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AOAV’s written evidence published for The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights Work inquiry

In response to the call for submissions for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s inquiry on Human Rights Work, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) provided written evidence on supporting the Rights of Victims from the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

The written evidence can be seen here.

The evidence provided by AOAV highlights the gaps in providing victim assistance to survivors of IEDs and landmines.

Victim assistance is a core component of mine action and States Parties have an obligation to fulfil that component as stipulated by the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty. Under this, states in a position to do so, should provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration, of victims of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW).

In 2016, two decades after the treaty banning antipersonnel landmines was opened for signature, 8,605 mine/ERW casualties were recorded by the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor – of which at least 2,089 were killed. Of these, 78% were civilians.

AOAV recorded over 12,000 civilian deaths and injuries from both IEDs and landmines in 2017, with 11,791 from IEDs (this includes suicide bombings). Another 77 civilian casualties were caused by unexploded ordinance (UXO). In the last seven years, 2011-2017, AOAV has recorded over 114,000 civilian casualties from IEDs, landmines and other ERW.

Given the significant numbers of casualties each year from landmines, IEDs and ERW, there is an obligation to ensure that the particular needs of such victims are recognised and provided for. In AOAV’s report, ‘Facing Life After the Landmines are Gone’, it was found that currently not enough assistance is provided to landmine and improvised explosive device (IED) victims after agencies leave post-clearance. Funding often dried-up, organisations moved-out and there was a lack of access to care for many victims.

The report showed that UK’s policy does not emphasise specific assistance for IED/landmine victims; ignoring the specific challenges landmine and ERW victims face, particularly those living in rural communities.

The evidence submitted to the inquiry highlights these concerns and recommends that the UK could better utilise its expertise on the specific needs of IED casualties and ensure this reaches other countries in which such knowledge is needed. It also calls for better funding in post-clearance situations for the survivors who continue to be in need of care.