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. At 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, Ukraine and Yemen.
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, Austria, 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.
The report reveals that the number of new casualties of anti-personnel mines - factory-made or improvised - and explosive remnants of war increased by almost 25% in one year, rising from 6,967 casualties in 2015 to 8,605 casualties in 2016. This is the largest number of casualties recorded by the Landmine Monitor since the publication of its first annual report in 2000.
The number of new casualties increased for the third year running after 15 years of almost steady decline.
The vast majority of people killed by anti-personnel mines are civilians: 78% of casualties were civilians in 2016, of whom 42% were children. The Landmine Monitor 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.
Mine casualties were recorded in 56 States and territories around the world. In 2016, the majority of new casualties of anti-personnel mines - factory-made or improvised – and explosive remnants of war were recorded in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.
The Landmine Monitor confirmed new uses of anti-personnel mines by government forces in Myanmar and Syria between October 2016 and October 2017.
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.
“Anti-personnel mines are, by their very nature, ‘cowardly weapons’. They have a serious and lasting impact on casualties: the explosive charge is very often designed to tear off its victim’s leg. Mines kill and cause complex injuries, often with serious disabling sequelae, and serious psychological trauma. The onset of disability caused by mines - most often following the amputation of a lower limb - is often accompanied by social stigmatisation, making it difficult for the victim to return to normal life. We must constantly remind States and armed groups that the use of these weapons is banned and that international law must be respected.” Explains Aleema Shivji, Executive Director of Handicap International UK,
“We are witnessing an alarming upsurge in the use of mines, and an unacceptable increase in the number of mine casualties. These new uses have caused a high level of contamination in several countries, which will require the intervention of mine clearance experts for many years to come. There is also an urgent need to enhance victim assistance. These activities require the support of the international community, which must systematically condemn any violation of international humanitarian law.” Adds Aleema.
Marlene Sigonney, Handicap International UK
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The Stop bombing Civilians! campaign
In 2017 Handicap International launched a global campaign to collect one million signatures to urge all states to “Stop bombing civilians”.
The petition can be signed at http://bit.ly/StopBombingNow along with more information about the campaign.
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.
About Handicap International
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Handicap International works in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.
After a long campaign against landmines and cluster munitions which led to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, Handicap International now aims to stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Handicap International is a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Cluster Munition Coalition and the International Network on Explosive Weapons.