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Right to life liberty and security of person

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Article 3: Right to life liberty and security of person

  • Antipersonnel landmines kill or maim thousands of people each year. Most are civilians. Many are children.
  • Long after wars in different areas of the world have ended, the indiscriminate use of land mines continue to deny the right to life and liberty of large numbers of civilians.
  • The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), launched in 1991, brings together over 1,400 groups in over 90 countries who work locally, nationally, regionally and internationally to ban antipersonnel landmines.
  • The broad range of these groups is noticeable. They specialise in human rights, women's and children's rights, peace, disability, ex-combatants, medical expertise, humanitarian mine action, development, arms control, religion and the environment.


During 2002, India and Pakistan have been laying landmines along their disputed border in Kashmir, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).

The ICBL says it is possibly the largest deployment of mines in decades.

Mary Wareham, the Landmine Monitor Report's global co-ordinator, recently said: "Mine-laying in India and Pakistan is startling because of the length of the border and the length of the minefields and their proximity to villages and farming land."

Numerous civilians and soldiers have died as a result of the landmines laid on both sides of the Line of Control in the disputed region of Kashmir.

After declaring ceasefires in 2002, both Angola and Sri Lanka have stopped using landmines.

However the ICBL has reported that the governments of Burma, Russia and to a lesser extent Nepal, Somalia and Georgia continue to use the device.

Campaign History

In 1991, several non-governmental organisations and individuals began to discuss the need to coordinate initiatives and a ban on antipersonnel landmines.

Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, Medico International, Mines Advisory Group, Physicians for Human Rights, and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation came together in October 1992 to formalise the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).

The Campaign calls for an international ban on the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of antipersonnel landmines. It also proposes increased international resources for humanitarian mine clearance and mine victim assistance programmes.

International Response

Governments around the world responded to the campaign by negotiating the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.

The Mine Ban Treaty prohibits, in all circumstances, any use of antipersonnel landmines.

It also requires that stockpiles be destroyed within four years of the treaty's entry into force, and that mines already in the ground be destroyed within ten years.


The treaty entered into force on 1 March, 1999. As of 25 September, 2002, 145 countries had signed or acceded to the treaty, of which 129 have ratified. The most recent accession was Afghanistan.

The ICBL said more than a dozen governments, among them Greece, Indonesia, Turkey and Yugoslavia, had announced their intention to join.

In contrast, the United States, Russia and China are among 50 countries that so far have refused to sign the treaty. The US is believed to have a stockpile of 11.2 million landmines.

In 1997, the ICBL and its co-ordinator, Jody Williams, received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Plan of Action

Today, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines network represents over 1,100 groups in over 60 countries, who work locally, nationally, regionally, and internationally to ban antipersonnel landmines.

Its goals as outlined in its 2004 Plan of Action are:
  • Universalisation of the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT)
  • Compliance with the treaty provisions
  • Increased resource commitments from government and international financial institutions for mine clearance, mine awareness and victim assistance, and for stockpile destruction, and
  • Firm establishment of the norms outlined in the treaty as an international standard of behaviour by all.