Agence France-Presse reported a significant increase in the number of victims of anti-personnel mines, an increase of 50% over last year, with their recent use in Burma, and against the background of the explosion of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in addition. to the events in Syria and Yemen, where 4,710 people were killed or injured in 49 countries and two other territories this year. The past, compared to 5,544 in 2021.
The report of the French Agency included a reference to the 164 countries that signed the Ottawa Convention prohibiting the use of anti-personnel mines, that during the period that was documented (2022 and the first half of 2023), these explosive devices were used by Ukraine, a signatory of the treaty, and of Burma. And Russia did not join it, while Armenia joined this year the list of countries manufacturing this type of mines, bringing the number to 12 countries (including China and Russia).
Marc Haisnay, one of the authors of the report, pointed out in a press conference “serious gaps” in the collection of data related to Afghanistan, while Laurent Bercy, another expert who participated in the report, according to the agency, explained that the number of people killed or injured by mines “increased by just over 50%”, that is, from 414 in 2021 to 628 in 2022.
He added, “This increase in the number of victims of anti-personnel mines is mainly due to the use of mines in Burma.”
Data on Ukraine are not yet classified enough to distinguish victims of landmines from other munitions due to the complex situation of the ongoing conflict, but the expert confirmed that there has been “a large increase in the number of victims of any kind in Ukraine.”
Anti-personnel mines are triggered by proximity or contact, and are explosive devices that continue to kill and maim people long after conflicts have ended.
For the third year in a row, Syria, which is not a signatory to the Ban Treaty, recorded the largest number of new victims (834) of anti-personnel mines or explosive remnants of war, followed by Ukraine with 608 new victims, then Yemen and Burma, with more than 500 victims. New in 2022. In Ukraine, the number of civilian victims increased tenfold compared to 2021.
Catherine Atkins, another expert who participated in the report, explained that Ukraine asked in March to extend the deadline for demining for ten years, a request that will be considered during the twenty-first meeting of the signatory states to the treaty, which will take place. at the headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva between the 20th and the 24th of this November.
Countries are not the only ones using this deadly weapon, as non-governmental armed groups have used it in many countries, including the Houthi group in Yemen, which is classified as a terrorist movement by the internationally recognized Yemeni government, while the United States. under the administration of Biden canceled the classification of the Shiite group. Supported by Iran as a terrorist group, contrary to the direction of the Trump administration, a draft law was again presented to the US Congress, last October, to classify the banned group on the terrorist list in the United States, days after a US destroyer intercepted Houthi missiles and drones that were allegedly headed for Israel.