By Magdalena Mis
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The number of civilians around the world killed or injured by explosives such as bombs and mortars has risen by more than 50 percent in the past five years, a charity that monitors the casualties said on Wednesday.
The highest numbers of civilian casualties in 2015 were recorded in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, followed by Nigeria and Afghanistan, the UK-based Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) said in a report.
Seventy-six percent of the almost 43,800 people killed or injured by explosives such as bombs, mortars and improvised explosive devices (IED) last year were civilians, spread across 64 countries and territories, the report said.
"More states should speak publicly against the use of such weapons and hopefully we will end up stigmatizing it just as land mines, cluster munitions and poison gases have been stigmatized," Iain Overton, AOAV director of investigations, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.
The organization called on all nations to end the use of such explosives in populated areas.
Civilian casualties from explosives last year were 2 percent higher than in 2014 and up 54 percent from 2011, the AOAV said.
The biggest jump in civilian casualties was in Turkey and Yemen, led by a 7,700 percent rise in Turkey due mainly to the October suicide bombing in the capital Ankara, it said.
In populated areas more than 90 percent of the casualties caused by explosives were civilians, the AOAV said.
Last year saw a sharp increase in the number of civilians killed or injured by suicide attacks, the total jumping 67 percent from 2014 to more than 9,000.
Suicide attacks took place in 21 countries, a record high, Overton said.
Repeating the pattern of previous years, almost half the explosives injuries and deaths in 2015 were caused by IEDs, while bombs dropped by aircraft caused the most harm, killing or injuring on average 42 people per incident, the report said.
(Reporting by Magdalena Mis, editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)