ALERT – In Belgium, it is time to act against bombing and shelling in populated areas | April 21, 2021
On 21 April the National Defense Commission of the Belgian Federal Parliament will have the one-time opportunity to make history and adopt the first resolution on the protection of civilians from bombing and shelling in populated areas. With 112 States and territories, 6 state groupings, the United Nations (UN) Secretary- General together with several UN […]
On 21 April the National Defense Commission of the Belgian Federal Parliament will have the one-time opportunity to make history and adopt the first resolution on the protection of civilians from bombing and shelling in populated areas.
With 112 States and territories, 6 state groupings, the United Nations (UN) Secretary- General together with several UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the European Union acknowledging the humanitarian consequences caused by explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA), the international community is widely mobilized against bombing and shelling.
This week, Belgian Federal Parliamentarians have the one-time opportunity to make history and adopt the first resolution on the protection of civilians against the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas, n°s 1222/1 and the related amendments.
Belgian Federal Parliamentarians from all walks of life have co-signed the draft resolution and its amendments. Parliamentarians show protection of civilians from bombing and shelling is not a partisan struggle, but rather an urgent and shared concern.
Stopping civilian harm caused by explosive weapons in towns and cities from Iraq to Syria, from Yemen to Ukraine is crucial. And it is now time to act.
Including the EWIPA resolution in the agenda of the National Defense Commission is a welcome step towards progress on this crucial topic and happens at the right moment, after the online consultations round held in March on the draft political declaration, and ahead the in-person meeting that should happen this summer, as soon as covid19 related measures allow it. Additionally, Belgian parliamentarians might be the first ones to adopt an unequivocal resolution, thus setting the example for their colleagues in other European countries who’ll be meeting online on 27 May 2021 for the European Parliamentarian Conference on the future political declaration to protect civilians from the use of EWIPA.
Ahead of the vote on Wednesday 21 April, Humanity & Inclusion calls on the Belgian MPs to adopt the resolution without hesitation and to step forward as a country that strongly promotes the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
- Endorsing the UN Secretary-General’s and ICRC’s recommendation that states should avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.
- Supporting the development of the international political declaration to reduce harm from the use of explosive weapons by avoiding the use of explosive weapons with wide areas effects in populated areas, and by providing a framework for assistance to victims of explosive weapons.
- Acknowledging the direct effects of explosive weapons use, as well as the indirect and reverberating effects, which cause severe harm to individuals and communities and devastate the economic, health and social dimensions of a society.
- Ensuring principled rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access, guarantee the rights of people critically injured, survivors, families and communities affected by EWIPA, and ensure they receive adequate assistance based on their priorities.
- Sharing military policies and practices in order to better protect civilians, as well as collect and share data disaggregated by sex, age and disability.