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Someone falls victim to an explosive munition every hour

Among victims recorded in 2018, 71% were civilians, including 54% children. Younger people are especially wounded by explosive remnants. Credit: wikipedia

Every hour somebody in the world falls victim to mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants, according to the 2019 report of the Landmine Monitor of International Handicap, released on Thursday.

The NGO recorded 6,897 victims of such weapons in 2018. Since 2014, the number of victims has almost doubled. 

Among victims recorded in 2018, 71% were civilians and 54% of civilians were children. Younger people are especially wounded by explosive remnants. 

According to Handicap International, the high number of victims is “primarily” due to armed conflicts in Afghanistan (2,234 victims), Libya, Nigeria, Syria (1,465) and other conflict zones such as Myanmar (430), Ukraine (325) and Yemen (596). 

Landmine Monitor has observed renewed usage of antipersonnel mines by Myanmar government forces between October 2018 and October 2019. Non-state groups have also used these banned weapons in at least six countries: Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen. 

While two treaties — Ottawa (1997) and Oslo (2008) — have prohibited respectively anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions,  these weapons are still being used, the NGO deplored. 

The NGO has launched an appeal for citizens to challenge parliamentarians from Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Canada, so that these governments commit to be “against bombings in populated areas.” The organisation asks citizens to write to their MPs to request them to push their governments to support the declaration against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Both Handicap International and members of the International Network of Explosive Weapons are negotiating with States, requesting their support.

“The negotiations should lead to a conference scheduled for late spring 2020 in Dublin, where a political declaration will be open for approval,” the NGO said.

The Brussels Times