Landmine Monitor 2019 report: a fourth consecutive year of exceptionally high casualties
This heavy figure is mainly due to intense armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Syria and other conflict areas. 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, Humanity & Inclusion is calling on States to enforce international humanitarian law and to put pressure on parties involved in conflicts to end the use of these horrific weapons.
The Landmine Monitor 2019 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). The number of casualties has nearly doubled between 2014 and 2018. 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.
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. 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.
In 2018, the majority of new casualties of anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war were recorded in Afghanistan (2,234), Myanmar (430), Syria (1,465), Ukraine (325) and Yemen (596).
The Landmine Monitor 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.
These uses have caused high-level contamination that will endanger the lives of thousands of people in the long-term. A total of 60 States and territories have been contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war around the world.
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%).
“The Ottawa Treaty entered into force 20 years ago causing a sharp decline in the use of landmines and of landmine casualties. But in recent years we are witnessing an alarming upsurge in the use of mines, with an unacceptable number of casualties. Our work against landmines is not over. We must defend the application of the Ottawa Treaty, advocate for the support of victims and face new challenges with the use of improvised landmines. We still need the support of citizens to completely eradicate landmines from the earth” says Aleema Shivji, Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion UK.
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Source Handicap International 2019