The United Nations has released a report this week by the Secretary-General on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The report, which includes AOAV’s latest 2018 data, reiterates the concern for the civilians whose lives are shattered by armed conflict and stresses the need for a greater effort globally to protect civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
On the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, referring to AOAV’s data, the report reads:
I have repeatedly called on parties to conflict to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas, owing to the immediate and cumulative, complex and long-term harm resulting from such use. In 2018, an estimated 20,384 civilians were killed and injured by explosive weapons in populated areas.
The report once again calls on state parties to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas. It also draws attention to the reverberating impacts of explosive weapons, citing the destruction of irrigation systems, agricultural sites, schools, hospitals and water points in Yemen.
The Secretary General welcomed ongoing efforts to address the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, including talks convened by Germany in June and September 2018; and the joint statement made in the First Committee of the General Assembly, in which 50 Member States committed themselves to addressing the humanitarian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons by means of a political declaration.
The report also referred to the 23 States attending the Latin America and Caribbean regional conference on protecting civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, where they adopted the Santiago Communiqué. This communiqué saw states representatives acknowledge the need to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas and supported the development of a political declaration.
The report also welcomed the decision of Austria to host an international conference in October 2019 to raise awareness of the problem of explosive weapons in populated areas and encouraged Member States to participate constructively in this and initiate a process to draft a declaration.
AOAV works with civil society and states to promote recognition of the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. AOAV welcomes the continuing support and leadership of the United Nations in ensuring that preventing the harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is a priority for international community.
To read the full report, please click here.
To see more of AOAV’s key findings on civilian harm from explosive weapons in 2018, please see below:
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