Explosive weapons: the current situation

2013 research shows that 82% of fatalities due to explosive weapons were civilians, far higher than the proportion of civilian deaths from other weapon use. However, in incidences where explosive weapons are used in populated areas, 93% of people injured or killed are civilians, compared to 36% in non-populated areas. Even when explosive weapons are used to target military areas and armed actors, over half of the casualties are civilians.

While it is clear that the consequences of the use of these weapons are devastating for whole communities, women’s experiences in conflict tend to be overlooked or ignored. Analysis of the specific impact explosive weapons use has on women has so far been largely absent from relief, reconstruction, and policy discussions.

What we do know is that women die from explosive violence. An Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) report from March 2013 found that between 2003 and 2011, “the proportion of women and children killed and injured was significantly higher for explosive weapons than for firearm incidents and other forms of violence in Iraq.”

Also, research done on landmines shows that women tend to face a higher risk of stigmatisation and marginalisation due to their injuries, and also have limited access to emergency care and longer-term rehabilitation assistance. Major destruction of health care structures by explosive weapons use has been identified as having a particular devastating effect on women, in particular in relation to accessing maternity care.

Due to the lack of data and information on the impact these weapons have on women Reaching Critical Will published the report Women and Explosive Weapons in May 2014. The study seeks to draw attention to some of the unique impacts on women that explosive weapons have when used in populated areas

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