Land Mines

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Land Mines and Afghanistan.

20,000 Killed or Maimed by Landmines Annually
Amnesty International Defends Their Use of the Double Standard
750,000 Civilian Afghan Men Maimed by Landmines
Nine Out of Ten Land Mine Victims are Male
The Health Effects of Land mines
What Groups are Affected Most?
Downplaying the Sex of the Victims
The Challenge That Faces Us Now
Mine Field History
Adopt A Mine Field
Land Mine Facts
Land Mines and Afghanistan

20,000 Killed or Maimed by Landmines Annually

144 countries have signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty (which does not include non-detectible mines not anti-vehicle mines) - the U.S. is not one of them, along with Russia, China and 39 others, primarily in the middle east. 83 contries were affected by landmine casualties, of which 52 have signed the treaty.  66 countries have registered new mine casualties since January, 2003. The U.S. reports that to date, they have provided over $1 billion for defusing mines to protect civilians after conflicts. 35 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed since 1999 and 4 million cleared. It costs $3 to plant a mine, $1,000 to recover and destroy it.

400,000 survivors in 121 countries, 86% of which are civilians, 23% are children. 40 people are killed or maimed each day.

2003 Victims of Landmines

1. Iraq - 2,189 (part of Iraq, part of year.)
2. Afganistan - 847
3. Cambodia - 772
4. Columbia - 668
5. Angola - 226
6. Chechnya - 218
7. Burundi - 174
8. Congo - 152
9. Laos - 118
10. Sri Lanki - 98
Source: The Times (Cambodia), November 30, 2004

Amnesty International Defends Their Use of the Double Standard

Note: This is a form letter replying to all of those who questioned not including male civilians in their reports and support.

Thank you for your email regarding the position of Amnesty International regarding men's rights in Afghanistan.

You are right in saying that we have issued a report specifically highlighting the abuses of women's rights in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan team felt that this was needed because traditionally the way that human rights have been conceived in international law and have been interpreted, has resulted in the visibility of violations against men.

AI is conscious of the lack of visibility of women's rights, as human rights violations committed against men are more visible than those committed against women. Therefore, as this invisibility of violations against women became apparent, conscious efforts were made to investigate and highlight ways in which women's rights were abused.

Amnesty International has worked and continues to work on specific violations such as those mentioned in your email, including widespread massacres, torture, arbitrary detention and forced recruitment. This work falls into the traditional work that we carry out, for instance prisoners of conscience, "disappearances", extra-judicial executions and fair trials are all domains in which human rights abuses are primarily carried out against men, as men play a significant role in public space. This has resulted in most of our documentation of human rights abuses focusing mainly on men. Recently, for instance, in terms of our work on Afghanistan, we have focused on human rights abuses committed against prisoners, who are almost exclusively men (please see our website

You also mention the use of the term "civilians". In Afghanistan, the distinction has to be made between male civilians, and male combatants, as these two groups are treated differently under international law, allowing for different levels and types of protection. Women in Afghanistan have not taken up arms, and as they are not combatants, the distinction does not need to be made in the same way in our reports.

I hope that this has clarified the issue, and that you can see why we have found it important to focus on certain gender specific abuses of women's rights as they could be seen to be being ignored due to the traditional focus of AI's work on issues mainly concerning abuses of men's rights.

NOTE AGAIN: The good news is that they admit they discriminate against men.
Sourse: A copy of AI's letter is at We encourage you to respond to: Irene Khan, AI Secretary-General, at or

750,000 Civilian Afghan Men Maimed by Landmines

A new report reveals that 750,000 civilian males have been victimized by landmines in Afghanistan. Landmine injuries have resulted in loss of feet, hands, hearing, and eyesight. Many persons have died waiting to obtain medical attention.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has also reported that 93% of landmine victims are male. Almost one-third of these victims are boys under the age of 16 years of age.

"As families begin to resettle their lands in post-Taliban Afghanistan, more men will be placed at risk," according to Men's Health America. "But the issue of how to remove all the landmines isn't even being discussed by the persons who are negotiating the political future of Afghanistan."

According to the United Nations, 10 million landmines litter the Afghan countryside, the lingering effects of a prolonged civil war and occupation by Soviet troops.

