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18.9.2021 : 9:52 : +0200

Direct Conflict Deaths

Between 2004 and 2009, at least 208,300 violent deaths were recorded in armed conflicts—an average of 52,000 people killed per year. This is a conservative estimate including only recorded deaths: the real total may be much higher.

Direct conflict deaths are highly concentrated, with the top ten deadliest conflicts accounting for more than three-quarters of the global burden of violent mortality in war. A small number of countries accounts overwhelmingly for the global toll of conflict deaths. Consequently, carefully targeted armed violence reduction in a few selected countries could lead to measurable reductions in the global burden of armed violence.


Small Arms Survey Publications

  • A Missing Mandate? Casualty Recording in UN Peace Operations, by Hana Salama. HSBA-SANA Briefing Paper, June 2020 (also available in Arabic).

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  • Gender Counts: Assessing Global Armed Violence Datasets for Gender Relevance, by Anna Alvazzi del Frate, Gergely Hideg, and Emile LeBrun. Briefing Paper. March 2020. (Also available in French)

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  • Darkening Horizons: Global Violent Deaths Scenarios, 2018–30, by Gergely Hideg and Anna Alvazzi del Frate. Briefing Paper, May 2019.

    Download (853.5 KB)
  • Counting Casualties: Operationalizing SDG Indicator 16.1.2 in Libya, by Hana Salama. SANA Briefing Paper, February 2018 (also available in Arabic).

    Download (1018.91 KB)
  • Global Violent Deaths 2017: Time to Decide, by Claire Mc Evoy and Gergely Hideg. Small Arms Survey Report, December 2017.

    Download (3.76 MB)
  • Tracking Conflict-related Deaths: A Preliminary Overview of Monitoring Systems, by Irene Pavesi. Briefing Paper, March 2017.

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  • Monitoring Trends in Violent Deaths, September 2016. Research Note No. 59.

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  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2015: Every Body Counts, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat. Published by Cambridge University Press. May 2015.

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  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011: Lethal Encounters, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat. Published by Cambridge University Press. October 2011.

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  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2008, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, September 2008.

  • Armed Violence Prevention and Reduction: A Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, by Keith Krause and Robert Muggah, June 2008

  • Small Arms in Burundi: Disarming the Civilian Population in Peacetime, by Stéphanie Pézard and Nicolas Florquin, a study by the Small Arms Survey and the Ligue Iteka with support from UNDP–Burundi and Oxfam–NOVIB, August 2007. Special Report No. 7 (also available in French)

    Download (2.97 MB)
  • La République Centrafricaine: une étude de cas sur les armes légères et les conflits, by Eric G. Berman, with the support of UNDP, July 2006. Special Report No. 6

    Download (626.16 KB)
  • The Use and Perception of Weapons Before and After Conflict: Evidence from Rwanda, by Cécelle Meijer and Philip Verwimp, October 2005. Working Paper No. 2

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  • The Role of Small Arms During the 2003–2004 Conflict in Iraq, by Riyadh Lafta et al., September 2005. Working Paper No. 1

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  • Gun-running in Papua New Guinea: From Arrows to Assault Weapons in the Southern Highlands, by Philip Alpers, June 2005. Special Report No. 5

    Download (826.08 KB)
  • Reconsidering the Tools of War: Small Arms and Humanitarian Action, by Robert Muggah with Martin Griffiths, co-published with the Humanitarian Practice Network, Overseas Development Institute, July 2002.

    Download (298.22 KB)
  • Humanitarianism under Threat: The Humanitarian Impact of Small Arms and Light Weapons, by Robert Muggah and Eric Berman, commissioned by the Reference Group on Small Arms of the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee, July 2001. Special Report No. 1 (summary in French also available)

    Download (688.22 KB)
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Other Publications

  • Florquin, Nicolas. 2014. Arms Prices and Conflict Onset: Insights from Lebanon and Syria. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research. May.

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  • Muggah, Robert. 2011. Measuring the True Costs of War: Consensus and Controversy. PLoS Medicine, Vol. 8, No. 2. February.

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  • ARM (Afghanistan Rights Monitor). 2011. ARM Annual Report Civilian Casualties of War - January-December 2010. Kabul: Afghanistan Rights Monitor.

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  • Hsiao-Rei Hicks, Madelyn et al. 2011. Violent Deaths of Iraqi Civilians, 2003–2008: Analysis by Perpetrator, Weapon, Time, and Location. PLoS Medicine, Vol. 8, No. 2. February.

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  • Dardagan, Hamit, John Sloboda, and Richard Iron. 2010. In Everyone’s Interest: Recording All The Dead, Not Just Our Own. British Army Review. No. 149. 

  • Human Security Report Project. 2010. Human Security Report 2009/2010: The Causes of Peace and the Shrinking Costs of War. New York: Oxford University Press.

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  • Green, Penny and Tony Ward. 2009. The Transformation of Violence in Iraq. British Journal of Criminology. Vol. 49, No. 5. September, pp. 609–627.

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  • Harbom, Lotta and Peter Wallensteen. 2009. Armed Conflicts, 1946–2008. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 46, No. 4. Pp. 577–587.

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  • Mathers, Colin D., et al. 2005. Counting the Dead and What They Died From: An Assessment of the Global Status of Cause of Death Data. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Vol. 83, No. 3. March, pp. 171-180.

  • Human Security Centre. 2005. Human Security Report 2005: War and Peace in the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press.

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  • Guha-Sapir, Debarati and Willem Gijsbert. Conflict-related Mortality: An Analysis of 37 Datasets. 2004. Disasters, Vol. 28, No. 4. December, pp. 418–428.

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Further Resources

Uppsala Conflict Data Program and Centre for the Study of Civil War: Data on Armed Conflict

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