ALERT – Mines : A fourth consecutive year of exceptionally high casualties | November 21, 2019

Published today, the Landmine Monitor 2019 reports a fourth consecutive year of exceptionally high casualties caused by landmines, particularly explosive remnants (ERW) and improvised mines. The Ottawa Treaty banning the use of landmines entered into force 20 years ago. As States Parties to the Treaty will gather from 25 to 29 November in Oslo, Norway, […]

Published today, the Landmine Monitor 2019 reports a fourth consecutive year of exceptionally high casualties caused by landmines, particularly explosive remnants (ERW) and improvised mines.

The Ottawa Treaty banning the use of landmines entered into force 20 years ago. As States Parties to the Treaty will gather from 25 to 29 November in Oslo, Norway, HI is calling on States to enforce international humanitarian law and to put pressure on belligerent parties to end the use of these barbaric weapons.

Read the report here.

An alarming step back: the number of victims of mines has doubled since 2014

The Monitor recorded 6,897 mine casualties in 2018. This heavy figure is mainly due to intense armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Syria and other conflict areas.

© Gilles Lordet/HI
Demining operations on the site of Mundu 20 km from Faya. HI has been demining 3 sites near the city of Faya North Chad. © Gilles Lordet/HI

The report reveals that the number of new casualties of anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war remain high for the fourth year in a row (6,897 in 2018, 7,253 in 2017, 9,439 in 2016 and 6,971 in 2015). In 2014, the Monitor recorded an average of about 10 casualties per day; in 2018, the rate nearly double to just below 20 casualties per day. Numerous casualties went unrecorded due to difficulties in some areas to gather information.

The vast majority of people killed by anti-personnel mines are civilians: 71% of casualties were civilians in 2018, of whom 54% were children. Explosive remnants caused the most child casualties (871, or 51%).

Mine casualties were recorded in 50 States and territories around the world, with the majority of new casualties of anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war in Afghanistan (2,234), Myanmar (430), Syria (1,465), Ukraine (325) and Yemen (596). And a total of 60 States and territories are contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war around the world.

The Landmine Monitor also confirmed new uses of anti-personnel mines by government forces in Myanmar between October 2018 and October 2019. Non-State groups also used anti-personnel mines, including improvised mines, in at least six countries: Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen.

In view of this alarming trend, states should reinforce their efforts to provide assistance to victims now and in the future.

HI is also calling on states to support mine risk education, mine clearance and victim assistance programmes, which are absolutely necessary for affected countries and territories.

Improvised mines, at the core of new challenges for Mine Action

From the total of 6,897 mine casualties recorded in 2018, 3,789 people were killed or injured by improvised mines, which is the highest toll ever recorded by the Monitor. It represents 54% of the total of new victims recorded by the Monitor (6,897). Casualties from improvised mines were identified in 18 States in 2018, mainly in Afghanistan (1,586) and Syria (1,076).

 Though mainly used by non-state armed groups, improvised anti-personnel landmines fall within the scope of the Ottawa Treaty and its prohibition of the use of any indiscriminate weapons. Dialogue with some non-state armed groups to convince them to abandon such practices and to join the Treaty is possible. Mine clearance – which is an obligation of the Ottawa Treaty – is a way to deny these groups access to weapons and munitions as many improvised mines are made using disposed of explosives or remnants of them.

 “For the fourth year in a row, the Landmine Monitor recorded a high number of new casualties, mainly due intense armed conflict in Afghanistan, Syria, etc. The use of improvised mines caused half of the casualties in 2018. War has rules: the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines (including improvised mines), the Oslo Convention banning cluster munitions, and the Geneva Conventions are all designed to protect civilians. It is the responsibility of all States to champion these rules, apply them and make sure they are enforced.”, says Anne Héry, HI Advocacy Director

 


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