For over 15 years Handicap International (HI) has been involved in the fight against antipersonnel landlines and cluster munitions. At the beginning of the 1990s, our teams made a damning observation – they were seeing an increasing number of amputees who had been victims of landmines.
Since 1995 Handicap International has worked with five other organisations to found the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). The campaign quickly grew and called for the total ban of antipersonnel mines. At the end of a long process, this call led to the signing of the Ottawa Treaty in 1997. In the same year, the ICBL was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 2005, although the number of new victims of landmines was decreasing, HI and its partners from the Cluster Munitions Coalition pointed to another scourge – cluster munitions. In a report, our organisations highlighted the fact that 98% of victims are civilians. Our call for the ban of cluster munitions was eventually heard and on 3 December 2009, 94 States signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo.
Action related to mines is carried out at several levels - lobbying, educating the population about the dangers of landmines and cluster munitions, clearing unexploded weapons of war and victim assistance.