Treaty to Ban Land Mines Takes Effect
An international treaty to ban the land mines that kill and maim 25,000 people each year has gone into effect. The treaty, concluded in December 1997, has been signed by 133 countries and ratified by 66. It commits those nations to banning the production, use, stocking and export of antipersonnel mines. About a dozen countries have destroyed their stocks entirely. Major users and producers, including the United States, Russia and China, have refused to sign up. And even with the best of efforts, it will take decades to clear the tens of millions of mines scattered in more than 60 countries.