Go to main content

Airstrikes kill civilians

Rehabilitation
Syria

According to the latest report from the Association On Armed Violence(AOAV), 15,399 civilians were killed by explosive weapons during the first 11 months of 2017 - a 42% increase compared to the same period in 2016. This sharp rise is largely down to a massive increase in deadly airstrikes.

Mohammad, HI’s physiotherapist, during a rehabilitation session with Abdallah, 13, from West Mosul. His leg was broken in a missile explosion.

Mohammad, HI’s physiotherapist, during a rehabilitation session with Abdallah, 13, from West Mosul. His leg was broken in a missile explosion. | © William Daniels/HI

Of the total civilian deaths due to explosive weapons (15,399), 58% were caused by airstrikes, mainly in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Civilian deaths from airstrikes in this 11-month period increased by 82% compared to the same period in 2016. Around 70% of incidents continue to be perpetrated in populated areas.

Airstrikes are almost always used by coalitions and armies belonging to State actors. They were responsible for the majority of civilian deaths in 2017, for the first time since AOAV’s reports were launched in 2011.

“While most conflicts today are fought in urban areas, States need to recognise the many humanitarian problems caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas including serious and disabling injuries, severe psychological trauma, forced displacement and the impoverishment of populations, the destruction of essential infrastructure (hospitals, ports, bridges, etc.), and the loss of a community’s social and economic fabric. They must take action to end this practice, which has devastating consequences for local populations,” says Anne Héry, director of advocacy at HI.

Towards a political declaration

A member of the INEW (International Network on Explosive Weapons) coalition, HI is calling on all states to bring an end to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, including by supporting international initiatives to that end. The organisation is also asking the public to sign a petition in order to mobilise States to take action against this scourge.

Civilians account for 92% of victims of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, a practice now commonplace in current conflicts. Used in populated areas, explosive weapons kill, cause suffering and serious injuries (burns, open wounds, fractures, etc.), and lead to the onset of severe disabilities and psychological trauma. The use of these weapons also leads to the forced displacement of people and destroys essential infrastructure such as homes, schools and hospitals.

During an attack, a variable percentage of these weapons do not explode on impact, creating a permanent threat to civilians long after a conflict is over. The presence of explosive remnants of war makes it dangerous for people to return to their neighbourhoods once the attack or conflict has ended.

Where your
support
helps

PRESS CONTACT

CANADA

Gabriel PERRIAU

USA

Mica BEVINGTON

 

Help them
concretely

To go further

 High-tech Recycling: HI re-uses donated artificial limbs to help children like Elinah
© Lumahee / HI, 2020
Prevention Rehabilitation

High-tech Recycling: HI re-uses donated artificial limbs to help children like Elinah

Volunteer orthopedic specialists in a workshop in Lyon are changing the lives of people around the world by reconditioning valuable prosthetic parts donated by amputees.

HI helps anti-personnel victim Ismail live with dignity again
© HI
Explosive weapons Inclusion Rehabilitation

HI helps anti-personnel victim Ismail live with dignity again

Ismail lost both legs in a landmine explosion at the age of 14. Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is now teaching him to walk again with his new prostheses.

HI in Lebanon helps 10-year-old Shahid to walk again
© Photo HI
Explosive weapons Health Rehabilitation

HI in Lebanon helps 10-year-old Shahid to walk again

Shahid was seriously injured in Syria in 2011 and has been unable to walk since. Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is providing physiotherapy and splints to get her back on her feet.