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New report reveals a two-fold increase in the number of deaths in armed conflicts from 2021 to 2022.


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At least 237,000 people died in organized violence in 2022. A new report from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) at Uppsala University shows this is a 97% increase from the previous year, the highest number since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

The results will be published in the July issue of Peace Research Journal.

“We’re seeing this increase despite significant declines in the two deadliest conflicts of 2021; Yemen and Afghanistan. Instead, violence in Ethiopia and Ukraine has escalated dramatically,” says Sean Davies, senior analyst at UCDP.

The wars in Ethiopia and Ukraine together have resulted in at least 180,000 battle-related deaths in 2022. This is a low estimate, as information from these conflicts is scarce and subject to widespread publicity. The numbers are likely to be revised significantly as more information becomes available. However, the data shows that more people died in these two conflicts in 2022 than in the entire world in the previous year.

“The popular perception is that Russia’s war in Ukraine was the deadliest conflict in 2022, but in fact, more people died in Ethiopia as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front fought the Ethiopian army, the latter backed by Eritrea, since late 2020,” he says. Davies.

In both Ethiopia and Ukraine, the fighting was characterized by trench warfare, with warring parties accused of using human wave tactics. This type of warfare contributed to the high number of casualties.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 is the first large-scale interstate war in 20 years. Even if conflicts between states remain relatively rare, in recent years they have increased.

“It has also become common for outside countries to send troops in support of rebel groups fighting against other governments, which basically means that the country’s militaries are fighting each other,” says Therese Peterson, project lead at UCDP.

The number of active conflicts in the world remains at a historically high level. The UCDP recorded 55 different conflicts where the country was involved on one or both sides during 2022. In contrast, between 2000 and 2013, between 31 and 39 such conflicts were recorded annually, while the annual number ranged from 52 to 56. 2015 onwards.

“Although most conflicts are small, the number of wars increased from five in 2021 to eight in 2022. Conflicts that cause at least 1,000 battle-related deaths within a single calendar year are considered wars,” Peterson explains.

The number of non-state conflicts, where rebel groups or other armed organized actors fight each other, also remains at a high level. UCDP recorded 82 such conflicts in 2022. Nine of the year’s ten fiercest non-state conflicts occurred in Mexico where rival drug cartels have fought each other over turf since the 1980s. Gang-related violence has also increased in Brazil, Haiti, Honduras and El Salvador in recent years.

Moreover, so-called unilateral violence, in which civilians are targeted, has increased in 2022. At least 11,800 civilians have been killed in this type of deliberate and targeted violence, carried out by 45 different countries or organized groups. The actor that killed the most civilians in unilateral violence was the Islamic State (IS), but states also attacked civilians on a large scale in several conflicts. Both Russia and Eritrea have used extensive violence against civilians in the wars in Ukraine and Ethiopia.

more information:
Peace Research Journal (2023)

Provided by Uppsala University

the quote: Deaths in armed conflicts doubled between 2021 and 2022, says new report (2023, June 7) Retrieved June 7, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-06-deaths-armed-conflicts.html

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