According to UNHCR statistics, as of May 2022, 100 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide. This includes 37,8 million refugees fleeing war, persecution and violence. NGOs and international organisations, such as the UNHCR, have highlighted the correlation between the deployment of explosive weapons and the recent unprecedented influx of refugees. According to surveys, the vast majority of those fleeing the ongoing conflicts choose to do so because of the impact of explosive weapons on their towns and communities.
When air-dropped munitions, multi-barrel rocket launchers or heavy artillery shells are used in towns and cities, they create lasting problems for the local population. People are forced to flee, either because they fear an explosive attack, or because their homes and livelihoods are destroyed. Despite the decades after the wars in South-eastern Europe, landmines and unexploded ordnance pose a continuous threat to population of and migrants travelling along the Balkans Route. 150 000 pieces of unexploded ordnance still remain dotted around areas of the Balkans.
The Parliamentary Assembly should consider the link between forced migration and current trends in the conduct of hostilities, and whether more needs to be done in implementing existing legal standards, such as the 1997 UN Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Mine Ban Convention). The Assembly should strongly advocate against the use of explosive weapons and act resolutely to build peace in Europe.