On Tuesday, October 17th 2017, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) Researcher, Jennifer Dathan, presented the latest data on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) side-event on “Countering the Threat of IEDs: Strengthening Capacities and Stabilizing Communities” in the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Also participating in the event was Mr Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for United Nations Peacekeeping, who gave opening remarks on UN efforts to prevent IED harm. Ms Lise Grande, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq-UNAMI بعثة الأمم المتحدة العراق, also spoke at the event on the specific actions taking place in Iraq to counter IED harm, prevent civilian casualties and rebuild communities contaminated by IEDs.
Jennifer Dathan drew on seven years’ worth of AOAV data collected as part of the Explosive Violence Monitor and the findings of AOAV’s latest report, the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Monitor. The data shows that over 135,000 were killed or injured by IEDs between October 2010 and June 2017, of which, 81% were civilians.
In the last six years, IEDs have accounted for over 55% of civilian casualties from all explosive weapon types. This means that IEDs have caused more civilian casualties in this period than all other explosive weapon types combined.
Of particular concern are the number of suicide attacks recorded in this period, which accounted for 79% of civilian casualties from IED incidents – where the detonation mechanism had been identified.
AOAV reiterated that the significant and effective efforts to facilitate IED clearance can allow civilians to safely return to their homes. However, it was proposed that greater efforts need to be dedicated to prevention, particularly whilst we continue to see so much harm from suicide attacks and car bombs.
Efforts to prevent such harm must be more inclusive and AOAV called for greater participation from civil society, as well as cultural and religious leaders to counter the threat posed by IEDs.
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