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Landmine Monitor 2018: Third year of exceptionally high casualties in 2017

Press release | 20th November 2018, 11:00

A deminer of the HI and AFRILAM (HI's partner) mine action team, in DRC

A deminer of the HI and AFRILAM (HI's partner) mine action team, in DRC | © Kelvin Batumike/HI

The Landmine Monitor 2018, published tomorrow, is reporting a third consecutive year of exceptionally high casualties caused by landmines, particularly improvised mines, and explosive remnants of war (ERW). The Monitor recorded 7,239 mine/ERW casualties in 2017. This compares to 3,993 casualties in 2014, when numbers rose for the first time after a 14-year decline. The rise is due in particular to the heavy toll inflicted by improvised mines in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and other conflict areas. At the Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use of landmines (taking place in Geneva from 26th to 30th November), Humanity & Inclusion (HI) will call on governments to respond to the rising casualty figure by supporting more victim assistance.

The Monitor reports that the number of casualties of landmines - factory-made or improvised - and explosive remnants of war remained exceptionally high in 2017 with 7,239 casualties. As data is difficult to collect in existing or recent conflict zones, the actual number is probably much higher.
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). 

There were 2,716 casualties of improvised mines: the highest number since the Monitor was first published in 2000. Casualties of improvised mines were reported in 18 countries, mainly Afghanistan (1,093) and Syria (887). 

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. 

Civilians are the most affected by these horrific weapons. In 2017, they represented 87% of the casualties and 47% of them were children. “Landmines are horrific ‘cowardly weapons’” says Aleema Shivji, Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion UK “Mines kill and cause complex injuries, often leading to serious disabilities, and cause serious psychological trauma. The onset of disability caused by mines - most often following the amputation of a lower limb – is often the cause of social stigma which makes it hard for victims to return to an independent life. We must continue to remind states and armed groups that the use of these weapons is banned and that international law must be respected.” 

A total of 60 states and other areas remain contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war around the world. The high-level of contamination puts thousands of lives at risk during a conflict as well as long after it ends. HI is calling on states to support mine risk education, mine clearance and victim assistance as an absolute necessity in these countries and areas. 

International and domestic funding for mine action was particularly high in 2017 ($771.5 million), an increase of 36% over the previous year. Support for victim assistance activities remained particularly low with just 2% of the total of international mine action funding (or $15.8 million out of $667.2 million).  As current funding is insufficient to cover the dramatic increase in need in recent years, HI is calling on the international community to take immediate action to turn the situation around.  
 “An exceptionally high number of casualties of improvised mines has been recorded since 2015.” explains Aleema Shivji, Executive director of Humanity & Inclusion UK. “This new use and the large-scale bombing of several countries has caused high-level of contamination that will take years to clear. International rules - the Ottawa Treaty, the Oslo Convention banning cluster munitions, and the Geneva Conventions - exist to protect civilians. All states have a duty to advance, apply and enforce them.

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.

Press contact
Marlene Manning, Humanity & Inclusion UK
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)870 774 3737 | +44 (0)7508 810 520

About Humanity & Inclusion
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is a charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.
For the past 30 years, HI has been campaigning against anti-personnel mines and cluster bombs, with projects ranging from bomb clearance, risk education to teach 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.
Humanity & Inclusion is the new name of Handicap International.

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