Syria has the highest number of mine casualties in 2020

Syria recorded the highest number of landmine casualties in the world for the first time last year, ahead of Afghanistan, according to the annual report of the Mine Observatory, a coalition of non-governmental organizations, published today.

For the first time since the Mine Observatory kept records in 1999, Syria recorded the highest number of mine casualties – 2,729 dead and wounded – in the past year.

Syria has not signed the Mine Ban Convention.

Until last year, Afghanistan and Colombia, which have signed the Convention, were in the top two of the list with the most victims. In its report, the Observatory notes that Syria “did not record or confirm the use of anti-personnel mines by Syrian government forces or Russian forces participating in joint military operations in Syria during the period under review.”

“Non-state armed groups in Syria may have continued to use improvised landmines, as in previous years, but limited access (…) to areas controlled by non-state armed organizations has made it difficult to confirm the use of landmines,” he said.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Mines has been signed by 164 countries. Based on this, the use of landmines against personnel as well as improvised explosive devices is prohibited.

In 2020, landmine casualties were recorded in 54 countries and territories, of which 38 countries have signed the Convention. According to the Mine Observatory, only one country, Myanmar, which has not signed the Convention, used anti-personnel mines during the period under review, from mid-2020 to October 2021.

During this period, non-state armed groups used anti-personnel mines in at least six countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Myanmar, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The Observatory could not confirm allegations of the use of these mines elsewhere in 2020. For the sixth consecutive year in 2020, there was a particularly high number of mine casualties worldwide, some of which were improvised while others were cluster munitions and remnants of war explosives, the Observatory said. exhibition.

According to the Observatory, at least 7,073 mine / explosive remnants of war were recorded in 2020, up from 5,853 in 2019 and 3,456 in 2013, the lowest number ever recorded. Of these, 2,492 were killed and 4,561 were injured, with civilians making up the vast majority of the victims.

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