In June 2020, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 1,077 deaths and injuries from 230 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 61% (662) of the deaths and injuries recorded.
When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 90% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 21% in other areas.
Manufactured weapons accounted for 57% of civilian casualties in June 2020, while improvised explosive devices (IEDs) accounted for 43%. Of the main launch method types, ground-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 33% of civilian casualties, airstrikes for 19%, and IEDs for 43%. The remaining 5% of civilian casualties were caused by landmines, naval-launched weapons, and those with an unclear launch method.
At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 17 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Pakistan in terms of civilian casualties.
Afghanistan was the country worst impacted by explosive weapons in June with 246 civilian casualties recorded from explosive violence. Casualties have, however, have been decreasing in Afghanistan in the last couple of months. Nevertheless, on June 29th 2020, 23 civilians were killed in rocket attack on cattle market in Helmand by Afghan forces.
Syria also continued to see lower numbers of civilian casualties with 146 civilian casualties from explosive violence recorded last month. 70% of the casualties in June were due to IEDs, similar to the previous month. 35 civilian casualties were from airstrikes in Syria last month, after a month without such casualties recorded.
In Libya AOAV recorded 77 casualties, of which 70 were civilians. The majority (46) were caused by airstrikes. All were recorded without a perpetrator identified – the numbers of states and other actors increasingly involved in the conflict in Libya makes it difficult to assess who is responsible for civilian casualties.
While in both Yemen and Pakistan, most civilian casualties were caused by ground-launched explosive weapons. In Yemen, most these civilian casualties were caused by Houthi shelling and cross-border shelling from Saudi Arabia – 21 civilian casualties were also caused by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes. In Pakistan, 16 civilian casualties were due to grenade attacks, 16 from Indian shelling and 19 from IEDs.
AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area affects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.
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