Landmines Kill: At 7,073 Casualties Are Way up Globally

Published November 11th, 2021 - 07:06 GMT
Landmines
Photo: Tang Chhin Sothy (AFP/Getty Images)

The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research said Wednesday that casualties due to mines and war residue explosives climbed to 7,073 in 2020, up from the 5,853 recorded in 2019, with Syria having the highest casualties.

Syria, a non-signatory of the Mine Ban Treaty, had 2,729 landmine casualties in 2020, followed by Afghanistan.

A persistent high casualty toll and "disappointingly slow clearance" of antipersonnel landmines show the challenges to implementing the mine ban treaty, said Landmine Monitor 2021.

The 23rd annual Landmine Monitor report provides a global overview of efforts to universalize and fully implement the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, ensure clearance of mine contaminated areas, deliver risk education to affected communities, and assist victims of these weapons.

The high numbers of recorded casualties in 2020 were primarily due to increased armed conflict and contamination with improvised mines.

Landmine Monitor 2021 shows how civilians remain the primary victims of these indiscriminate weapons. “In 2020, they accounted for 80% of all casualties. At least half of all civilian casualties were children,” said the report announced at a UN press conference.

Myanmar that has not joined the treaty was the only state confirmed to have used antipersonnel landmines during the Monitor reporting period from mid-2020 through October 2021.

In addition, China, Cuba, India, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, the US, and Vietnam were named among mine-producing countries.

US, Russia produced, tested new landmines

The report said the US and Russia produced and tested new landmines.

It observed that non-state armed groups continued to produce antipersonnel mines in Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Pakistan in 2020.

Marion Loddo, the editor of the Monitor, said: “If we are to reach a mine-free world, states must redouble their efforts toward speedy implementation of their obligations and a much more efficient distribution of resources.”

“At least 7,073 people were killed or injured in 54 countries and areas, with mines — including improvised types – responsible for the majority of all casualties (4,352, 62%).”

The 2020 toll marks more than a 20% increase from the casualties recorded in 2019 (5,853) and is more than double the lowest annual recorded total (3,456) in 2013.

Several treaty countries reported that the COVID-19 pandemic "presented challenges" to demining operations in 2020, the report noted.

The Mine Ban Treaty, which became international law in 1999 and today has 164 state parties, bans the use of landmines that detonate due to human contact, also known as 'victim-activated antipersonnel mines,'" the report explains.

The ban treaty is the most comprehensive international instrument for eradicating landmines and deals with everything from mine use, production, and trade, to victim assistance, mine clearance, and stockpile destruction.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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