Child Casualties from Landmines Surge, Despite Global Ban
A report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) reveals a disturbing increase in child casualties from landmines, despite a global ban.
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The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) announced on Tuesday that children constituted nearly half of all civilian casualties caused by landmines last year. This alarming statistic comes despite the fact that most countries have banned the use of these deadly devices.
The Landmine Monitor 2023 report disclosed that landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) injured or killed 4,710 victims across 49 states and two other areas last year. Antipersonnel mines were responsible for the majority of these casualties.
The report further stated that in 2022, civilians made up 85% of the recorded casualties, amounting to 4,341 individuals when their military or civilian status was known. Disturbingly, children accounted for half of these casualties, with 1,171 victims where the age was recorded.
Syria and Ukraine reported the highest number of annual casualties, with 834 and 608 victims respectively. The report highlighted that amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the country witnessed a ten-fold increase in the number of civilian landmine and ERW casualties compared to 2021. It also noted that Russia has extensively used antipersonnel landmines in Ukraine since the war began in February 2022.
In addition, Yemen and Myanmar each reported over 500 casualties. The report identified 60 countries and other areas contaminated by antipersonnel mines, including 33 state parties of the Mine Ban Treaty.
The Mine Ban Treaty, which came into effect on March 1, 1999, has been signed by 164 countries, including all NATO members, with the exception of the US. The treaty completely prohibits the use, transfer, stockpiling, and production of antipersonnel mines under any circumstances.
ICBL Director Tamar Gabelnick emphasized in the report that the Mine Ban Treaty must form the basis of all efforts to eliminate antipersonnel mines worldwide. She added, “The only way communities will be truly safe from the scourge of these weapons is when all states have joined and are fully respecting the treaty.”
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