Life-threatening Landmines in Libya
The use of anti-personnel landmine is, alongside with their production, transfer and stockpiling, is prohibited since September 1997 under a convention of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. The Convention counts, to this day, 133 signatories and 164 parties. Before the convention, the use of anti-personnel landmines was regulated under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons but many countries argued for a complete ban of those weapons. Since then, the convention has almost completely halted the production of anti-personnel landmines and resulted in the destruction of tens of millions of stockpiled mines.
Whilst since its creation, the treaty has resulted in many positive changes regarding the use of landmines, a new report by the UN Panel of Experts on Libya has revealed news of transfers of the banned explosives. According to the report, anti-personnel mines that were likely manufactured in Russia were brought into Libya as late as 2019, despite an arms embargo.
In March 2021, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has voiced its concern over the injury and death of children by landmines in the south of Tripoli, the Libyan capital. UNICEF revealed that a 14-year-old girl was killed by a landmine, whilst three of her siblings aged between 8 and 14 were gravely injured and are now in treatment in intensive care units. The UN agency stresses the importance of increasing awareness of the risks and hazards of explosive weapons as there are still well over 10 million stockpiled mines that await destruction and there are still many mine-infected tracts of land that are too dangerous for productive use.