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ICRC community-based mine/UXO awareness programme: background

20-04-2001

The history and mission of the mine/UXO (unexploded ordnance) awareness programme and the involvement of the ICRC in the landmines issue from the early 1990s as part of its efforts to help alleviate the suffering caused by war.

   

 
Mine awareness poster.

 
 

   

Ref.BA-N-00006-6 - Mine awareness in Republika Srpska using theater " Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf " .

 

The ICRC became heavily involved in the landmines issue in the early 1990s as part of its efforts to help alleviate the suffering caused by war. It was prompted to take action by the experience of its field staff, especially surgeons who were treating increasing numbers of mine victims, including an appalling proportion of civilians. 

In February 1994, together with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and a number of governments, the ICRC took the lead in a worldwide campaign for an international ban on anti-personnel landmines. In September 1997, the campaign culminated in the adoption of the Ottawa treaty, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of these devices.

In addition to securing a comprehensive ban, it was essential to address the problems posed by landmines not only through curative (i.e. war surgery and physical and psycho-social rehabilitation) programmes but also through preventive action. During this same period, the ICRC therefore became involved in mine awareness programmes designed to reduce the risk of death and injury by promoting safe behaviour and facilitating the adoption of appropriate solutions.

In 1996, in response to requests from the field, the first mine/UXO (unexploded ordnance) awareness programme was launched for civilians living in mine-affected areas in Bosnia/Herzegovina and Croatia. This led to the ICRC's involvement in the mine/UXO awareness programmes in many other contexts.

 
 

 Mine/UXO awareness  

    

Mine/UXO awareness programmes are generally set up in response to high levels of casualties or on the assumption that population movements (refugees returning to their countries, internally displaced persons returning to their villages, etc.) may lead to casualties.