A deadly legacy
Mine Awareness: Today, April 4, is the International Day for
Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Landmines kill, injure and
orphan children. In many mine-affected countries, children account for
one in every five landmine victims. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people
are killed or maimed by landmines every year, according to the
International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
* In Cambodia children accounted for up to 50 percent of landmines
casualties as recently as 2005, according to the Cambodian Red Cross. *
Children are often attracted by the intriguing and colourful appearance
of landmines and explosive remnants of war, including cluster munitions.
* Children are far more likely to die from landmine injuries than
adults. An estimated 85 percent of child victims of landmines die before
reaching the hospital.
* Children, particularly refugees and displaced children returning
home, are in particular danger of landmines because they are most likely
to be unaware of the dangers of playing in or traversing hazardous
* Children's landmine injuries include loss of their sight or hearing
and lost fingers, toes and limbs.
* Without adequate medical treatment, children injured by landmines
are often pulled out of school. They face limited future prospects for
education and employment and are often perceived as a burden to their
* Landmines devastate the lives of children when their parents or
caregivers are injured or killed. When mothers are maimed or killed,
children are less likely to receive adequate nutrition, immunized or
protected from exploitation. When fathers fall victim to landmines,
children are often forced out of school and into work to supplement
* The cost of providing long-term care for child landmine victims can
be prohibitive. Rehabilitation clinics are often too far away or too
expensive to access.
* Uncleared landmines prevent access to reconstruct homes, roads,
schools, health facilities and other essential services. They deny
access to farmland and irrigation.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance violate nearly all the articles of
the Convention on the Rights of the Child: a child's right to life, to a
safe environment in which to play, to health, clean water, sanitary
conditions and adequate education.