gps maps in development

Mine Kafon Team is currently working on a GPS mapping system which aims to become a useful tool for governments and organizations involved in clearance activities; allowing to provide up-to-date information on contaminated and cleared areas and how the process is happening.

The GPS mapping system will provide information of cleared areas and safe paths, as well as letting the user know when approaching to an unsafe area. At the same time, people will be able to upload photos and access the database.

The Mine Ban Treaty, since March 1999, prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines. It is the most comprehensive international instrument for eradicating landmines and deals with everything from mine use, production and trade, to victim assistance, mine clearance and stockpile destruction.

Despite all the international community efforts, the problem still prevails. Not all countries that are in possession and production of landmines have signed the treaty. Additionally, civil wars are one potential risk that could create new contaminated areas.

In some areas, regular metal detectors were substituted by trained dogs and rats. However this method have problems, such as fatigue of the animals, and the facts that rats could easily run over a landmine and not exploding it, endangering the life of the person that follows the rat.

Mechanical landmine clearing also represents serious problems. Demining bulldozers are expensive and they cannot reach all the surfaces where the landmines are placed.

Casualties in 2013?

In 2013, the recorded number of casualties caused by mines and other explosive remnants of war (EWR) decreased to 3,308—the lowest level since the Monitor started recording casualties in 1999— and nearly one-quarter fewer than in 2012. In 2013, there was an average of nine victims per day, indicating that many lives are being saved when compared to the 25 each day reported in 1999. As in previous years, the vast majority of the recorded casualties were civilians (79%).

Casualty Demographics?

In 2013, a global total of 3,308 casualties were recorded, a 24% decline compared with the total of 4,325 in 2012.

The incidence rate of nine casualties per day for 2013 is about one-third of that reported in 1999, when there were approximately 25 casualties each day. Although down 26% in absolute numbers, the vast majority of recorded landmine/ERW casualties (79%) were civilians.

Child casualties accounted for 46% of all civilian casualties where the age was known, up seven percentage points from the 39% of recorded casualties for 2012; female casualties remained 12% of all casualties where the sex was known.

74% of recorded global casualties occurred in States Parties. Steady declines in annual casualty totals continued in the three States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty that have regularly recorded the highest number of annual casualties over the past 15 years: Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Colombia.

The 31 States Parties with significant numbers of mine/ERW casualties have reported between 226,000–358,000 landmine survivors over time through 2013. In Syria, a state not party to the convention, casualties due to landmines/ERW more than tripled in 2013 compared to 2012.

In 2013, casualties from victim-activated improvised explosive devices were identified in seven states, a decrease from the 12 states identified in 2012 and less than in any previous year since 2008.

Still some 60 countries around the world are contaminated by landmines and thousands of people continue living with a this daily threat of losing their life or limb.

In addition emplaced landmines deprive families and communities of land that could be put to productive use such as agriculture. They maintain a sense of insecurity long after conflicts end, delay peace processes and impede countries’ development for years.

Though the majority of states worldwide the world have renounced landmines and joined the Mine Ban Treaty, still 35 states remain outside of the treaty, reserving the right to use landmines at any time.

The majority of the countries remaining outside the treaty keep stockpiles that collectively total around 50 million landmines. If not destroyed, those landmines remain ready to be used any time. The biggest stockpiles of antipersonnel landmines are held by: China, Russia, the United States, India and Pakistan.

There is also a small group of countries that still continues producing antipersonnel landmines, including India, Myanmar, Pakistan and South Korea, with a few others reserving the right to produce the weapon.

Though new use of antipersonnel landmines is rare and limited, it still happens. Myanmar/Burma is the only government that has persistently continued laying antipersonnel mines over the years. In addition Libya (under Gaddafi) and Syria used antipersonnel mines during recent conflicts. There is also a number of non-state armed groups in a handful of countries that have continued using antipersonnel mines.

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