2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 27 Mar 2002 17:47:45 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Explosive Remnants of War report

Unexploded ordnance ? a global legacy as lethal as landmines says new 

On the third anniversary of the start of the NATO bombing in Kosovo, a 
new report by Landmine Action reveals that unexploded ordnance ? cluster 
bombs, mortars, rockets and other munitions - are as big a problem for 
communities post conflict as landmines in terms of death and injury. 
However, unlike landmines, there is no legal obligation on the users of 
such explosive weapons to clear them up after the fighting has ceased.

The new report, Explosive Remnants of War ? The Impact of Unexploded 
Ordnance on Post Conflict Communities, is fully financed by The 
Co-operative Bank and focuses on the impact of unexploded ordnance (UXO) 
on communities in Kosovo, Cambodia and Eritrea using statistics and case 

While anti-personnel mines are designed to maim, UXO are more likely to 
kill ? and often more than one person. In Kosovo from June 1999 to May 
2001, 60 per cent of victims were killed by UXO compared with 37 per 
cent by landmines. In Eritrea, UXO has accounted for 72 per cent of 
deaths and injuries by UXO or landmines since May 2000 while in 
Afghanistan 64 per cent of accidents were caused by UXO up to 1998.

The report also shows that children are more likely to be victims of UXO 
than landmines as they are more likely to pick them up without knowing 
what they are. In the year after the conflict ended in Kosovo, children 
made up almost two thirds of those killed or injured by UXO while 
figures for Cambodia show that nearly three times as many children are 
victims of UXO than landmines. 

?UXO are a forgotten but lethal legacy of every war. Thousands of people 
around the world must live with the constant threat as they go about 
their daily lives. Not only is there the fear of death and injury but 
the presence of the explosives can also affect the use of the land and 
infrastructure, impeding reconstruction and development, and causing 
economic and social hardship,? says Richard Lloyd, director, Landmine 

Simon Williams, Director of Corporate Affairs at The Co-operative Bank, 
?We were very much part of the campaign against landmines and we 
continue to hold the view that the use of any weapon which 
indiscriminately harms innocent civilians should be questioned. That is 
why we are now calling for a freeze on the use of cluster bombs and for 
a new international law requiring the users of all explosive weapons to 
be responsible for clearing any that still endanger lives after the 
fighting is over.? 

By comparison with mines most UXO contain a large explosive charge as 
well as a metal casing that can break up and injure people over a wide 
area. In Kosovo, 30 per cent of UXO accident victims were bystanders 
compared with 18 per cent in the case of landmines.

A high percentage of accidents occur when victims are carrying out 
activities that relate directly to the rural economy ? farming, 
travelling and gathering resources. The presence of UXO can prevent the 
use of land or force a change in the use of land to less productive 
purposes to minimise the risks. In extreme cases it can lead to the 
abandonment of whole communities and their traditional social and 
economic practices. 

Many accidents with UXO occur as a result of deliberate contact but this 
is often out of economic necessity such as clearing land or protecting 
children from the explosives.

Where there is no alternative source of income, poverty drives people to 
take risks and use UXO as a resource ? both by selling the scrap metal 
(often by children) and using the explosives for fishing and quarrying. 
These activities involve highly dangerous handling of the UXO.

The report calls for new international humanitarian law which would make 
the users of explosive munitions responsible for clearing or paying for 
the clearance of the unexploded ordnance once a conflict is over. 
Appropriate information and warnings about weapons with a likely 
long-term impact should be provided to civilians both during and after 
conflict. As many cluster bombs produce proportionally more UXO due to 
their high failure rates, Landmine Action is calling for a moratorium on 
their use, manufacture and trade.

Source: Landmine Action, 25 March 2002



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