ALERT – Landmine Monitor 2017 report: Landmines victim numbers increases in conflict zones

Posted by: on Dec 14, 2017 | No Comments

Published today, the Landmine Monitor 2017 report has revealed a dramatic increase in the annual number of new casualties of mines and explosive remnants of war for the third year running.

To coincide with a Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use of anti-personnel mines, from 18 to 22 December in Vienna, Handicap International is calling on States to enforce international humanitarian law and to put pressure on belligerent parties to end the use of these barbaric weapons.

Dramatic increase in the numbers of new victims

Landmines, ERW and Cluster submunitions casualties in 2016At least 8,605 people were killed or injured by these weapons in 2016, compared with 3,450 in 2013. This 150% increase is due to particularly heavy casualty rates in conflict zones in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. This is the largest number of casualties recorded by the Landmine Monitor since the publication of its first annual report in 2000 (9,228 casualties recorded in 1999). The number of new casualties increased for the third year running after 15 years of almost steady decline.

The report reveals that the number of new casualties of anti-personnel mines – factory-made or improvised – and explosive remnants of war nearly doubled between 2014 and 2015 (6,967 new casualties in 2015 compared with 3,993 in 2014). It also increased by almost 25% last year, rising from 6,967 casualties in 2015 to 8,605 casualties in 2016. In 2016, 78% of casualties were civilians.

Highest number of child casualties and casualties of improvised mines

The Landmine Monitor also recorded the highest number of child casualties of these weapons and casualties of improvised mines (explosive devices produced by belligerent parties acting as anti-personnel mines) since the publication of the first annual report in 2000: 1,554 children were casualties of mines in 2016, 42% of the civilian casualties.

A total of 1,805 people were casualties of improvised mines in 2016, including 1,180 casualties recorded in Afghanistan alone.

New uses of anti-personnel mines caused high level of contamination

Mine contamination in 2017Mine casualties were recorded in 56 States and territories around the world. New uses of anti-personnel mines were confirmed by government forces in Myanmar and Syria, between October 2016 and October 2017. Non-State groups also used anti-personnel mines, including improvised mines, in at least nine countries: Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. These uses have caused high-level contamination that will endanger the lives of thousands of people over the long-term. A total of 61 States and territories have been contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war around the world.

Handicap International is calling on States to support mine risk education, mine clearance and victim assistance programmes, which are absolutely necessary for these countries and territories.

The Landmine Monitor 2017 report measures the impact of the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines, for the period December 2016 to November 2017 when possible.

The Ottawa Treaty bans the acquisition, production, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel mines. The treaty was opened for signing on 3 December 1997. It entered into force on 1 March 1999. A total of 163 States have signed it to date and 162 States are party to the treaty.