The report is based on a compilation of information from the United Nations, published medical research, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Nine Out of Ten Land Mine Victims are Male

Many are the size of a coffee cup saucer. Some leap into the air, exploding into a thousand metal splinters and maiming everyone within a 25 meter radius. A few are small enough to hide in a cigarette lighter.

Unexploded land mines and ordnance are the legacy of a prolonged civil war and Soviet occupation of poverty-stricken Afghanistan. Now, Afghanistan has become one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.

The United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs estimates there are about 10 million land mines throughout the country. These land mines litter the countryside in former battle zones, along roads and footpaths, in irrigation channels, and even in urban areas. And thousands of unexploded yellow bomblets remain from the recent U.S. bombing attacks, as well.

Land mines pose an enormous threat to the recovery of post-Taliban Afghanistan because the entire economy rests on agriculture and livestock. According to one survey, 80% of Afghan families reported that mines had been planted on their lands ( ). Thus, land mines have wreaked havoc on the Afghan economy by frightening farmers away from their lands and by killing sheep and goats.

The Health Effects of Land mines

The health effects of land mines have been well-documented. UNICEF estimates that 20-25 persons are maimed by land mines every day. According to recent UN surveys, a disturbing 4% of the Afghan population is now disabled from land mine explosions.

A 1995 article in the British Medical Journal reported the results of a survey of 37 Afghan communities. Twelve percent of households reported that they had been directly affected by land mines. More than half of the landline victims died, and one in four lost one or more limbs. Eight victims out of ten were forced into debt to pay for medical attention.

What Groups are Affected Most?

According to a survey of hospitalized landline casualties conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 92.7% of landline casualties are male ( ). These men may have been farmers plowing their fields, shepherds recovering a lost animal, drivers swerving onto the shoulder to miss a pothole in the road, or men employed by UN-sponsored mine sweeping operations.

The Red Cross report also noted that boys 15 and under accounted for 19.8% of all landline casualties. These boys may have picked up an unexploded mine out of simple curiosity. Or they may have been combing through the rubble to find mine parts to resell, in order to support their families.

We know that the total population of Afghanistan is about 20 million, of whom 4% are disabled by land mines. The arithmetic reveals that close to 750,000 Afghan men and boys have been maimed by land mines.

Downplaying the Sex of the Victims

Oddly, reports by international relief organizations and the media do not provide sex-specific breakdowns of landline victims. As a rule, these persons are described using gender-neutral terms such as "residents," "amputees," and the like.

An exception to this rule is a survey by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which makes this statement: "Females were 7.3% of casualties; males of 15 years or less were 19.8%, males over 50 were 4.2%. The remainder were males between 16 and 50." The ordering of the statistics suggests that the 7% female casualties should command the highest concern and priority. It is also revealing to note that the Red Cross statement does not give the precise percentage of males between 16 and 50 years who have been injured. (Ed. - That's 68.7% of all casualties were men between 16 and 50.)

Likewise, reports on underage casualties generally employ the term, "children." But this gender-neutral term cannot hide the truth that boys are at far greater risk than girls, as the Red Cross statistics make clear. We can begin to understand the psychological toll of losing half of one's leg when one sees the expression in the boys' eyes, as Raffaele Ciriello documents in a recent photographic essay .

The Challenge That Faces Us Now

In the post-Taliban era, native Afghanis are beginning to return to their villages and farmlands, to begin a new life. Eliminating the threat of land mines is essential to the revival of the Afghan economy, and to assuring the well-being of men who support their families by toiling in the mined areas.

Unfortunately, landline detection and removal is a costly process. According to a recent report, cleaning up the whole country will cost hundreds of millions of dollars ("Millions of Land Mines Hinder Afghan Recovery," USA Today, November 27, 2001). And those who are employed to do this dangerous work are almost all male.

In addition, the human toll of previous landline injuries need to be addressed: hundreds of thousands of Afghanis, mostly males, now get by without a foot or hand. Many make do with a makeshift crutch, unable to afford a prosthesis. Some are deaf or blind. All deal with severe psychological effects.

The UN Mine Action Center, which now coordinates 124 mine-clearing teams, has removed about 226,000 mines since 1989. Last year, these teams cleared about 50 square miles of contaminated land in this vast country that is the size of Texas.

As leaders negotiate the political future of Afghanistan, no one at the table is discussing how Afghanistan will deal with the mines. All the while, the lives and health of civilian males -- husbands, fathers, and boys -- hang in the balance.

Source: This message was originally posted at:  

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