History - Mine Ban Treaty

In December 1997 a total of 122 governments signed the treaty in Ottawa, Canada and in March 1999 the treaty became binding under international law. More quickly than any other treaty of its kind in history.

The idea that the use of landmines must be prohibited originated with only two men working for the mine related NGOs. Then six NGOs founded International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in 1992.In a short period of time this organization had more than 1000 NGOs all over the world. Not only NGOs but also international organizations, statesmen, citizens got involved in the campaign to ban landmines from the humanitarian reason.

The Ottawa Treaty is really a success story. ICBL and its coordinator Jody Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited them for starting a "process which in the space of a few years changed a ban on anti-personnel mines from a vision to a feasible reality".

History - Anti-Personnel Mines (APM)

APMs were first used on a wide scale in World War 2. Since then they have been used in many conflicts, including the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the first Gulf War. The weapon are said to have first been used in the American Civil War in the 1800s.

APMs were initially developed to protect antitank mines and stop them from being removed by enemy soldiers. They were used defensively, to protect strategic areas such as borders, camps or important bridges and to restrict the movement of other forces.

A key characteristic of the weapon is that it is designed to maim rather than kill an enemy soldier. The logic goes that more resources are required to care for an injured soldier in the battlefield than dealing with a dead soldier. After a while, APMs began to be deployed on a wider scale, often in internal conflicts and aimed at civilian. They were used to terrorize communities and deny access to farm.