In April 1993 the "U.N. Convention on Prohibition or Restrictions on the Use
of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or
to Have Injurious Effects (Protocols 1 and 2)" will be due for review.
This is a good opportunity for the world community to start to put some control on
the production, sale, and distribution of land mines. Foreign personnel working in
Cambodia see first hand the senseless and indiscriminate results of mine warfare
on the community.
This is a critical time for everyone to contact their prime ministers, presidents,
or heads of state and send any statistics, reports, photographs, and/or observations
you may have that will encourage them to take a strong stand against this menace.
Remind your governments that:
- Cambodia has the highest per capita rate of amputees in the world.
- There are already more than 20,000 Khmer men, women and children maimed by land
- Approximately 400 men, women and children step on land mines each month.
- An estimated 3 million to 4 million mines remain in Cambodia.
- Large tracts of important agricultural land have been made unusable by the presence
- The people most at-risk of stepping on land mines are peasants foraging for wood
or food, farmers working their fields, and children herding livestock.
Call on your government to:
- Consider land mines in the same category as chemical weapons and propose a total
ban on their production.
- Place strict controls on the sale, production, and use of land mines.
- Create some sort of accountability from the producers and distributors after
their hardware has served its purpose (maybe in the form of providing demining experts,
demining equipment, and/or mine awareness campaigns).
On Oct. 1 the U.S. Congress passed a bill prohibiting the sale and distribution
of anti-personnel land mines for a period of one year. This is a good first step,
but more needs to be done.
If everyone makes an effort we may move others who are in positions to affect change.
- Tim Grant