Dangerous War Debris

March 2010 • Volume 4, Issue 3
Who should clean up after conflicts end?
By Robert Kiener


Unexploded shells lie in a street where boys play in Basra, Iraq (International Committee of the Red Cross)
Unexploded shells lie in a street where boys play in Basra, Iraq. In the past decade more than 73,000 people worldwide have been killed or maimed by unexploded war ordnance, usually farmers working in fields, or children. (International Committee of the Red Cross)

Long after the guns of war have gone silent, people around the world are killed or maimed every day by the “silent killers” of warfare — the tens of millions of landmines, cluster bombs and other unexploded ordnance that litter abandoned battlefields, farmland and urban areas. Most of the victims are civilians, and many are children. Besides claiming more than 5,000 victims each year, dangerous war debris also prevents war refugees from returning to their homelands, stifles fragile economies and prevents farmers from planting crops or developers from investing in a nation's future. Many nations and organizations help the victims and work to ban, remove and disarm landmines and other “explosive remnants of war” (ERW). But questions are being asked about how best to help victims and whether enough is being done to destroy ERWs and stockpiles of banned chemical weapons.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Arms Control and Disarmament
Feb. 14, 2020  The New Arms Race
Dec. 13, 2013  Chemical and Biological Weapons
Mar. 2010  Dangerous War Debris
Oct. 02, 2009  Nuclear Disarmament Updated
Jan. 27, 1995  Non-Proliferation Treaty at 25
Dec. 24, 1987  Defending Europe
Feb. 22, 1985  Arms Control Negotiations
Jun. 08, 1979  Strategic Arms Debate
Apr. 09, 1969  Prospects for Arms Control
Mar. 15, 1961  New Approaches to Disarmament
Feb. 25, 1960  Struggle for Disarmament
Nov. 07, 1958  Arms Control: 1958
Jun. 11, 1957  Inspection for Disarmament
Jul. 11, 1955  Controlled Disarmament
Oct. 09, 1933  The Disarmament Conference, 1933
Jan. 05, 1932  World Disarmament Conference of 1932
Apr. 08, 1929  Efforts Toward Disarmament
Mar. 13, 1928  The League of Nations and Disarmament
Feb. 22, 1927  The United States and Disarmament
Conflicts in Asia