FEEDBACK: Launch of the new report ‘Everywhere the bombing followed us” in New York | October 29, 2017
October is the month when the UN general Assembly holds its First Committee on Disarmament and International Security session in New York: an important venue for advocating on issues related to disarmament. Representatives of Handicap International came from Amman and Paris on this occasion to present the findings of our report “Everywhere the bombing followed […]
October is the month when the UN general Assembly holds its First Committee on Disarmament and International Security session in New York: an important venue for advocating on issues related to disarmament.
Representatives of Handicap International came from Amman and Paris on this occasion to present the findings of our report “Everywhere the bombing followed us” to the States attending the First Committee. Meetings in Ottawa and in Washington have been also organised with the support of Handicap International teams there.
Field based evidence about the massive forced displacements caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, about the devastating consequences for the affected populations, about the specific hardships endured by women, was discussed extensively with States delegates, in side events or in bilateral meetings. States such as Ireland, Luxembourg or Austria were particularly supportive. Also, many other states have expressed their interest and welcomed this work.
Discussions have also focused on how military policies and practices can concretely be reviewed to enhance the protection of civilians during conflicts, based on a compilation report produced by OCHA and a case study on Mosul from Interaction and Civic: Protection of Civilians in Mosul: Identifying Lessons for Contingency Planning.
This is a very important step to progress on the contents on a political declaration to protect civilians against the harm caused by explosive weapons. The commitment by States to end the use of explosive weapons with wide area effect must be the core element of such a declaration. Figures show that 92% of casualties are civilians.
Handicap International will organize, with the government of Mozambique end of November, a conference in Maputo to raise awareness of all African States on this issue and encourage them to work collectively to join the work around a political declaration.
The First Committee session provides good opportunities to reach out to African delegates and invite their countries to attend the event. It came at a time when levels of civilian harm are appalling, with a spike in civilian deaths in September (3328 civilians killed or injured by explosive weapons). These figures further exacerbate the sense of urgency that we feel, as many other organizations working on disarmament issues.
The Nobel Prize attributed by a civil society campaign, ICAN, for their work on the Treaty on the Abolition on Nuclear Weapons has energized all the campaigner attending the First Committee session. Once more, it shows that civil society has a key role to play and that we can achieve a lot. This is why Handicap International will relentlessly continue to document the impact on civilians of the use of explosive weapons, bringing the voices of the persons on the field, raising awareness of the general public and advocating with States.