World

Landmine casualties at 10-year high - report

Yemeni demining experts prepare to destroy explosives and mines laid by Huthi rebels in the southern city of Aden. 5 April 2016 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption War-torn Yemen was one country where the number of victims has increased

The number of people killed or injured by landmines and similar weapons reached a 10-year high last year, a new report has revealed.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) said the number of casualties worldwide rose to 6,461 in 2015, up 75% on the previous year.

The report said civilians made up more than three quarters of victims and 38% of them were children.

Most victims were in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Ukraine.

"The decade-high number of new casualties caused by landmines and unexploded ordnance, and the continued suffering of civilians, more than a third of whom were children, proves again that these indiscriminate weapons should never be used by anyone," Loren Persi, of the ICBL's Landmine Monitor, said in a statement.

The report said that the use of antipersonnel mines by nation states remains rare due to a ban signed by most countries.

However, it said there had been a steep increase in casualties from improvised devices, mines and "explosive remnants of war" recorded in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

Anti-mine funds decrease

It said greater availability of casualty figures also contributed to the rise.

The highest number of casualties in 2015 was recorded in Afghanistan with 1,310 people killed or wounded, a similar figure to 2014.

There were 1,004 victims in Libya, with Yemen recording 988, Syria 864 and Ukraine 589.

The report said that the only countries where government forces planted landmines in 2015 were Myanmar, North Korea and Syria, none of which have signed up to the international Mine Ban Treaty.

The ICBL also noted that, despite the increase in casualties, worldwide funding for clearing mines and helping victims decreased.

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