Globally, in the past decade, we have seen the repeated laying and activation of landmines in populated areas, causing thousands of casualties. Whilst campaigns to ban the use of landmines have made great strides in the past few decades,and huge resources put into demining efforts, this has not prevented continued death and injury of civilians by landmines around the world. A handful of states and many non-state actors continue to use landmines which, as shown through our data, more often than not harm civilian rather than military targets.
As the tragic example of 12-year-old Faiqa highlights, even in areas where the government insists it has demined the majority of an area, this has not resulted in the number of civilian victims becoming insignificant. There is an inherent difficulty in scanning a rural mountainous area for landmines but this should not be too big a barrier from preventing innocent civilians, many of them children, from suffering life-changing injuries or worse.
Aside from the direct fatalities and woundings, this report has laid out in detail the reverberating effects of landmine detonation on populated areas. It has shown that these attacks cause inordinate damage to people’s homes, farms, critical infrastructure (water-treatment, waste-management, electrical), food and medicine supply chains, transport networks, schools and hospitals. With these essential services hindered by landmines, huge numbers of people are displaced, or even contained in a hostile environment, meaning they cannot access basic medical care or schooling. Untreated psychological harm, especially concerning mothers, means children will likely feel the reverberating effects of landmines for the rest of their lives.
- UNIDIR should look to add to its EWIPA indicators to make provisions for the potentially devastating economic and psychological impacts brought about by the use of explosive weapons. There should also be an awareness of how incidents of explosive violence typically require an increase of psychological support to manage greater demand on services.
- Further study should be undertaken to explore the ways in which EWIPA indicators can be utilised alongside other matrices pertaining to conflict, security, economic development and state capability in order to better negate the range of variables which affect long-term impacts resulting from the use of explosive violence.
- States, international organisations and non-governmental organisations collecting and collating data on attacks on healthcare and education should – where possible – disaggregate their findings to highlight specific explosive weapon types. This will allow for greater research into the patterns of harm brought about by different explosive weapons.
- All states should become signatories to the proposed political declaration that seeks to address the humanitarian harm arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
END of report
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