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30,000 people killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2019

Explosive weapons
International United Kingdom

HI partner organisation Action On Armed Violence (AOAV) releases figures on explosive violence casualties in 2019.

City of Kobané in North Syria after heavy bombing in 2016

City of Kobané in North Syria after heavy bombing in 2016 | © P. Houliat / HI

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) has recorded 29,500 deaths and injuries from the use of explosive weapons around the world in 2019. Civilians continued to bear the burden of harm, accounting for 66% (or 19,400) of total casualties (killed and injured).

When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, over 90% of those killed and injured were civilians. 17,900 civilian casualties were recorded in populated areas, whereas 1,500 civilian casualties were killed in injured in areas not reported as populated.


Some countries saw sharp rises of civilian casualties: Afghanistan saw a 9% rise in civilian harm; Somalia saw a 14% rise; and Libya saw a 131% rise.

In total, manufactured weapons caused 51% of global civilian harm from explosive weapons, while improvised explosive devices (IEDs) caused 49%.


“In many conflicts, bombing and shelling put an unbearable threat to civilians and forcing the population to flee. They also leave heavy contamination by explosive remnants posing and long lasting threat for civilians after a battle. Bombing in urban areas is a disaster for the protection of civilians in conflict. Political discussions between States have begun in order to draft an international political declaration against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Several states appear opposed to a strong political commitment. It is unacceptable. HI is totally involved in this diplomatic process aiming at improving the protection of civilians in armed conflict and fights for a strong political declaration to be adopted next May. For this, we need the back-up of the public to put pressure on governments and to ensure they are fully committed against bombing in populated areas.”

HI advocacy Director Anne Héry


If you are ever going to act to ensure your Government acts to Stop Bombing Civilians, now is the time. Email your MP to help put pressure on the UK government. You will be helping to save lives.

Date published: 03/02/20


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