An Enduring Problem


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Title: Landmines and Cluster Bombs: An Enduring Problem

Landmines and Cluster BombsAn Enduring Problem
Brief History of Landmines
  • 14th century Chinese text, the Huolongjing,
    describes a mine made of bamboo, black powder,
    and lead pellets. It was placed underground.
  • Detonated by a flint device that directed sparks
    onto a series of fuses

Brief History of Landmines
  • In 1500s, fougasse mines were developed.
  • Buried explosives, covered with rocks or metal
  • Detonated by tripwires or by long fuses
  • High maintenance, and due to susceptibility of
    black powder to dampness.

Brief History of Landmines
  • First modern, mechanically detonated
    anti-personnel mines created by Confederate
    troops under Brigadier General Gabriel Raines
  • Raines had begun working with explosive booby
    traps in the Seminole Wars in Florida in 1849
  • Used more reliable and reproducible mechanical
    detonation devices

Brief History of Landmines
  • Improved mines were designed in Imperial Germany
    around 1912
  • Designs were copied and manufactured by all major
    participants in the First World War

Brief History of Landmines
  • Antipersonnel mines were first used on a large
    scale in WWII
  • Initially used to protect antitank mines, to stop
    them from being removed by enemy soldiers
  • Later antipersonnel mines used to slow or halt
    enemy movement, by being placed in great numbers

  • Triggered by a variety of means (pressure,
    vibration, movement, magnetism)
  • Many have an additional touch or tilt trigger, to
    prevent enemy engineers from defusing it.

  • Use as little metal as possible, to make location
    by metal detectors more difficult.
  • Mines made mostly from plastic are also very
    cheap to produce

  • Wide variety of designs
  • Makes detection and disarming very difficult

  • Claymores

  • Claymores
  • Stake mines

  • Claymores
  • Stake mines
  • Bounding fragmentation mines

  • Often deliberately designed to maim, rather than
  • Stabilizing and evacuating an injured soldier
    hampers an actively fighting force
  • More resources are taking up by caring for an
    injured solder than dealing with a dead soldier
  • Cheap and easy to make, around 1 each
  • (can cost more than 1000 to find and destroy)

Marking minefields
  • Ideally, minefields laid by armies should be well
    marked, to prevent friendly troops from entering
  • All mines locations should be recorded, since
    warning signs can be removed or destroyed, and so
    safe routes through the mine fields can be
    followed by friendly soldiers

Unreliable marking
  • In the fog of war protocols are not always
    accurately followed
  • New landmines designed to be scattered by
    helicopter, plane, by artillery, or ejected from
    cruise missiles, make precise recording
  • (US air deployed mines have a self-deactivating
    design, but reliability is uncertain)

Deliberately unmarked fields
  • Non-state armies (rebel groups, guerilla
    fighters) do not reliably uphold these
  • Often, their goal is to spread fear and panic in
    the community, and deliberately terrorize
    civilians. So mined areas are deliberately not
  • Such tactics were regularly employed in the
    Southern African conflicts throughout the 70s
    and 80s
  • Angola, Mozambique, Nambia, South Africa,
    Zimbabwe, are still plagued with landmines as a

Landmines are indiscriminate
  • The vast majority of victims are civilians, not
  • According to the Landmine Monitor Report 2003,
    only 15 of reported casualties were military

Mines remain after conflict ends
  • Most of the countries where casualties are
    reported are at peace
  • In 2002-2003, 41 of the 65 countries that
    reported new mine casualties were not
    experiencing any armed conflict
  • Landmines placed during WWI sometimes still cause
    deaths in parts of Europe and North Africa

Long term costs to survivors
  • Permanent disability is almost certain
  • A growing child needs a prosthetic limb
    frequently refitted each year, and few can afford
  • Many face social exclusion, such as being seen as
    unfit to marry
  • Some children never return to school after their

Long term costs to survivors
  • A death might cost a family their primary
  • For survivors, vocational training and support is
    often unavailable
  • Many struggle to make a living after their
    accident, and become a burden on their families
  • Victims often end up begging on the streets

Mines hamper recovery after conflict ends
  • People in some of the poorest countries are
    deprived of their productive land and
  • Farm lands, orchards, irrigation canals, and
    wells may no longer be accessible
  • Mines cut off access to economically important
    areas, such as roads, dams, and electricity

Mines hamper recovery after conflict ends
  • Landmines slow repatriation of refugees after a
    conflict ceases, or prevent it altogether
  • They hamper the delivery of relief services, and
    injure or kill aid workers

Widespread problem
  • More than 75 countries are affected by
    undetonated mines
  • Some of the most contaminated places
  • Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Bosnia
    Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chechnya, Colombia, Iraq,
    Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India, and Pakistan

