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Indiscriminate war weapon of which the victims are often not combatants in an armed conflict but innocent bystanders, including children who are killed or maimed while playing and farmers attempting to cultivate land that has been mined. Many millions of landmines were scattered in combat zones in southeast Asia, Angola, Mozambique, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan, and in the demilitarized zone separating the two halves of the Korean Peninsula. Their terrible toll led to organized efforts to prohibit their use, spearheaded by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. The ICBL initiative culminated in an international UN convention and treaty to ban landmines, the Ottawa Treaty, approved by the UN General Assembly in 1999. This has been ratified by more than 80 nations but not the United States. The activities of the ICBL are described at http://www.icbl.org.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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