A mine-free world: Detonating the safety vision of demining

no picture Mireille Maddah
Member since January 12, 2019
  • 1 Post

Free source: Wikimedia commons

Free source: Wikimedia commons

We step foot outside of our homes, every day, thinking we are returning back to our comfortable ambiances and sheltered atmospheres. Our homes and our interpretation of what makes them, differ from each person living atop of this planet, but many of us can collectively agree on the common denominator that we leave these solid safe-places in anticipation to return back to them at the end of a stagnant day.

What if, one day, you leave your home and return back to it only to discover that your own safe space has been transformed into an area of inevitable human catastrophe and life-threatening situations because of external factors outside of your control? This is the gut-wrenching realization that numerous people have to face when knowing that nearby fields and lands have been implanted by explosive mines which put their lives in danger.

History of Painstaking Conflicts & Law Significance.

Demining; a problem that results when erupted conflicts come to a presumable end and the involved parties have reached a point of a stagnant peace agreement, or maybe one of the parties has succeeded the other to a disputable defeat. Either scenario leaves multiple impacts coming from warring wars, creating even more victims, especially within the civilians, than either parties have anticipated from the beginning.

The explosive remnants of war (ERW) act as latent functions; products of previously held violent actions that lead to a secondary violent impact. Over the years, mining explosives is a war tactic used by war adversaries and different opponents as an abusive strategy to cause fear among the communities’ civilians, as well as, deterring possible militants from the opposing sides that were part of the combating areas within a state. there have been an immense number of conventions and treaties, guided by both international humanitarian law and custom law, concerning subjects of war when they come across usage of such ammunition and munitions in different battles – most notably, the ‘Ottawa Convention’ or what is also known as the ‘Mine Ban Treaty’ whose statutes have been stipulated on September 1997.[1]

That particular treaty has been ratified, amongst several signed conventions, between a variety of signatory states that all have agreed that when using mines, there must be a contextual element that is present prior to them. Not only will these ammunitions and shells be put under a thorough inspection from the involved parties, where each side is fully responsible for its militant ethics and in what form they are put to use; but also, when to create that rudimentary line-in-the-sand for their violent limitations, no matter how quintessential these mines may be to tip the balance in favor of either intervening parties.

It is worth mentioning that law, particularly international law, has been one of the principle reasons why the subject of demining has been promoted into a global issue that should be focused upon by the entire international community and its components of state-members. Due to the high number of binding treaties over the course of history, we have come to notice that it is because of the recurrence of such law-abiding covenants and pacts, made possible by the solicited international organizations, that we have to fully fathom the importance of demining and the type of inhumane repercussions that might linger in different states if demining was not practiced and applied. From the ‘Paris Deceleration’ to the ‘Geneva Convention’ to even adopting a number of articles from the Nuremberg trials; all of these have been vital milestones in the trajectory of creating a solid floor for bringing any party that uses the problematic matter of mines to the feasible sources of justice.[2]

These adopted treaties allow different states to comprehend the magnitude of mines’ usage and the right terms and definitions of these catastrophic usages of weaponry. It is of utmost necessity for states to understand the content of these mines and what they exactly stand for, so they can be avoided within possible conflicts. The articles of these binding conventions have, also, emphasized the act of retaining accurate information on the number and types of all of the existing and abandoned explosive underground items, because only then will reports be made on the specific regions on where these mines are located and the civilian population that lives around these threatening areas. After all, beneficial efforts can only be built above the shoulders of experts.

Present Images of the Past.

According to the reports issues by the “Landmine and Clusters Munition Monitor” that was developed by the Danish Demining Group (DDG), there are still several international regions that are densely saturated by mines, shells, and morbid explosive items which still until today threaten those who live within these contaminated areas. Around the world, no less than 80 states contain fields that were either affected by mines and have been thus far entirely cleansed from them, or fields that are still under alarming supervision due to incomplete demining procedures over the years.[3] The latter describes states that haven’t had the sustainable amount of funding to continue with the demining forward; the ones that are impoverished yet focus on livelihood issues and food security obtainment, rather than the urgency of demining.

However, although all of these issues should be subjected to solutions, especially concerning matters of nutrition and providing a secured source of food for those who are living within poverty’s framework, or even far below the poverty’s line itself; there should be an intensive care given to the demining scope and its importance in helping these same people’s livelihood. Internal security and safety are not to be belittled, hence why providing a living area that is free of any mine threats and abandoned war debris is a point that should be put within the ranks of absolute priority.

All type of cluster bombs, munitions, shells, and any other form of these ammunitions are hostile objects that can be found on roads, desserts, detours, conjunctions, farmers’ fields and in all other places in which people carry out their normal daily activities; places that these same innocent civilians should not have to ponder, let alone worry, about the possibility of mines being found in these areas. This is why reporting and recording the geographical and statistical logistics regarding the information obtained on the mines’ statuses are of crucial importance.

The perplexity that involves mines is one that should merit focus on, because the type pf threat that it gradually forms is not one that is of direct characteristics but, alas, of upheaval consequences that can be manifested in the future when such mines come into physical contact.

The human impact, that this global issue created, has been one of alarming results that were solidified through the multiple victims that fell prey under these fearsome objects. This impact can include loss of physical autonomy; loss of capacity to work or live; as well as social estrangement from family, alongside of the inevitable scarring injuries.

Most of the mines that witness reports being recorded on, are ones that are labeled under the banner of “anti-personnel”, which means that they are only activated once they come into physical contact with the victim. Hence, the risk factor is undeniably high when tackling landmines.

A Priority to Be Seen.

When facing the spectrum of global issues that should be held in an urgent accountability; one can recognize the threshold of the humane-based priorities that should be addressed, first and foremost, such as poverty or sanitary water sources.

Nonetheless, demining is an equally important topic that should be handled in full optimization and not with any less revisionism. Through the development of some of the most innovative techniques and gadgets that can help us, one day, to reach the ultimate dream of commencing these demining procedures but without risking the actual life of people, is an assisting factor in locating and solving several mine fields all around the world.

We can no longer live with the plight of witnessing people losing their lives, and even seeing some of their loved ones being lost, to the incomprehensible effects that mine fields can cause. Acting with precision, relatively fast, and with the professional assistance of the most designated non-governmental organizations that lead the way through their demining experts – will can be one step closer to detonating the fear and terror of mines and their contamination all around the globe.

[1] Mine Ban Treaty text. (1997, September 21). Retrieved October, 2018, from http://www.un.org/Depts/mine/UNDocs/ban_trty.htm Convention On the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and On Their Destruction

[2] (Historical), B. D. (n.d.). Treaties, States parties, and Commentaries - By date (Historical). Retrieved October, 2018, from https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/vwTreatiesHistoricalByDate.xsp

[3] Mine Contamination as of October 2013. (2013, November). Retrieved October, 2018, from http://danishdemininggroup.dk/media/1646542/2013_mbt_contamination.pdf, Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor

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