On October 20, representatives of several of the founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), including Handicap International, met in New York to celebrate the movement's 20th anniversary.
In 1992, six organizations founded the ICBL with one mission: to eradicate landmines around the world. The ICBL helped create the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, which prohibits the production, use, storage, and trading of these weapons. Five years later, the Campaign was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts.
Today, 160 countries are State Parties to the treaty. As a result, almost 4,000 km² of mined land has been cleared and nearly 135 million landmines have been destroyed. The number of new landmine victims has dropped significantly.
While celebrating these victories, Handicap International co-founder, Jean-Baptiste Richardier, reminded ICBL member organizations that there is still much to be accomplished. Major nations such as the U.S., Russia, and India have not yet joined the Treaty, and several countries, including Syria, continue to lay new landmines. These weapons remain hidden in the ground of 78 states, maiming and killing civilians every day.
Handicap International has been at the forefront of the anti-landmine movement since 1982, when Jean-Baptiste Richardier and Claude Simonnot founded the organization to aid Cambodian landmine victims. We continue to work to clear mined land, raise awareness about the threats of landmines, and provide orthopedic fittings for victims and ensure their inclusion in society.