ALERT – UN Security Council Open Debate on protection of civilians: Governments should recognize the impact of explosive weapons | January 18, 2016

UN Security Council Open Debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict will be held on 19 January 2016. Enhancing the protection of civilians by recognizing the impact of explosive weapons Handicap International urges States to take action against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas that killed or injured 32,000 civilians in 2014.[1] […]

UN Security Council Open Debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict will be held on 19 January 2016.

Enhancing the protection of civilians by recognizing the impact of explosive weapons

Handicap International urges States to take action against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas that killed or injured 32,000 civilians in 2014.[1] Handicap International is calling all states to recognize the impact of explosive weapons and to endorse the UN Secretary-General’s recommendation[2] that states should refrain from the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.

Explosive remnants of war in the city of Kobane during an assessment by HI © Ph. Houliat / Handicap International
Explosive remnants of war in the city of Kobane during an assessment by HI © Ph. Houliat / Handicap International

In addition to that, Handicap International is calling states to support the development of an international political instrument aimed at reducing harm from the use of explosive weapons, including stopping the use in populated areas of explosive weapons with wide area effects.

Large aircraft bombs, inaccurate artillery shells, or multiple rocket launchers are examples of explosive weapons that will have an impact over a wide area: in that case, civilian deaths and injuries are predictable. Around 50 States and territories acknowledged the humanitarian problem of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Only 25 states have called for action to address the harm, and we need more states to join efforts to develop a political commitment that can help reduce harm to civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas”, says Anne Héry, Director for Advocacy and Institutional Relations in Handicap International.

Civilians killed and injured during the bombing of populated areas

The bombing and shelling of towns and cities during conflict, like in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and Yemen, can and must be stopped. Over 32,000 civilians were reported killed or injured in 2014 by explosive weapons, according to Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), a number that has been increasing year on year for the last four years. AOAV also found that where explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 92% of the casualties were civilians.

For more information, see the International Network on Explosive Weapons’ Press Release here.

[1] Explosive States (2015), Action on Armed Violence, https://aoav.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/AOAV-Explosive-States-monitoring-explosive-violence-in-2014.pdf

[2] Report of the Secretary-General’s on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (18 June 2015), http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2015/453, S/2015/453


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