Landmine deaths worldwide have increased by 75%

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deminer searches for mines A deminer searches for mines during emergency clearance at Gulan Refugee Camp, Khost Province, Afghanistan (PHOTO: HALO Trust)

A new report released by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) states worldwide deaths from landmines or leftover ordinance from war rose 75 percent from 2014 to 2015.

According to the report, Landmine Monitor 2016, 6,461 people, or an average of 18 per day,  were killed or injured by landmines in 2015. In 2014, the number was 3,695.

Increased casualties in the last two years show a sharp reversal of the decline since 1999 – when the International Mine Ban Treaty was signed. In 2013 global landmine deaths were at their lowest at 3,353.

Chart: Mine death since 1999

The report also shows a decline of $77 million in international support for mine action. This is the third year in a row where international aid for mine removal has declined.

Landmine removal

An EU technician removes mines in Lebanon. (PHOTO: T. Mayer/Handicap) International, March 2016

For the thirteenth year in a row, Afghanistan received more funding than any other country for landmine removal.

Most of the casualty increase recorded in 2015 was due to armed conflicts in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

Among non-state armed groups, such as Daesh (ISIL) and Boko Haram, landmine use has increased in 10 countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

Non-state groups mostly use improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and booby traps—rather than factory made landmines. Such devices are prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty as they explode due to the proximity of a person.

Other findings include:

  • Seventy-eight percent of recorded landmine casualties were civilians.
  • In 2015, children accounted for 38 percent of all civilian casualties where age was known.
  • Women and girls made up 14% of all casualties where the sex was known.

CHART: Mine deaths by status

Sixty-four nations are contaminated by landmines as of October 2016. This includes 36 States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, 24 states not party, and four other areas. This is an increase from 61 states and areas in 2015.

The nations most densely contaminated by mines (more than 100 km2 total per country) include Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Croatia, Iraq, Thailand, Turkey, and in the area of Western Sahara.

One-hundred and sixty-two countries have signed the Mine Ban Treaty since its inception, but 35 have abstained.

The Landmine Monitor 2016 was released ahead of the Mine Ban Treaty’s 15th Meeting of State Parties (MSP), which will take place in Santiago, Chile on November, 28. The purpose of the annual meeting is to assess the goals and progress of the Mine Ban Treaty. In 2014, the MSP had set a goal of full compliance to the treaty by 2025.