Widespread problem
  • Nobody knows how many mines are still in the
    ground worldwide
  • The actual number is less important than their
  • It can only take a few mines, or just the
    suspicion of their presence, to make an area

  • Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
  • AKA Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions
    on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which
    May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to
    Have Indiscriminate Effects
  • AKA The CCW
  • Was an amendment to the Geneva Conventions of
  • Concluded in Geneva on October 1980, went in to
    force in December 1983
  • Amended again in 1996

  • Consisted of 5 protocols
  • Protocol II concerns Prohibitions or
    Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps,
    and Other Devices
  • Prohibits the use of non-self-destructing or
    non-self-deactivating mines outside fenced,
    monitored, and marked areas

  • Unfortunately, CCW lacked specific mechanisms to
    ensure verification and enforcement of
    compliance, and had no formal process for
    resolving disputes about compliance.
  • The US only signed 2 of the 5 protocols, the
    minimum required to be considered a signatory

Continue Toll
  • NGOs continued to see toll mines took in the
    various communities they had been working in, in
    Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America
  • They knew only a complete ban would adequately
    address the problem

  • The International Campaign to Ban Land Mines
    (ICBL) was launched in 1992
  • Formed from 6 NGOs (Handicap International, Human
    Rights Watch, Medico International, Mines
    Advisory Group, Physicians for Human Rights, and
    Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation)
  • Lobbied governments and rallied public support
    for a complete ban

Celebrity Support
  • The late Princess Diana focused attention on the
    problem of landmines, and the need for a ban
  • Visited Angola and Bosnia with mine clearing
    organizations, and focused the media spotlight on
    the victims
  • Her work brought increased public support and
    pressure on governments to sign the treaty

The Mine Ban Treaty
  • The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use,
    Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of
    Anti-Personnel Mines and Their Destruction
  • AKA The Mine Ban Treaty
  • Signed by 122 governments in Ottawa, Canada in
    December 1997

The Requirements
  • Signatories must stop production and deployment
    of anti-personnel mines
  • They must destroy all anti-personnel mines in its
    possession within 4 years
  • (A small number of mines may remain for purposes
    of training mine detection and clearance)
  • Within 10 years, the country should have cleared
    all of its mined areas
  • Mine affected countries are eligible for
    international assistance for mine clearance and
    victim assistance once they sign the Mine Ban

Signatories to the Treaty
  • As of August 2007, 155 State Parties had signed
  • Only 40 states remain outside the treaty
  • Notable exclusions
  • China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Pakistan,
    Russia, Syria, and United States

US Refusal to Sign
  • The US refuses to sign the treaty because it does
    not offer a Korean exception
  • Argues landmines are crucial to its strategy in
    South Korea
  • One million mines along the DMZ between North and
    South Korea
  • Believes it maintains a delicate peace by
    deterring a North Korean attack

US Contribution to the Problem
  • U.S. used antipersonnel mines in Vietnam, Korea,
    and first Gulf War
  • From 1969-1992, U.S. exported over 5 million
    antipersonnel mines to over 30 countries
  • Those include Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia,
    Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua,
    Rwanda, Somalia, and Vietnam
  • U.S. made mines have been found in at least 28 of
    these mine affected countries or regions

Worldwide Recognition
  • The coordinator of the International Campaign to
    Ban Landmines, Jody Williams, won the 1997 Nobel
    Peace Prize for her work

Current Status
  • Landmines continue to pose a threat to citizens
  • The most landmine affected countries are
    Afghanistan, Angola, and Cambodia
  • The middle east has been called the landmine
    heartland, with tens of millions of buried

Current Status
  • Every 28 minutes, someone steps on a landmine
  • Landmines are estimated to kill or injure
    approximately 18,000 people every year

Continued Mine Use
  • Only 2 states continue to deploy new mines
  • Myanmars military forces continue to use
    antipersonnel mines extensively
  • Russia continues to use mines, primarily in
    Chechnya, but also in Dagestan and on the borders
    of Tajikistan and Georgia

Continued Mine Use
  • Israel may have laid antipersonnel mines in the
    2006 conflict with South Lebanon
  • Russian peacekeepers claim Georgian military
    forces laid new landmines, despite its moratorium
    on landmine use

Cessation of Use
  • Nepal, with its cease-fire in 2006
  • Angola, since the April 2002 peace agreement
  • Sri Lanka, since the cease-fire in 2001
  • Rebel use has stopped in Angola, Sri Lanka,
    Macedonia, Senegal, and Uganda

The Bad News
  • 13 countries still produce or retain the right to
    produce antipersonnel mines
  • Forty countries outside the Mine Ban Treaty
    together possess 160 million antipersonnel mines

