Landmines are a long-term problem. They continue to maim and kill thousands of people each year, in spite of the substantial progress made by worldwide efforts to reduce their impact. Measures implementing the Ottawa treaty are now saving lives and helping reduce the economic damage wrought by antipersonnel landmines, but there is still much work and commitment required to ensure universal adherence to and full compliance with the treaty, and it will take decades to clear the mines already laid.
Similar in effect to landmines, other kinds of explosive devices, described as explosive remnants of war (ERW), pose a serious threat to civilians around the world.
As part of its mandate to protect and assist victims of armed conflict, the ICRC helps thousands of mine/ERW victims each year. It contributes to global efforts through its involvement in three areas of mine action: prom oting international humanitarian law treaties relating to landmines and the development of new rules on ERW; conducting mine awareness programmes; and providing medical care and rehabilitation services to the war-wounded.
In 2002 the ICRC:
gave hospital surgical care to some 1,500 mine/ERW victims, who accounted for over 10% of the more than 14,000 war-wounded treated in hospitals that it supported or ran
provided mine/ERW-injured amputees with 10,000 prostheses, which accounted for nearly 60% of the prostheses provided in the physical rehabilitation centres it ran or supported; extended support to 16 more projects, and supported and followed up others through the Special Fund for the Disabled
worked with National Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies to conducted mine/ERW-awareness activities in 16 countries, setting up new programmes in Iraq, Angola, and Kyrgyzstan
encouraged the ratification and implementation of the Ottawa Treaty and the amended Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW): organized and participated in national, regional and international conferences on the subject; advised governments and gave technical support as they developed national legislation and took other measures to meet treaty obligations
commissioned a comprehensive external evaluation of ICRC mine awareness programmes in the Balkans regions (see country sections and annex IV for more information)
worked with States Parties to the CCW to develop a mandate for the negotiations of a new protocol to address the ERW problem
spearheaded the implementation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s strategy on landmines
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