UN-backed report reveals rise in casualties from landmines

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The Landmine Monitor 2023 report findings were the object of a press release in anticipation of the 21st Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, scheduled to occur at the UN Geneva from November 20 to 24.

The UN-backed civil society report found some 4,710 people were injured or killed by landmines and other explosive remnants in 2022 across 49 states.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), a network of 1,000 NGOs, stated in the report that civilians comprised 85 percent of the recorded casualties resulting from landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in 2022, with children accounting for half of them (1,171). Syria (834) and Ukraine (608) documented the highest number of casualties throughout the year.

“The number of civilian casualties recorded increased tenfold from around 60 in 2021 to around 600 in 2022″, Loren Persi, an author of  the report told a press conference on Tuesday. Persi said that there were significant increases in the use of Antipersonnel landmines in some countries, primarily Ukraine.

Antipersonnel landmines are explosive devices that kill and wound people during and long after conflicts. They are placed above, under, or on the ground and explode from a person’s presence, proximity, or contact.

Amidst the conflict in Ukraine, the country saw a tenfold increase in the number of civilian landmine and ERW casualties compared to 2021 (58), said the report. Yemen and Myanmar both recorded more than 500 casualties in 2022.

The 2023 Landmine Monitor report finds that “Ukrainian government forces used anti-personnel mines in violation of the treaty in and around the city of Izium during 2022 when the city was under Russian control”, according to Mark Hiznay, Landmine Monitor 2023, Ban Policy Editor.

Hiznay also confirmed that “Russia has extensively used anti-personnel mines since its invasion in February of 2022. This has created an unprecedented situation where we have a non-state party using the weapon on the territory of a state party. In the 20 plus years, this has really never occurred before.”

Since the initiation of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1999, 30 States Parties have officially declared the successful clearance of all mined areas within their territories.

In 2022, Affected States Parties persisted in clearing contaminated land, collectively covering 219.31 km² and neutralizing 169,276 antipersonnel landmines. Notably, nearly 60 percent of the cleared land in 2022 was concentrated in just two countries: Cambodia and Croatia.

Nevertheless, more than 60 countries and territories still grapple with uncleared landmines, causing detrimental effects such as livelihood destruction, impediments to land use, and disruptions in accessing essential services.

New use of the weapon represents one of the greatest challenges to eradicating antipersonnel landmines globally.

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