Landmine Monitor 2023: Current conflicts, long-lasting contamination cause high number of mine casualties
November 14, 2023
November 14, 2023
Silver Spring, Maryland — Published on Nov. 14, the 2023 Landmine Monitor still reports a high number of casualties caused by landmines, explosive remnants of war, and improvised mines for the eighth year in a row. The Monitor records 4,710 casualties in 2022, with 85% of them being civilians. This high figure is mainly the result of increased armed conflicts and contamination with improvised mines since 2015. Armed forces of Russia and Myanmar have extensively used landmines, and non-state armed groups have also employed landmines in at least five countries. States will gather in Geneva from Nov. 20-24 for the annual Mine Ban Treaty conference. We urge them to pressure parties in conflict to cease the use of these barbaric weapons.
In 2022, a minimum of 4,710 individuals were either killed or injured by landmines or explosive remnants of war. This decrease from the 5,544 casualties recorded in 2021 is primarily due to the significant challenges in collecting data in Afghanistan.
Out of these individuals, 1,661 lost their lives, 3,015 were wounded, while the status of 34 remains unknown. Civilians accounted for 85% of the casualties, and nearly half of the civilian victims were children (49%), totaling 1,071 when their age group is known.
Syria maintained the highest number of casualties for the third consecutive year, with 834 reported in 2022, followed by Ukraine (at least 608 casualties in 2022), Yemen (582), and Myanmar (545), among others.
New instances of landmine use by Myanmar, Russia, and Ukraine were reported during the reporting period:
According to the Monitor, the Myanmar Armed Forces extensively employed landmines during this period. There has been a significant increase in the use of new mines by the Myanmar Armed Forces since 2021, including in proximity to critical infrastructure, such as mobile phone towers, extractive enterprises, and energy pipelines.
Russian forces have widely utilized antipersonnel mines since their full invasion of Ukraine commenced on February 24, 2022. It has been reported that Russian forces have employed at least 13 types of antipersonnel mines. The Monitor also reports the use of antipersonnel mines by Ukrainian government forces in and around the city of Izium in 2022 when the city was under Russian control. Ukraine is bound by the Mine Ban Treaty.
Nonstate armed groups in at least five countries also used landmines in Colombia, India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Tunisia.
A total of 60 countries and other areas have land contaminated by antipersonnel landmines on their territory.
As of October 2023, at least 24 States Parties are believed or known to have improvised mine contamination: Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Somalia, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Türkiye, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen.
In 2022, improvised mines (manually positioned explosive devices, usually artisanally fabricated, victim self-activated, designed to kill, injure, damage, etc. like a landmine) accounted for the highest number of casualties for the seventh consecutive year (1,517 or 32%). Factory-made antipersonnel mines accounted for 628 casualties. Explosive remnants of war account roughly for 20% of the casualties recorded by the Monitor in 2022 (946). Cluster munition remnants caused at least 194 casualties.
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) works in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside people with disabilities and individuals experiencing hardship to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights. For the past 40 years, HI has been campaigning against anti-personnel mines and cluster bombs, with projects ranging from bomb clearance, risk education teaching civilians about the dangers of these weapons and victim assistance. This led to the signing of the Ottawa Mine Ban Convention (1997) and the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions (2008). HI is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and co-founder of the Cluster Munition Coalition.
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