They are placed under, on, or near the ground, where they lie hidden for years or even decades until a person or an animal sets them off. Landmines cannot be aimed; they kill and wound indiscriminately, posing a severe risk to civilian populations, peacekeepers and aid workers long after a conflict has ended.
Antipersonnel landmines were used systematically in international and internal conflicts from the Second World War onwards. Originally intended to protect anti-tank minefields from removal by enemy soldiers, the weapons were designed to maim rather than kill an enemy soldier, with the idea that more resources are taken up on the battlefield in caring for an injured soldier than dealing with a dead soldier.
Due to their low cost and high effectiveness, landmines became increasingly used around the world. From the 1970s onwards they were used as offensive weapons to terrorise civilian populations, denying communities access to their farmland and restricting popula
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