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Explosive Violence Monitor: 2020

In this report Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) presents the findings from the tenth consecutive year of the Explosive Violence Monitoring Project (EVMP), which records the casualties from explosive weapon use worldwide as reported in English-language media.

In 2020, AOAV recorded 18,747 deaths and injuries as a result of the use of explosive weapons around the world. As seen every year for the past decade, civilians continued to bear the burden of this harm: civilians accounted for 11,056 of all explosive violence casualties recorded, or 59%

When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, the threat to civilians posed – as with other years – a significant concern. In 2020, 88% of those reported harmed by explosive weapons in populated areas were civilians. Civilian casualties from explosive weapons in populated areas accounted for 89% of all civilian casualties harmed by explosive weapons in 2020.

The full report is available for download here:  Explosive Violence Monitor 2020

Key findings:

• In total, AOAV recorded 18,747 deaths and injuries by explosive weapons in 2,910 incidents in 2020. Of these, 11,056 were civilians – 59%.
• In total, 8,165 people were killed (of which 3,668 were civilians), and 10,582 were injured (of which 7,388 were civilians) by explosive weapons globally.
• Civilian deaths and injuries in populated areas represented 89% of all reported civilian deaths and injuries.
• When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 88% of those killed and injured were civilians. This compares to 16% in other areas.
• AOAV recorded 9,880 civilians killed and injured in populated areas.
• Civilian deaths and injuries from explosive violence saw a decrease of 43% last year, compared to the year before. This means that this is the fifth consecutive year in which AOAV has recorded a drop in civilian casualties. 
• Manufactured explosive weapons accounted for at least 6,186 civilian casualties (56%). While improvised explosive devices (IEDs) accounted for at least 4,778 civilian casualties (43%). (A further 92 civilian casualties were caused by incidents using multiple types of launch methods.)
• Air-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 17% of all civilian deaths and injuries. Ground-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 34%. The remaining civilian casualties were caused by incidents using mines (3%), those recorded with an unclear launch method (1%), using multiple types of explosive weapons (<1%) and naval-launched explosives (<1%).
• Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Libya saw the highest number of civilian deaths and injuries in 2020 with 3,485, 3,013, 689, 683 and 671 civilian casualties respectively.
• Despite most countries seeing decreases in casualties, the increasing tension in Myanmar, Azerbaijan (over the Nagorno-Karabakh region), Iran and Cameroon led to increases in these countries.
• Incidents were recorded in 48 countries and territories around the world; twelve less locations than in 2019.



For more information on this report, please contact Iain Overton, AOAV’s Executive Director on +44 (0) 7984 645 145 or at ioverton@aoav.org.uk.