New Production
  • The ICBL identified the following countries as
    manufacturing landmines as of August 2004
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam
  • Burma
  • Nepal
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • United States

US Production
  • US has failed to adopt sign the Mine Ban Treaty,
    or adopt an official moratorium
  • Since US stockpiles are at capacity, there had
    not been any US based production of antipersonnel
    mines since 1997

Bush Administration Policy
  • February 2004, President Bush announced his
    landmine policy
  • No intention of joining the Mine Ban Treaty
  • Continued development and production of
    antipersonnel mines
  • (although self-destructing/deactivating)

Companies Producing Mines
  • In the US, no company produces mines from
    beginning to end
  • Companies only produce component parts, which are
    assembled in government-owned, contractor
    operated army ammunition plants

Companies Producing Mines
  • Seventeen US companies, formerly involved in
    producing antipersonnel mines, declined to
    renounce future production
  • AAI Corp
  • Allen-Bradley
  • Alliant Techsystems, Inc.
  • Accudyne Corp
  • Ferrulmatic, Inc.
  • CAPCO, Inc.
  • Dale Electronics, Inc.
  • Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc.
  • General Electric
  • Lockheed Martin Corp.
  • Mohawk Electrical Systems, Inc.
  • Nomura Enterprise, Inc.
  • Parlex Corp.
  • Quantic Industries, Inc.
  • Raytheon
  • Thiokol Corp.
  • Vishay Sprague

New US Production
  • In July 2006, Pentagon announced it had awarded
    contracts to two companies or the development of
    a new landmine system
  • (Alliant Techsystems, and Textron Systems)
  • Called the Spider
  • Deploys triplines, that can be activated remotely
    by a monitoring soldier
  • May also be activated by the victim (as in a
    conventional mine)

New US Production
  • Congress stalled the production by requiring the
    Pentagon to first study the possible
    indiscriminate consequences of deploying this
  • The issue is only delayed until the study is
    submitted to Congress

Removing Mines
  • Even after production is halted, mines must be
    removed from the ground

Removing Mines
  • Mechanical Devices
  • Mine flails may only be 80 effective (good
    enough for military use)

Removing Mines
  • For Humanitarian De-mining, UN sets a standard
    of 99.6 removal
  • Communities must feel safe returning to their
  • Most mines must be detected and
    removed/deactivated by hand

Removing Mines
  • Humanitarian De-miners first try to restore
    access to productive land and vital
  • For example clearing a path to a water source,
    or a village school

Removing Mines
  • De-mining by hand is time consuming, labor
    intensive, and dangerous
  • Mines are rarely placed in flat, open fields
  • Terrain is often rocky and steep

Removing Mines
  • Proper protective equipment is expensive

Removing Mines
  • Some countries can not afford such protective

Possible New Methods
  • Gambian Giant Pouched Rat
  • Can be trained with food rewards to find certain
  • Too small to set off the mines

Possible New Methods
  • Honey bees
  • May be trained to detect chemical odors from mines

Possible New Methods
  • The mustard Arabidopsis thaliana normally turns
    red under harsh conditions
  • Scientists have bred a strain that turns red in
    response to the nitrous oxide that leaks from
    landmines and other explosives

Possible New Methods
  • A bacterium has been genetically engineered that
    will fluoresce under UV light in the presence of
  • Could be sprayed over an entire field to detect

Some Good News
  • Since the Mine Ban Treaty
  • World-wide production has fallen considerably
  • Trade has almost come to a halt

Some Good News
  • In 2006, over 450 square km of mined land was
    cleared and put back into productive use

Some Good News
  • Mine risk education reached 7.3 million people,
    to protect them from the danger of mines

Some Good News
  • Since the treaty, there has been widespread
    destruction of stockpiled mines

What You Can Do
  • Support organizations that aid countries in
    clearing mined fields, providing assistance to
    victims, and lobby for continued government
    action against landmines
  • Volunteer time and money

What You Can Do
  • HALO (Hazardous Area Life-Support Organization)
  • A British and American NPO whose purpose is to
    remove landmines and unexploded ordinance left
    behind after a war
  • Operates in 9 countries, and has over 7000
  • Largest operation is in Afghanistan
  • Has removed 30,000 mines in Angola since the end
    of their war in 1994

What You Can Do
  • Clear Path International
  • Assists the civilian victims of landmines and
    other explosive remnants of war
  • Supports prosthetic clinics
  • Delivers prostheses to remote areas far from
    medical care

What You Can Do
  • Adopt-A-Minefield Campaign
  • Works primarily through the UN to clear mine
    fields in some of the most heavily mined
    countries in the world
  • Works with a number of organizations to provide
    relief to landmine survivors
  • Cleared over 21 million square meters of land in
    Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
    Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam
  • Provided over 1.5 million for survivor
    assistance projects

