Dear friends and colleagues,
2017 sadly saw a continuing trend in the number of civilians killed or injured as a result of explosive violence. In the first 9 months of this year, Action on Armed Violence recorded 32,876 deaths and injuries, with 3,328 of these recorded in September alone.
AOAV’s Explosive Weapons Survey was developed to help address the gap in systematic data collection of casualties caused by the use of explosive weapons. Many other organisations and multilateral bodies rely heavily on our work, with Action on Armed Violence’s data drawn upon and cited by institutions such the Office of the UN Secretary-General, through to national and international media. Most recently, AOAV’s data has been utilised and cited in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ flagship report World Humanitarian Data and Trends, as well as the Guardian newspaper.
AOAV also remains one of the few charities that has a particular research focus on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The reason for doing so is because of a tragic reality – between 2011 and 2016, IEDs were responsible for over 57% of all global civilian deaths and injuries from explosive weapons. In October, AOAV published its Improvised Explosive Device Monitor for 2017. The report revealed a continuing trend in the disproportionate number of casualties resulting from the deployment of IEDs (45% in 2016). This is a worrying reality that AOAV is striving to make the international community aware of.
In October, Action on Armed Violence’s Executive Director, Iain Overton, presented the Monitor’s findings at ‘Countering the Threat Posed by Improvised Explosive Devices 2017: a side event on the data and the developments in global IED usage and response’. The event was organised in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations, and took place as the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security met to discuss current international security challenges. Dr James Kearney, our new Advocacy Director, also spoke at a high-level side event at the UN in Geneva during the Annual Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons. Organised by the delegation of France to the Conference on Disarmament, James highlighted not only the initial consequences of these attacks – the often tragic death of both civilians and security personnel – but the wider damage caused to families, communities and countries as a whole.
AOAV continues to be committed to reducing the impact of armed violence through monitoring and research of the causes and consequences of weapon-based violence. In 2018, we will advocate for international institutions and governments to do more to ensure that civilians are protected from the harm caused by explosive violence. Our work is needed more than ever, and our team is reliant upon, not only national and international funding but, as a charitable organisation, on the generosity of our many followers and advocates. If you wish to support our work, please visit https://aoav.org.uk/donate/ Any donation will be gratefully received.
Finally, on behalf of the entire AOAV team, let me wish you a Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.
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