Data released by Action on Armed on Violence (AOAV) on May 14, 2014 shows that civilian deaths and injuries in 2013 from explosive weapons have increased by 15%, up from 2012.Civilians bore the brunt of bombings worldwide. AOAV recorded 37,809 deaths and injuries in 2013, 82% of whom were civilians. The trend was even worse when these weapons were used in populated areas. There civilians made up a staggering 93% of casualties. These stark figures mean that civilian casualties from bombings and shelling worldwide have gone up for a second consecutive year. This data is captured in AOAV’s latest report, Explosive Events, which analyses the global harm from the use of explosive weapons like missiles, artillery and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
•Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Lebanon were the most affected countries in the world. More than a third of the world’s civilian casualties from explosive weapons were recorded in Iraq, where AOAV saw a dramatic escalation in bombings with improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
•Seventy-one percent (71%) of civilian casualties from explosive weapons worldwide were caused by IEDs like car bombs and roadside bombs.
•Civilian casualties in Iraq increased by 91% from 2012, with more than 12,000 deaths and injuries recorded in the country in 2013.
•Market places were bombed in 15 countries and territories, causing 3,608 civilian casualties.
•Ballistic missiles, used only in Syria, caused an average of 49 civilian casualties per incident, the highest for any explosive weapon type.
The Verkkouutiset news website, affiliated with the ruling National Coalition, said the weapons deal by state-controlled arms producer Patria would provide Saudi Arabia with mortars worth 150 million euros ($204 million), the biggest arms deal for Finland in over a decade. An official at Finland’s defence ministry confirmed the government was reviewing the Patria mortar deal and would soon decide whether to allow it. It would not confirm the value of the sale or which country was buying the mortars. Verkkouutiset said politicians from the Social Democrats and the Green party had raised questions about whether the mortars could at some stage be used against civilians, as pro-democracy uprisings continue to sweep across the Arab world. It did not say if any minister would oppose the deal and quoted one Social Democrat member as saying it should be approved. Patria, in which European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) owns a 26.8 percent stake, announced last year it signed a deal to deliver 36 mortar systems, but did not disclose the customer or the value of the agreement. Saudi Arabia, a key ally of the United States, is ruled by an absolute monarchy which applies an austere version of Sunni Islam. Finland’s foreign ministry website says Saudi Arabia’s human rights situation is “poor”.
Jussi Rosendahl, Finland reviews Saudi arms deal on rights worries-report, Reuters, Nov. 11, 2011