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83% rise in civilian casualties in 2022 | First Explosive Weapons Monitor Published

APRIL 24, 2023

Humanity & Inclusion and its partners in the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) have released the first annual Explosive Weapons Monitor: “2021-2022: Two Years of Global Harm to Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons.” 

Download the Monitor here 

The Monitor is the first global report on the bombing and shelling of towns and cities. Its publication comes six months after the Dublin conference, where 83 States, including the United States of America, signed an international agreement to end the harm and suffering caused to civilians by these practices. 

Civilians almost always the victims

In 2022 and 2021, explosive weapons killed or injured 50,995 people (including 32,136 civilians), representing an 83% increase in civilian casualties of explosive weapon use since 2021 (11,343 civilians in 2021 and 20,793 civilians in 2022). This significant increase is due to the Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and growing explosive weapon use in conflicts in Ethiopia, Myanmar and Somalia.

When explosive weapons are used in populated areas, 90% of the casualties are civilians. This ratio has been constant for the last decade. 

On November 18, 83 States signed a landmark international agreement in Dublin to put an end to the human suffering caused by explosive weapons in populated areas. HI will participate in different initiatives to monitor how these signatory States implement the agreement on limiting the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and will continue to lobby non-signatory states to join the political declaration. 

Too many countries affected by explosive violence

The report is published against a backdrop of cities and populated areas that have become war zones, massively targeted by explosive weapons.

Humanitarian consequences are enormous. Cities such as Mosul (Iraq), Raqqa (Syria), Mariupol (Ukraine) and Hodeida (Yemen), but also small villages, medium-sized urban centres - all kinds of populated areas – have been destroyed or damaged by heavy artillery in recent years. 

The results are stark: large-scale population displacements, killing and injuring scores of civilians and leaving behind explosive ordnance contamination that will endanger lives for years to come. 

This pattern of harm has become systematic in modern warfare.

“The evidence is undeniable: the human suffering and humanitarian disasters caused by use of explosive weapons in populated areas is at has reached untenable levels,” says Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion.

“Humanity & Inclusion is committed to bearing witness to these atrocities. The people we serve in places like Ukraine, Syria, and Yemen have endured grave harm and long-lasting negative impact from the use of explosive weapons—their stories are paramount. Our deminers, who are clearing bombs that failed to detonate in cities all over the world, underscore the decades of terror such bombings inflict.”

The Explosive Weapons Monitor will publish annually.


Experts available, including Alma (speaker on Monday, lead EWIPA advocate) and Jeff (U.S. Executive Director of HI).
Reach out on [email protected] or 202-290-9264. 


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