The Rt Hon. David Miliband’s 2019 Fulbright Lecture, ‘The new arrogance of power: Global politics in the age of impunity’, presented at the University of Edinburgh on June 19th 2019, highlighted findings from AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor.
The lecture highlighted some of the current dangerous trends including the use of “chemical weapons, cluster bombs, landmines, bombing of school buses, besiegement of cities, blocking of humanitarian supplies, targeting of journalists and aid workers.”
Fundamentally, David Miliband’s lecture focused on conflict, its impact on civilians and the system that allows such atrocities to occur.
As part of this Miliband highlights that:
“From 2011 to today there has been a six-fold increase in annual battle deaths, with 2014 and 2015 being the deadliest years on the battlefield since the end of the Cold War.[i] Last year, 70% of casualties from explosive weapons were civilians – more than 20,000 in total.[ii]”
Since 2011, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) has been recording the global impact of explosive violence as reported in English language media.
In 2018, AOAV recorded 32,110 deaths and injuries from the use of explosive weapons around the world. As with previous years, civilians bore the burden of this explosive violence. Of those harmed, 70% were reported to be civilians – 22,342.
Miliband blames the ‘Age of Impunity’, that allows nation states to feel they can get away with anything. He calls for a change of course in foreign policy and a renewal of the checks and balances “that sustain liberty at home” and “protect the lives of the most vulnerable people abroad”.
[i] Sebastian von Einseidel, et al., “Civil War Trends and the Changing Nature of Armed Conflict,” United Nations University Center for Policy Research, March 2017
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