17 year old male civilian
"I didn't know what a landmine was. On the way home from a friend's
birthday party, we came upon a broken bridge. Near the bridge there were
some tubes. My friends went through the tubes and I went over the bridge,
then I was blown up. After the accident my ears were ringing, my brain
went numb and I felt dizzy. I was thirsty too, and I crawled to the river
to drink... The accident happened in sukhumi district, in Eshera, on the
Gumista river on January 1994. It was a sunny day, and it happened at 12
o'clock. I know the time because when it happened I had my watch on.
14 years of age, male carpenter
Toor Kotal village, Dand district, Afghanistan
"It was March 1995. I was collecting metal fragments to sell with my
friends. I had collected some pieces, and was turning to put them in my
bag which was nearby. Suddenly a mine exploded just under my foot.
One of my friends took me to the first-aid post at Kandahar Airport. Finally
I was taken to Quetta hospital in Pakistan. I have lost my right
foot, and have injuries on my left leg and hand. I still don't have a prosthesis.
I think mines are harmful for our people. Look at me - I am the eldest
brother of my family. My father died some years ago. Who will support my
family now ?"
11 years of age, female student
9th District, Yakkatoot
"On December 4th 1995, my mother and I left our house in order to go visit my aunt in her house. She lived in a place which was a front line for a long time. To reach her house we had to cross some agricultural fields where some bushes had grown. While I along with my mother were crossing the bushy fields, I saw something which encouraged me to take it. I didn't know it was a mine field, suddenly, a loud sound of an explosion took place. I started to cry, immediately , my mother rushed to me to take me out of the spot, but unfortunately she also stepped on another anti personnel mine which was also laid there.
"Finally people called on some deminers who were working in the area and they took us out of the spot and transferred us to Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital. At the hospital the doctors amputated mine and my mother's legs and we were in the hospital for three months at the hospital I had lost all my hope, but when I saw other disabled I was encouraged.
"Now, my family is very poor because there is no one to support us. The only source which we use for running our life is using the card of the ICRC relief team which distributes some materials every month.
"During the years of war my father died in a UXO incident and my brothers and sisters are students.
"My life is boring and I'm tired of it. From one side the poverty bothers me and from the other side I am disabled. Even for doing my simple daily work I have to ask others to help me.
"When I go out of my house and watch my friends playing games and running after each other, I think what if I never stepped on that anti personnel mine. Then I could run and lay with them. These are the problems I face and this is my living condition.
"Mines are very dangerous things because they are made to end ones life or deprive people from their body parts like I have been deprived from my leg.
"I hate mines and the people who lay them in order kill someone. Mines bring poverty to a country.
"I request all the countries in the world to stop producing and using
the deadly lethal mines, and not to repeat the same story again to my brothers
24 years of age, male student
7th District, Chelsotoon, Kabul, Afghanistan
"I am a boy 24 years, I have graduated from 14th grade of T.T.C. and am married. It is clear to one and all, that during the years of war a large number of people have been affected and I am one of them.
"After the Mujahedeen captured Kabul city they immediately started fighting with each other in different districts of Kabul city, especially in district 7, Chelsotoon, where one of my close relatives lived.
"On March 10, 1993, while all sides in the conflict had announced a
cease-fire, I left my house in order to go to the Chelsotton area to transfer
my relatives to my house. The place they lived in had become the front
lines, but I was not the only person to cross the front lines. There were
many who were busy either with transferring their families or relatives.
"When I along with my relatives, wanted to cross the front lines and make the way to my house, a strong, loud explosion raised me to the air and I understood that I had stepped on a landmine.
"In no time I was transferred to ICRC hospital and when I became conscious I saw that my right leg was cut off. It was the worst point in time when I saw my right leg cut off, because I lost all hope and it was the start of my disappointing life and having to deal with society.
"It is clear to one and all that nowadays it is much more difficult to fight with the high cost of living, most people have very little income in Kabul. It is especially difficult for people who are disabled.
"I want to state that one year ago I started working in an NGO, but the salary which I receive is not sufficient to run my life because there are 10 people in my family and I am the only supporter of my family and also every month I have to pay a large amount of money for rent of the house to live in.
"Besides all economic problems I have other problems in my daily life too. All know that when someone becomes disabled they are not able to do their simple daily activities and I am one of them , I am not able to do my daily activities and it irritates me so much.
"I can say that mines are the most dangerous things around the world, because it can kill or maim anybody who steps on it slightly and it makes no difference if you are civilian or military, male female or a child.
"From my point of view, mines put a lot of negative effects, first on people's life and then on the country which has landmine problems, because mines will threaten people's life and people will stop their activity or due to economical problems be forced to go into the minefields. In both cases the development of the country will be damaged.
"It is the governments responsibilities to remove the difficulties which
people are faced with and pave the way for people to work for the betterment
of the country and their family. The government will have to spend a large
amount of money to solve the problem, but unfortunately there is no proper
government in Afghanistan to look after these problems."
16 years of age, female orphan
Thngoeur Village, Battambang , Cambodia
Sopheap's father was killed by a mine while fighting against the Khmer
Rouge in Battambang province. Her mother died a few days later, leaving
Sopheap and her younger sister orphans. On February 2, 1996, Sopheap went
to work on her vegetable lot which is about 3km from the village. She walked
along a narrow path which is in daily use by the villagers, but she stood
on a newly laid mine. She was taken to Battambang hospital for treatment,
and her left leg had to be amputated. During the interview she was crying:
"I wanted to study for some professional skill to support myself and my
little sister in the future, but now that is impossible. I don't think
anyone will want to marry a disabled person like me. Society will not help
me. That mine has given me a future of tears until the end of my
57 years of age, male farmer
Dam Spey village, Battambang, Cambodia
On February 3, 1996, Yoeurn was driving his tractor to his rice fields along a road he used daily. Two friends were on the tractor with him. The tractor hit a mine, exploded killing one of his friends and injuring Yoeurn and the other friend.
"I don't know who rescued me but when I recovered consciousness I heard my wife and my children sitting around me crying. I could not see anything as both of my eyes were damaged by the mine. My tractor was also destroyed.
How can my children live in dignity and hope now.
I wish to say this to the people who make or use mines: Please stop
killing Cambodian people. In Cambodia there are more mines than people.
If you could stop, you would be friends of all the people in the world.
On behalf of all the people injured by mines, and in my own name, I want
to tell you that being disabled is a miserable existence. If I was
a member of your own family, how would you feel ?"
Khdra Mouse Mohamoud and Abdi Mouse Mohamoud
14 year old girl and 9 year old boy
Dhubato Village, Berbera region, Somalieland
Khadri and Abdi are brother and sister in a family with 7. In October 1995 they were looking after their family's goats near their house. Khadra saw something sticking out of the ground. She thought it was a "thermos", and called Abdi to come look. As he ran to her, she touched it. It exploded. Their mother, who had just given birth a few days before, heard the explosion and came running to them along with other villagers. They transported the children to Berbera hospital. There both of Khadra's arms were amputated. Both eyes were also destroyed. Abdi lost four fingers and one of his eyes was damaged