The Return of Landmines

The Trump administration is reviving the use of landmines.  The state department’s cable announcing it said that it would only consider landmines with “technologically advanced safeguards” meaning mines which could self-destruct or mines which can be detonated by remote control. With the exception of Afghanistan in 2002, the US has not used landmines since 1991 and has not produced any since 1997. The treaty banning landmines was signed by 164 nations including all of the US NATO allies. The US however did not sign the treaty wanting to reserve the right to use them in the Korean peninsula. Nevertheless since 1997much progress was made towards destroying the stockpile.  Rob Berschinski who worked on landmine policy in the Obama administration and who is now with Human Rights First says that “…they’re not only massively harmful to civilians after war’s end, but they’re also of very negligible military utility.” Landmine Monitor, an organization which monitors landmines, estimates that between 1999 and 2018 there has been 130,000 casualties, mainly civilians.

This may be another instance of the administration rolling back the policies of its predecessor, but it is also a way to erase progress that was made toward creating a more harmless more humane world.

The Landmines Problem

For some of us, the problem with land mines is an old one, and the fact that it continues is and should be a blot on our conscience.  The casualties are increasing, for 2016, the last year for which there are statistics, there were 8,605 casualties, a number which includes 2089 deaths.  These numbers represent about 25% more than the casualties the year before and are more than double the number for 2014.  Much of the damage is done by cluster landmines. As their name indicates, they are Continue reading “The Landmines Problem”