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What is Mine Action?

Mine action makes the world safe from landmines. But it involves more than simply getting rid of these deadly, dangerous weapons. Mine action also focuses on relieving the human suffering caused by landmines, and addresses the impact of these weapons have on children and their families who live in areas where landmines have been placed.

Landmines and UXO do more than hurt and kill people, they cause great damage to the entire area where they have been used. Their presence makes it difficult for countries to recover from war and armed conflicts and for people to begin to rebuild and live freely. Mine Action means exploring the landmine problem from many angles, and helping solve it in a connected way.

According to the United Nations, the five core components of mine action are:

  1. Mine clearance to remove landmines and UXO from the ground;
  2. Risk reduction education to help people learn about the weapons, to find out where and how they are hidden, and to help reduce accidents among people living in mine-affected areas;
  3. Victim assistance to help those who have been injured by mines;
  4. Advocacy to support a total ban on antipersonnel landmines;
  5. Stockpile destruction to help countries destroy their stockpiled landmines and meet their obligations under the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Convention.

An integrated approach (which combines the activities listed above) is needed in mine action because mine clearance is a slow and costly process. Unfortunately, all the landmines and UXO cannot always be identified and removed before people who’ve been displaced by conflict return to their communities. This makes mine risk education and survivors’ assistance very important. Mine risk education helps educate the population about the danger of landmines, so they can learn what to watch out for and to avoid being hurt. Victim’s assistance provides help and rehabilitation for survivors who have been injured in mine or UXO related accidents. Stockpile destruction destroys existing landmines which have never been “placed” as weapons, and therefore reduces the global numbers of mines in existence. Advocacy makes sure that national governments respect international laws that call for the destruction OF these landmines, and prevent the use of new landmines and other weapons of war.


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