In-depth: The landmine hangover

 
Mines deprive rural communities of farmland and continue to cause injuries and death
People who dared to think of a world free of anti-personnel mines used to be viewed as altruists and idle dreamers, at odds with the world's realities, in which the weapons were seen as necessary and intrinsically valuable items in any armoury.

These days only a few countries possess them, and even fewer still use them.

But the deadly millions sown since such weapons were first used extensively in World War II, and then in numerous colonial liberation conflicts and civil wars, are a constant impediment to fragile societies coming to terms with peace.

The disgust of civil society for these weapons galvanized the movement that brought the Mine Ban Treaty into force in 1999. Yet more than 70 states are still affected by mines, and a "reliable determination of the size of the global landmine problem still does not exist", said the 2009 Landmine Monitor, a civil society network monitoring compliance with the treaty.

Landmines affect food security, and inflict death and injuries that increase the burden on already creaking health systems. Affected countries compete to obtain funding for mine clearance and risk education, while survivors speak eloquently and passionately of their return journey to acceptance by society.

These issues and more are explored in this special series of articles and photographs.

FRONTLINE REPORTS
Victims and survivors

AFGHANISTAN: Landmine deaths, injuries torment villagers
GLOBAL: A second life for landmine survivors
GLOBAL: Focus on victims at Mine Ban Treaty meeting
SENEGAL: Mine survivors need opportunities not handouts
MYANMAR: Lack of care for landmine victims
MOZAMBIQUE: Help for landmine victims hard to come by

Demining

SRI LANKA: Landmine clearance a long-haul effort
MOZAMBIQUE: Demining - the devil is in the detail
MOZAMBIQUE: Demining is not a never-ending story
AFGHANISTAN: The perils of mine clearance
SUDAN: Demining not just a man's job
ANGOLA: On trial - a faster more reliable way to clear mined roads
LEBANON: Deminers find new cluster bomb sites without Israeli data

Food security

SOMALIA: My farm "is full of mines"
SENEGAL: Youth who refuse to farm
GUINEA-BISSAU: Mine-free farms for the first time since 1974
SENEGAL: One landmine gone, hectares of farmland gained
SUDAN: The land is fertile yet food is scarce

Refugees

SRI LANKA: Landmines, unexploded ordnance a barrier to return
AFGHANISTAN: Returnees and displaced at high risk from landmines

UXO

SUDAN: UXO threat to development, elections
VIETNAM: Life-threatening landmine scavenging on the increase
CHAD: Paying for fallout of landmines, UXO
LAOS: Scrap metal income courts UXO danger
UGANDA: Dangers of unexploded ordnance in north