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November 20, 2018

2018 Landmine Monitor: Third year of exceptionally high casualties

The Landmine Monitor 2018, published today, recorded 7,239 casualties caused by landmines, particularly improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in 2017. Improvised mines in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and other conflict areas inflicted a heavy toll.

The 2017 count is almost double the 3,993 casualties recorded in 2014, when numbers rose for the first time after nearly a 15-year decline. It represents a record for a third year in a row, after 9,437 casualties were reported in 2016 and 6,967 in 2015. As data are difficult to collect in existing or recent conflict zones, the actual number is probably much higher.

Civilians 87% of casualties

Civilians are the most likely to be injured or killed. In fact, 87% of casualties of mines or explosive remnants of war in 2017 were civilians, of whom 47% were children.

Other key stats:

  • In 2017, improvised mines claimed the highest number of casualties—2,716—since the Monitor was first published in 2000.
  • Eighteen countries reported casualties of improvised mines, mainly Afghanistan (1,093) and Syria (887). Improvised mines (2,716) and explosive remnants of war (2,038) were responsible for two thirds of mine casualties, which includes deaths and injuries.
  • The high tally 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 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-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.

Victim funding falls short

International and domestic funding for mine action was particularly high in 2017, reaching $771.5 million—a 36% increase over the previous 12 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. 

"Though the number of landmine victims has almost doubled since 2014, financial support for victim assistance continues to decline and is insufficient to meet the needs of real human beings,” explains Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion. “The 33 States Parties with significant casualties lack the resources and skills to assist victims. Services are too centralized and difficult to access for people in rural and remote areas. There is a glaring shortage of physical rehabilitation staff, equipment and resources. We urgently need victim assistance funds, without which organizations like HI cannot help those injured to rebuild their lives and communities.”

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

The Landmine Monitor

The Landmine Monitor is an annual report on progress made toward implementing the Ottawa Treaty that bans the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of landmines. The 2018 report looks data collected in 2017, and data as of November 2018 where possible. Humanity & Inclusion contributes data to the report and serves on an advisory group to the Monitor. (Click here to download the entire report)

The Ottawa Treaty

The Ottawa Treaty bans the acquisition, production, stockpiling and use of landmines. The treaty was opened for signature on 3 December 1997. It entered into force on 1 March 1999. There are 164 States Parties. One State - the Marshall Islands - is a signatory.

About Humanity & Inclusion

Humanity & Inclusion (the new name of Handicap International) is an independent international aid organization. It has been working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for 36 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, our action and testimony focus on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Since it was founded, HI has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) works constantly to mobilize resources, jointly manage projects and to increase the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. HI is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 and the winner of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2011. HI takes action and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task.