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Explosive violence Monitor 2019

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The 2019 annual report by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) on explosive violence found that, when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, over nine in ten casualties were civilians.

In 2019, AOAV recorded 29,485 deaths and injuries as a result of the use of explosive weapons around the world.

Since 2011, AOAV has been recording the global impact of explosive violence as reported in English language media. And, as with every year for the past nine years, civilians continued to bear the burden of this violence. Of those harmed in 2019, two-thirds (66%) were civilians.

In 2019, of those reported harmed by explosive weapons in populated areas, 90% were civilians. In addition, civilian casualties in populated areas accounted for 92% of total civilian casualties.

These findings are part of a consistent pattern of harm that AOAV has persistently monitored since 2010. Over the last nine years of monitoring AOAV has found that when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, on average nine in every ten of the deaths and injuries caused were civilians.

Specifically, in 2019, Syria remained the worst impacted country. Afghanistan continued to suffer high levels of civilian harm from explosive weapons: AOAV recorded an 8% increase in civilian casualties in Afghanistan compared to the previous year.

The full report is available for download here: Explosive violence monitor 2019.

The key findings of the report are:

  • When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 90% of those killed and injured were civilians. This compares to 16% in other areas.
  • In total, 17,910 civilians were killed and injured in populated areas.
  • AOAV recorded 29,485 deaths and injuries by explosive weapons in 3,816 casualty-causing incidents in 2019. Of these, 19,401 were civilians – 66%.
  • In total, 13,169 people were killed (of which 6,476 were civilians) and 16,316 were injured (of which 12,925 were civilians) by explosive weapons globally.
  • Civilian deaths and injuries in populated areas represented 92% of all reported civilian deaths and injuries.
  • Civilian deaths and injuries from explosive violence saw a decrease of 13% in 2019, compared to 2018. This is the third consecutive year in which AOAV has recorded a drop in civilian casualties from explosive violence globally.
  • Manufactured explosive weapons accounted for at least 9,811 civilian casualties (52%).
  • Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) accounted for at least 9,089 civilian casualties (48%).
  • A further 501 civilian casualties were caused by incidents using multiple types of launch methods.
  • IEDs were responsible for at least 47% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence in 2019. Air-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 28% of all civilian deaths and injuries. Ground-launched explosive weapons were responsible** for 20%**. The remaining 4% were caused by incidents using multiples types of explosive weapons (3%), mines (1%), naval-launched explosives (<1%) and those recorded with an unclear launch method (<1%).
  • Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya **saw the highest number of civilian deaths and injuries in 2019** with 7,256, 4,630, 1,345, 950 and 906 civilian casualties respectively.
  • Despite a fall in reported deaths and injuries, Syria saw more than 8,774 deaths and injuries recorded by AOAV from explosive violence alone in 2019 – 83% were civilians.
  • **Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and Sri Lanka **saw a significant rise in civilian deaths and injuries as a result of explosive weapons compared to the year before.
  • Eight countries and territories saw over 500 civilian deaths and injuries in 2019.
  • Casualty-causing incidents of explosive violence were recorded in 60 countries and territories around the world; four less locations than in 2018.

Iain Overton, Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), said of the report: “For the ninth consecutive year, AOAV’s Monitor shows how civilians bear the brunt of explosive weapon harm, particularly in populated areas.”

“Following the continued recommendations of the UN Secretary-General and civil society, states are at a point where they may inform the declaration which will help prevent such harm to civilians. States must use this opportunity to meaningfully engage in the process to best ensure civilians are protected from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

For the report, please click here.

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