Landmines and Cluster Bombs: a worldwide plague

It is hoped that this page will help to raise awareness of this problem.
Some of this information is a little dated: the page was first written (in some anger) after a visit to Cambodia in 1996.

This page has been translated into the following languages:
Language Thanks to:
Hindi Nathan Zed
These pages have a no-advertising policy. Human-made translations are welcome, & will be credited as above, but purely mechanical translations to benefit search rankings will not be accepted.

The comments about landmines apply equally to cluster bombs, which technically skirt the prohibitions against landmines. But these weapons are so frequently defective, leaving a live bomb waiting for a child, that their effects are similar.
For example, the American CBU-58 is designed for a reliability of 95%. With 650 submunitions per bomb, that means 38 possible duds, and 38 legless children.
These effects are so similar to landmines, that I suspect they are intentionally used in that way. Do some countries (you know who you are) intentionally fit "defective" fuzes, so as to act as deniable landmines? I wonder...




Landmine Typical anti-personnel mine Cluster Typical cluster bomblet Mine victim Legless Child, Cambodia.
Photo: Landmines Blow!

Historical note: Presently, the term "landmine" is used for any explosive trap placed on land, whether intended for humans or vehicles. During World War II, such devices were simply termed "mines", with "landmine" reserved for German naval mines dropped on land by parachute, as an improvised bomb. This page uses "landmine" in its modern sense, with particular reference to anti-personnel (rather than anti-vehicle) mines.

Landmine facts:

Mine clearance

Mine-clearance operations proceed entirely differently in a military or humanitarian situation.
Military mine-clearance is commonly directed toward clearing a path for one's troops to advance. Speed is of the essence, and a limited clearance rate (maybe 80%) is acceptable. The advancing troops will take casualties due to enemy fire, so limited additional casualties due to uncleared mines are acceptable.
Humanitarian demining may take as long as required, but 100% clearance is mandatory. One mine missed is one legless child.

Humanitarian mine clearance proceeds in 3 steps:


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