Alarm at mine victim rise

Image: Landmine Monitor 2016

November 22, 2016

The number of people killed and injured by landmines is at a 10-year high, reports the Landmine Monitor 2016. The monitor, released today, is the annual report of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). PAX is a member of this international campaign.

Last year, nearly six-and-a-half thousand people were killed by land mines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW), as reported in the Landmine Monitor. This is a sharp increase compared to the year before. In fact, more people were killed in 2015 by these devices than in any single year since 2006. The increase is mainly attributed to armed conflicts in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen, but it also reflects greater availability of casualty data. The vast majority of recorded landmine/ERW casualties (78 percent) were civilians.

New use of landmines 
New use of antipersonnel mines by states is extremely rare due to the ongoing success of the Mine Ban Treaty. Only 35 countries remain outside the treaty, but most of them do not use or produce these weapons. Myanmar, North Korea, and Syria – all states not party to the Mine Ban Treaty – are the only government forces which actively planted these kinds of weapons during the past year. Non-state actors are another problem. Non-state armed groups used antipersonnel mines, including victim-activated improvised mines, in at least 10 countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen and Nigeria. 

Progress on mine clearance 
In 2015, countries continued to make previously mined areas safe for use. According to the Landmine Monitor findings, more than 17 thousand hectares of land were cleared of landmines worldwide. However, the amount of funds dedicated to clearing mine-contaminated land and assisting landmine victims decreased in 2015 compared to 2014. The Netherlands remained among the top five largest donors in 2015, contributing $22.1 million. 

Mine-free world by 2025 
The decade-high number of new casualties caused by landmines and unexploded remnants of war, and the continued suffering of civilians, shows once again that these indiscriminate weapons should never be used. Next week, States Party to the global ban are gathering in Chile to discuss progress under the Mine Ban Treaty. PAX joins the ICBL in calling on all states to commit the national and international resources necessary to achieve their collective ambition of creating a mine-free world by 2025.

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