What You Can Do
  • Marshall Legacy Institute
  • Contributors can sponsor a mine-detection dog

What you can do
  • Support the International Campaign to Ban
  • Challenge elected officials (and candidates) to
    sign the Mine Ban Treaty

Cluster Bombs
Cluster Bomb Design
  • Air dropped or ground launched munitions that
    eject a number of smaller munitions (bomblets)
  • Variety of designs
  • Variety of types of bomblets
  • Anti-personnel
  • Incendiary
  • Anti-tank
  • Anti-runway
  • Anti-electrical

Cluster Bomb Design
  • Depending on the type and size of cluster bomb, a
    single munition may contain over 2000 bomblets

Large Strike Area
  • Bomblets are scattered over a very wide area
  • The area hit by a single cluster munition can be
    as large as 2 or 3 football fields.
  • With such a wide area, civilians are frequently
    hit inadvertently

Unexploded Ordinance
  • Not all bomblets detonate on impact
  • They remain live, and can explode if handled
  • Essentially act as landmines

Intrinsic Failure Rate
  • For example
  • U.S. made M26 warheads with M77 submunitions are
    designed to have a 5 dud rate
  • In reality, they have a dud rate closer to 16
  • M483A1 DPICM artillery delivered cluster bombs
    have a reported dud rate of 14

Small Failures Add Up
  • Given that each cluster bomb contains hundreds of
    bomblets, and are fired in volleys
  • even a small failure rate can lead to hundreds
    or thousands of unexploded ordinances scattered

Continue to be a Danger
  • Like landmines, they may still be live and deadly
    even many years after deployed

Unintended Deadliness
  • Some cluster bomblets are brightly colored to
    increase their visibility and warn off civilians
  • However, the color, combined with their small and
    non-threatening appearance, cause children to
    interpret them as toys

Tragic Oversight
  • In the War in Afghanistan, humanitarian rations
    dropped from airplanes were in similar yellow
    colored packaging as undetonated BLU-97B bomblets
  • After several deaths, the humanitarian packages
    were changed to blue, then to transparent, to try
    to avoid such confusion

Ongoing Deaths
  • In Vietnam, people are still being killed from
    cluster bombs dropped by U.S. and Vietnamese
    forces up to 300 every year
  • Unexploded cluster bombs kill more civilians in
    post-war Kosovo than landmines
  • Citizens in Lebanon are being injured and killed
    by unxploded bomblets left from the 2006 conflict
    with Irseal
  • Cluster bomblets kill and maim civilians in Iraq
    and Afghanistan as we try to gain local support

  • Protocol V of the UN Convention on Certain
    Conventional Weapons covers explosive remnants
    of war
  • Sometimes applied to the topic of cluster
  • Has little power to enforce, and the primary
    users of cluster weapons are not signatories

Cluster Munitions Coalition
  • Following failure of the CCW review in 2006 to
    effectively address the humanitarian crisis of
    cluster munitions, CMC begun
  • A network of more than 200 NGOs, faith-based
    groups, and professional organizations
  • Includes global organizations, such as Handicap
    International, International Campaign to Ban
    Landmines, and Human Rights Watch

The Oslo Process
  • Through the CMC, the Norwegian Government, along
    with Austria, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and
    Peru, announced its intention to establish a new
    international process to establish a treaty
    banning cluster bombs
  • Will also increase clearance of contaminated
    land, and provide assistance to victims
  • In Feb 2007, 46 nations met in Oslo, committed
    themselves to completing this treaty by 2008, and
    began to shape the document
  • As of November 2007, 84 states were participating
    in the Oslo Process

Taking an Example from the Mine Ban Treaty
  • CMC is calling on governments to make a strong
    and comprehensive treaty, that will make a real
    difference in peoples lives, without exceptions,
    delays, or loopholes
  • Government must publicly endorse the previous
    draft in order to participate in the next
  • Despite not being a superpower, smaller countries
    are taking decisive steps, and not waiting for
    larger countries to come around

Global Day of Action
  • The Global Day of Action to Ban Cluster Bombs
  • April 19, 2008
  • Occurs one month before the Dublin Diplomatic
    Conference on Cluster Munitions (May 19-30, 2008)

What You Can Do
  • Get involved!
  • CMC gives advice on organizing events to
    demonstrate public support, raise awareness, and
    pressure governments to ban cluster munitions

What You Can Do
  • Question candidates about their position on
    cluster munitions
  • A September 6, 2006, the Senate amendment to ban
    the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas was
    voted on
  • Senator Clinton voted no
  • Senator Obama voted yes

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