Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Banning Landmines, by Eliza

So long as there is war and conflict in the world, there will be humanitarian emergencies. So long as there are landmines in the ground, people will be deprived of their basic right to a decent life; communities will be denied the opportunity to prosper; nations will be depleted of resources needed to rebuild and develop. Yet with the continued support of Member States, we have the means to end this suffering. To that end, the United Nations Mine Action Service is one of our most precious resources.
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Landmines are horrible things. Originally used by the military, they are placed in the ground, where people can't see them and are activated when stepped on. When people step on them, they are seriously injured. This makes it hard to create safe communities, and for refugees to return home. Every year, thousands of people die from stepping on one, and many live in the poorest parts of the world.

Landmines date back to the Greek and Roman empires. However, it was during the second World War that they began being used widely for defensive and tactical reasons, and to achieve military objectives. Many of the mines were not immediately cleared. Many European countries still live with the threat from the second World War. In the 1960s, technology was developed so landmines could be scattered in large quantities by machine. Thousands covered the land during the Vietnam War. In the 1980s, mines became a weapon of choice in many internal conflicts. They were very inexpensive, another reason to use them. In 1992 six humanitarian organizations joined together the create the :

The work of the ICBL, which grew to more than 1400 non-governmental organizations, in partnership with the Committee of the Red Cross, The UN and governments worldwide (can you believe that the U.S. government is not one of them?!), aims to make the history of landmines a short one.

Landmines make me sick, and I'm going to do everything Ican to stop them. I saw one when I went to the UN with my mom and grandmother. Our tourguide said some children had seen them, and thought they where toys. They did look like yo-yo's. It's not just feet that get injured, but hands, too. I can't imagine living somewhere, and not having anywhere safe to go, not even home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yea. I think it's so unfair. I feel bad for the men that had to go through that...