A report from Save the Children and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), ‘Ensuring the Protection of Civilians in Modern Conflict’, uses AOAV’s data to highlight the call for an urgent review of military rules of engagement and civilian protection measures – reiterating the message of the UN secretary-general.
The recent increase in airstrikes that AOAV recorded in 2017 is also used to highlight concern over the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. AOAV has consistently found that when explosive weapons are used in populated areas over 90% of casualties will be civilians.
The report, ‘Ensuring the Protection of Civilians in Modern Conflict’, was launched alongside former Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Stirrup; Syrian doctor and Chatham House fellow, Dr Abdulkarim Ekzayez; and RUSI Director General, Karin von Hippel.
The report is based on the findings from a roundtable discussion, organised by RUSI and Save the Children in September 2017, that aimed to analyse the landscape of civilian protection in modern armed conflict, and discuss the role that the UK government could play in addressing this. The conference involved cross-government officials, academics, think tanks and NGOs.
Based on the discussion, the report recommends a range of practical measures that aim to improve the protection of civilians in conflicts. Below are some of the key recommendations, calling on the UK Government to:
- Strengthen civilian protection policies, including by acknowledging that the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) on civilians tends to cause severe harm to civilians; calls to avoid their use and take measures to reduce their impact – including by updating the Government’s civilian protection strategy to recognise these new challenges.
- Update training programmes to increase the training of UK armed forces on civilian protection in relation to the use of EWIPA.
- Improve casualty tracking and recording by implementing the recommendations from the Chilcot Report that proposes the development of a cross-government framework to track civilian harm in conflict.
- Champion civilian protection on the international stage by consistently supporting robust accountability mechanisms for alleged violations of international law, increasing bilateral training with allied armed forces in relation to EWIPA and increasing engagement with UN agencies to drive global change on civilian protection.
To see the full report, please see here. AOAV works with civil society and member states of the UN to promote recognition of the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. AOAV supports the recommendations and calls made by Save the Children and RUSI – necessary steps to better prevent civilian harm in conflicts.
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