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INEW briefing paper: A Declaration to Prevent Harm From the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas

inewThe International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), of which Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) is a member, released a briefing paper in September, ‘A Declaration to Prevent Harm From the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas‘.

As international discussions begin to develop a political instrument to address the humanitarian problem posed by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, INEW’s paper sets out key elements that such a declation should contain.

The paper draws upon AOAV’s report ‘Patterns of Harm‘ that analysed five years worth of data on explosive violence and consistently found that when explosive weapons were used in populated areas over 90% of the deaths and injuries caused were civilian.

The paper reiterates calls for states to stop using heavy explosive weapons in populated areas to mitigate civilian harm and for states to develop an international political declaration, building on the basis provided by existing international law, and integrated into national policy.

The paper outlines key elements that should be priorities within the political declaration to prevent harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

The humanitarian harm from the use of explosive weapons is a central motivation for the declaration. Therefore, INEW states that there should be clear recognition of this harm within the document, including a description of the different impacts.

INEW’s paper outlines the commitments that should be set out in the declaration to provide greater protection to civilians. These include:

  • Stopping the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas
  • Assisting victims of explosive weapons
  • Gathering and sharing data
  • Humanitarian and protection measures
  • Building a community of practice towards stronger civilian protection

INEW’s paper encourages states to:

  • Recognise the humanitarian harm that results from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas
  • Indicate support for the development of an international political declaration as outlined
  • Review and make available national policies and practices related to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and make changes to stregthen the protection of civilians
  • Support data-gathering on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, including recording casualties and gathering data on victims
  • Take action to support the needs of victims, including survivors, families of those killed or injured, and affected communities

To read the full briefing paper from INEW please see here.