Geneva, April 8, 2022 – Following consultations at the United Nations on a draft for an international agreement to address civilian harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) urges states to commit to adapting their policies and practices to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects and develop sufficient mitigation measures to limit their impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.
“Compliance with international humanitarian law is insufficient to address the reality on the ground for civilians,” said Sahr Muhammedally, CIVIC’s Director for MENA. “Over 90 percent of victims from explosive weapons are civilians. We have a responsibility to change that. States must rise to the challenge and strengthen protection norms to alleviate human suffering.”
From April 6 to April 8, 2022, 66 states, the ICRC, United Nations, and civil society organizations met to discuss the draft Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas. CIVIC provided written comments on the draft declaration and offered remarks during consultations.
CIVIC welcomes the leadership of Ireland in facilitating the consultations and is encouraged to hear many delegations recognize the urgent need to strengthen protection of civilians when fighting takes place in urban areas.
The use of explosive weapons has taken an unacceptable toll on civilians, killing and injuring them. Their use has also resulted in the destruction or severe damage of schools, homes, hospitals, vital infrastructure, and displaced millions of people as witnessed in Ukraine, Yemen, Gaza, Ethiopia, and Syria.
A final round of consultations on the political declaration will take place in June 2022 before states can commit and sign the document.
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