International Mine Awareness Day (April 4, 2022)
The General Assembly declared in December of 2005 that International Mine Awareness Day would be observed on April 4 of each year. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) suggests that this day is used to reflect on the progress that has been made to raise awareness of the dangers posed by landmines. It is also an opportunity for people to commit/recommit to the goal of removing landmines and reducing the humanitarian consequences of landmines.
To become part of International Mine Awareness Day, people need to understand the landmine issue and to share information to help others become aware of how they can become part of the solution. There are many wonderful resources to learn more about landmines and how you can get involved.
The Marshall Legacy Institute www.marshall-legacy.org
International Campaign to Ban Landmines www.icbl.org
United Nations www.un.org
Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor www.the-monitor.org
Antipersonnel mines were first used during World War II, but the origination of similar weapons date back as far as the American Civil War.
There are currently more than 150 million active landmines scattered/buried and another 250 million stockpiled around the world. New mines are laid every day.
Landmines are generally buried about six inches below the surface of the ground. Sometimes they are just laid above the ground. Landmines buried in the ground can remain active for more than fifty years.
It takes a very small amount of pressure to detonate a landmine, and they do not know the difference between a soldier, a child, or an animal.
One person is killed by a landmine every 15 minutes which means that about 70 people are killed each day.
26,000 people are killed or injured by a landmine each year.
Mine action programs have resulted in the destruction of millions of mines, but there are still tens of millions of landmines contaminating more than 60 countries.
There are no landmines in the United States.
Searching for Landmines
At this time, searching for hidden landmines continues to be time consuming and dangerous. There are no new technologies to easily identify the locations of landmines, so countries impacted by landmines generally use one of the three following search tools.
Individual (deminer) using a stick to poke around the ground. This takes a lot of time and is very dangerous to the deminer. This is the slowest method.
A metal detector can allow a deminer to search a little quicker. The challenge with this method is that metal detectors will find metal remnants such as forks, jewelry, and other metal scraps. A metal detector only identifies metal objects, and many mines are made of plastic.
Mine detection dogs have proven to be a more efficient tool in searching for landmines. They have an incredible sense of smell, and dogs are able to detect plastic and metal. Mine detection dogs (MDDs) work in a team with a human handler. The team can search up to 30 times faster than a manual deminer without compromising accuracy.
The Marshall Legacy Institute - Part of the Landmine Solution
The Marshall Legacy Institute works to alleviate suffering and to promote hope, growth, and stability in war-torn countries.
To date, The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) has provided 273 mine detection dogs (MDDs) over the past twenty years.
47 MDDs have been provided by school children in the United States since 2007.
0 MDDs have been lost in the line of duty.
MLI has provided MDDs to 11 countries including Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eritrea, Iraq, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, and Thailand)
Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) was created in 2007 to empower young people in the US to connect with young people in countries impacted by landmines. Young people in the CHAMPS program become part of the solution by raising money to support landmine survivors and to provide mine detection dogs.
Peace Makers and Problem Solvers (PMPS) was established in 2018 to connect students in conflict impacted countries and the United States to develop leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills while creating service projects to positively impact their local communities.