Landmines: A legacy of war

International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2015

Anti-personnel landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) are a malign presence across the world. They continue to do great harm long after conflicts have ended and peace agreements signed. In the past decade, over 50,000 people have lost limbs or lives to these weapons.

The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is observed throughout the world on 4 April every year. It serves as a reminder to the international community to help establish and develop national mine-action capacities in countries where mines and ERW are a serious threat to the safety – even the lives – of civilians or an impediment to social and economic development.

In late 2013 and in 2014, the ICRC sent five photographers to five countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Laos, Mozambique and Nicaragua – to document the human toll exacted by mines and other ERW. The images capture both the dedicated work of those involved in clearance operations, and the anguish and resilience of survivors. View the gallery.

The ICRC is active in mine-clearance efforts in many other countries, such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, India, Iraq, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, Peru, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Yemen. It collects and analyses data, and surveys and clears landmines and other ERW; it also undertakes activities in connection with risk reduction and risk education. In addition, victims of landmines and ERW benefit from physical rehabilitation, surgical care and economic security programmes provided by the ICRC.

For information on the ICRC's work to help people with physical disabilities, go to: