Landmines, Cluster Munitions, and Unexploded Ordnances

Children are particularly vulnerable to landmines, cluster munitions and unexploded ordnance in a number of ways. These devices sometimes look like toys and children who are curious are likely to pick up the strange objects. Children are also at risk because they may not recognize or be able to read warning signs. Children are far more likely to die from their mine injuries than are adults because of harm they do to their small bodies.

Causality figures in 2010

The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor reported 4,191 new causalities from mines, victim-activated improvised explosive devices, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of wars in 60 States in 2010. When looking only at civilian causalities in the last four years, each year, children have accounted for nearly half of the total number of victims. States with the most child causalities in 2010 were Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sudan, Lao PDR, Pakistan and Yemen. The majority of child causalities are boys because they are more involved than girls in outdoor activities such as herding livestock, gathering wood and food.

Effects beyond causalities

In many countries, child survivors have to end their education prematurely due to the period of recovery needed and the financial burden of rehabilitation on families. Even where children are not the direct victims, landmines and unexploded ordnance have an overwhelming impact on their lives, when a parent is a mine causality and is no longer able to work and to take care of the children. Landmines and unexploded ordnances impede post-conflict development and reconstruction, blocking access to land and other resources and pose risks to returnees and internally displaced children.

Regulation and ban of landmines and explosive remnants of war

Several international norms regulate or ban the use of landmines and explosive remnants of war including the International Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty (1997) and the Convention on Cluster Munitions (2008). Mine-risk education and securing stockpiled munitions as foreseen by the treaties, are the most effective short-term solutions to keeping children safe.