Published On: Mon, Feb 29th, 2016

Landmines Still Cause Carnage Every Year

landmines- ARMY _illustration

According to the Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor, 1, 243 people were killed and 2, 386 were injured by landmines, victim-activated improvised explosive devices and remnants of cluster munitions around the world in 2014. As grim as those numbers are, there has been a steady fall in casualties since 1999 when the Mine Ban Treaty came into effect.

In 1999, the casualty count was 9, 220 with an average of one incident ever hour. In 2014, there were an average of 10 casualties every day. Afghanistan had the most injuries and deaths in 2014 by far (1, 296) followed by Colombia (286) and Myanmar (251), 80 percent of victims were civilians and 39 percent were children. (See chart below)

Statistics and facts about defense spending and arms trade

If recent statistics are anything to go by, future developments in the worldwide trend of military expenditure are not expected to make hopeful reading for those who advocate global disarmament. Despite the austere fiscal policies that have been adopted in many of the world’s developed nations, military expenditure has suffered little, and in nations like India and China – countries that have in recent years enjoyed periods of economic growth – decisions in military spending seem to be indicative of a strategic choice in a long-term bid for regional and global influence, often cited by watchers as being the inevitable rise of Asia.

Despite future expectations around the shift in the balance of global power, the United States has, for now at least, secured its place at the top. With its vast spending budget, the United States has long occupied the role of primary determinant in the current worldwide trend of military expenditure, a role that comes with the territory of being top of the countries with the highest military spending. With a comfortable lead of over half a trillion US dollars, the United States accounts for close to half of the entire world’s military expenditure. And despite the fact that the global financial crisis and the cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in a decline in its spending, forecasts ofU.S. defense outlays up to 2022 show that this change is set to be temporary.

While in the past many nations relied on the United States and its status as the world’s sole superpower for the defense of their sovereignty, many now rely on it as the world’s leading weapons exporting nation. The trade in arms, in terms of both exports and imports, is a very lucrative business. It is a very controversial practice often resulting in protests, especially with regards to the sale of arms to nations whose regimes are known to use them in the oppression of their own citizens. It remains to be seen, however, how stable the future is for the United States. Around three-quarters of all cyber attacks carried out in 2012 were targeted at the United States, a statistic that serves as a stark reminder that the wars of the future may not be decided on military might alone, but on the extent of capabilities to be shown within the spheres of cyberspace.

 

This charts shows the number of mine/ERW casualties per year (1999-2014)

Infographic: Landmines Still Cause Carnage Every Year | Statista

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