In 2020, around 60 percent of all conflicts worldwide were violent. Despite repeated calls for global ceasefires due to the COVID-19 pandemic, political conflicts continue to hit civilians hardest, further exacerbating the needs of the most vulnerable groups.
The total number of civilian deaths and injuries from the use of explosive weapons fell by 43 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year, but civilians remain the largest casualties. In 2020, 59 percent of casualties were civilians, with a total of 11,056 dead and injured.
Civilians remained far more at risk when explosive weapons were used in populated areas. The destruction of vital infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, roads and schools, is having a devastating impact on civilians and increasing the risks of displacement and protection. Globally, 88 percent of people injured by explosive weapons are civilians - a trend that has been observed for the tenth year in a row.
Children are particularly at risk. In 2020, the United Nations confirmed over 26,000 serious violations against children, including the recruitment and use of children by armed groups, killing, maiming, molestation, rape and sexual violence, kidnapping and attacks on schools and hospitals.