ALERT- Landmine Monitor 2018: Third year of exceptionally high casualties

Posted by: on Nov 20, 2018 | No Comments

The Landmine Monitor 2018, published today, reported a third year of exceptionally high casualties caused by landmines, particularly improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and explosive remnants of war (ERW).

To coincide with the Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use of landmines, from 26 to 30 November in Geneva, HI is calling on governments to support victim assistance in the wake of a dramatic three-year rise in needs.

7,239 mine/ERW casualties recorded in 2017

The Monitor reports that the number of casualties of landmines – factory-made or improvised – and explosive remnants of war remained exceptionally high in 2017 at 7,239. This represents a record number of casualties for the third year in a row, after 9,437 casualties in 2016 and 6,967 in 2015. As data is difficult to collect in existing or recent conflict zones, the actual number is probably much higher. Civilians are still the main casualties of mines/ERW: 87% of casualties were civilians in 2017, of whom 47% were children. 2,452 children were casualties of mines and explosive remnants of war in 2017.

The high total was mostly due to casualties recorded in countries with armed conflicts or endemic violence: in 2017, most casualties of factory-made or improvised mines and explosive remnants of war were reported in Afghanistan (2,300), Syria (1,906), Ukraine (429) and Iraq (304). Casualties were identified in 53 states and other areas around the world. The Monitor also confirms the new use of landmines by government forces in Myanmar between October 2017 and October 2018. Non-state armed groups also used landmines, including improvised mines, in at least eight countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand and Yemen.

High number of casualties of improvised mines and explosive remnants

Two thirds of mine casualties were killed or injured by improvised mines (2,716) and explosive remnants of war (2,038). There were 2,716 casualties of improvised mines in 2017: the highest number since the Monitor was first published in 2000. Casualties of improvised mines were reported in 18 countries, mainly Afghanistan (1,093) and Syria (887).

High-level contamination puts thousands of lives at risk during and long after the end of conflicts. A total of 60 states and other areas have been contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war around the world. HI is calling on states to support mine risk education, mine clearance and victim assistance as an absolute necessity in these countries and areas.

Funding for victim assistance activities still insufficient

International and domestic funding for mine action was particularly high in 2017 ($771.5 million), an increase of 36% over the previous twelve months. However, support for victim assistance activities remained particularly low at 2% of total international mine action funding or $15.8 million out of $667.2 million.  As current funding is insufficient to cover the dramatic increase in demand in recent years, HI is calling on the international community to take immediate action to turn the situation around.

 

Read the report here.