IRRC No. 298

Mines — Introductory statement by the ICRC

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The immense problems created by the indiscriminate laying of mines are now beginning to be recognized. ICRC surgeons have for some time reported that some of the worst injuries they see are caused by mines, and it was our Medical Division that decided it was essential to study this problem thoroughly from all relevant angles. As a result, in April 1993 the ICRC organized a multidisciplinary symposium on antipersonnel mines. The symposium gathered information on the present use of mines and the humanitarian and social consequences of such use, the trade in mines, the technical characteristics of mines, mine clearance, the professional military use of mines and the legal situation. The symposium was attended not only by specialists in these fields, but also by a representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a number of non-governmental organizations that had begun to take a serious interest in the problem and some journalists. As a result, there is now more information available on the various problems caused by mines. More important, the efforts undertaken by interested persons to draw the attention of governments to the need for action have begun to bear fruit: several governments have declared a moratorium on their mines exports, the United Nations has just adopted a resolution setting up a fund for demining operations, and possible further restrictions on the use of mines will be discussed in 1994 during a United Nations conference which will review a treaty on the use of conventional weapons.

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