The Burden of Harm: Monitoring explosive violence in 2017

Report
from Action on Armed Violence
Published on 12 Apr 2018 View Original

2017 saw a 38% increase in civilian deaths from explosive violence, new report finds

As the U.S. and the U.K. appear to be gearing up for more air-strikes over Syria, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) releases today its findings from its analysis of explosive weapon harm as seen in 2017. Last year, AOAV recorded 42,972 deaths and injuries from the use of explosive weapons around the world, as reported in English language media.

This comprises the highest number of civilian deaths since we began our monitor in 2011 – some 16,289 – a 38% increase compared to the previous year, and a 165% increase from 2011.

It was also a year that saw the United Kingdom appear in the top ten countries most impacted by explosive violence around the world.

As in previous year, civilians continued to bear the burden of this explosive violence. Of those both killed or injured, 74% were reported to be civilians – 31,904.

In this report, The Burden of Harm: Monitoring explosive violence in 2017, AOAV also found that 92% of those reported harmed by explosive weapons in populated areas were civilians.

A large part of this harm was down to air strikes, with 45% of all civilians harmed from such weapon systems.

Civilians killed or injured by air strikes was almost 50% higher in 2017 than in 2016 – a figure that should give pause for thought given the current escalation of rhetoric surrounding the use of air power in Syria.

The full report is available for download here: The Burden of Harm: Monitoring explosive violence in 2017.

KEY FINDINGS

  • AOAV recorded 42,972 deaths and injuries by explosive weapons in 3,825 incidents in 2017. Of these, 31,904 were civilians – 74%.
  • When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 92% of those killed and injured were civilians. This compares to 20% in other areas.
  • Civilian deaths and injuries in populated areas represented 93% of all reported civilian deaths and injuries.
  • AOAV recorded the highest number of civilian deaths since it began its monitor in 2011 – a 38% increase compared to the previous year, and a 165% increase compared to 2011.
  • There was a 44% increase in civilian harm from air-launched attacks compared to 2016 – with a reported 14,342 civilians worldwide killed and injured, accounting for 45% of all civilian deaths and injuries.
  • Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen saw the highest number of civilian deaths and injuries in 2017.
  • Six countries and territories saw over 1,000 civilian deaths and injuries in 2017.
  • Syria saw over 15,000 deaths and injuries – of which 85% were civilians.
  • Some of the most impacted countries saw a significant rise in civilian deaths and injuries as a result of explosive weapons compared to the year before: Pakistan (51%); Somalia (92%); Egypt (305%).
  • Incidents were recorded in 59 countries and territories around the world.
  • For the first time since our data recording began, the United Kingdom appeared in the top ten countries most harmed by explosive violence.

Iain Overton, Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), said of the report: ‘the most striking finding by AOAV in our analysis of explosive violence in 2017 was that of the sharp rise in air dropped bombs. For the first time since our data began seven years ago, such air strikes caused the greatest levels of civilian harm compared to other explosive weapon types. This increase reflects an increased appetite for states to use such injurious weapons in towns and cities around the world – despite the evidence showing overwhelmingly that over nine out of ten people harmed in such attacks will, on average, be civilians. Our report should serve as a stark message for states to cease any use of explosive weapons in towns and cities immediately.’

AOAV is a founding member of the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), a coalition of NGOs working to prevent the suffering caused by explosive weapons. UK based organisations Oxfam International and Save the Children are also members.

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.

Notes to editors:

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) is a London-based charity that has a central mission: to carry out research and advocacy in order to reduce the incidence and impact of global armed violence. We seek to strengthen international laws and standards on the availability and use of conventional and improvised weapons, to build recognition of the rights of victims and survivors of armed violence, and to research the root causes and consequences of armed violence in affected countries.