Acknowledging the harm

International momentum to address the use of explosive weapon in populated areas is building. Seventy countries from all regions of the world, as well as UN actors and the International Committee of the Red Cross, have recognised the humanitarian problem caused by explosive weapons in official statements. These acknowledgements are collected on this page. A digest of states’ positions on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas at January 2016 is also available here.

The UN Secretary-General has called on states to “refrain from the use in populated areas of explosive weapons with wide-area effect” and to engage in ongoing efforts to “develop a political declaration addressing the issue.” INEW urges immediate action to develop new international standards to address this pressing issue, including through the development of a political commitment.

States

The following 70 states and territories and 3 state groupings have publicly acknowledged the harm caused by explosive weapons in populated areas in statements (click links to jump to the record of what was said):

 

Afghanistan
Angola
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bangladesh
Belgium
Benin
Botswana
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Gabon
Germany
Greece
Guatemala
Holy See
Hungary
Iceland
Indonesia
Ireland
Italy
Japan
Jordan
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Mali
Malta
Mexico
Montenegro
Mozambique
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nigeria
Norway
State of Palestine
Panama
Paraguay
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Romania
Republic of Korea
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Switzerland
Thailand
Togo
Tunisia
Turkey
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State groups:
European Union
Human Security Network
Nordic Group

 

Of these, 56 countries have called for action to address this harm, including by supporting the call of the UN Secretary-General on states to develop a new commitment on this issue:

Angola, Australia, Austria, AzerbaijanBelgium, Benin, Botswana, BulgariaCanada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech RepublicDenmark, Estonia, Finland, FranceGermany, Greece, Holy See, HungaryIceland, Ireland, ItalyJordan, LatviaLiechtenstein, Lithuania, LuxembourgMalaysia, Mali, MaltaMexico, Montenegro, MozambiqueNetherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, ParaguayPoland, PortugalQatar, Republic of Korea, RomaniaSlovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, TunisiaUkraine and United Kingdom.

 

UN and ICRC

Certain UN actors and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have also acknowledged the harm caused by explosive weapons and/or called for action on this urgent humanitarian problem, both in public statements and in official reports to UN bodies (full reports are archived on INEW’s ‘learn more‘ page under ‘external resources’. Click links to jump to the record of what was said/published):

UN Secretary General (statements and official reports)
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (statements and official reports)
UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry on Gaza
UNICEF
International Committee of the Red Cross

 


 States

Afghanistan

Statement during the General Debate of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee, 2014:

“Use of high Explosive Weapons systems with wide area effect, such as mortars, rockets and grenades, by terrorists groups in civilian populated areas and use of civilians as human shields have resulted in a dramatic increase in civilian causalities.“

Angola

Statement during the January 2016  Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Thirdly, the widespread use of explosive devices is having a devastating humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure. We support the Secretary-General’s view, expressed in his latest report, on the development of policy standards to limit the use of explosive devices in populated areas, as a means to significantly strengthen the protection of civilians.”

Argentina

Statement during the June 2015 Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“Argentina, like the international community, is fully aware of the devastating effects on children of armed conflicts as a result of their recruitment, their abduction, indiscriminate attacks against civilian areas or direct attacks against civilians by explosive weapons, air strikes, or the use of terror tactics that cause an unbearable number of casualties among children.”

Australia

Statement during the November 2010 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

UNSC debate on PoC

The UN Security Council during the January 2015 open debate on protection of civilians

“First, we need to ensure there is greater compliance with international humanitarian law. Australia is concerned about the increased indiscriminate targeting of civilians with explosive weapons, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The most recent Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Afghanistan (S/2010/463) reported an 82 per cent increase in IED incidents, which is an alarming trend. We support the Secretary-General’s recommendation for further systematic data collection and analysis of the human costs of the use of explosive weapons.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…the use of powerful explosive weapons in populated areas without proper regard for international humanitarian law restrictions … is a clear violation of the limits of conflict. We support the Secretary-General’s recommendations on this. We encourage greater collection of data on the issue. We welcome the Council’s attention to this threat in Syria, and we encourage the Council to be systematic in its approach in this area.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“All too often, as we know, we see explosive weapons being used in densely populated areas. Again, Syria is a particularly egregious example. Parties to conflict must abide by international law, and we support the Secretary-General’s recommendation and further action on those issues.”

Austria

Statement during the June 2016 Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict:

“One of the most severe current challenges in this field is the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. We strongly welcome the Secretary-General’s focus on this issue in his report, and were pleased to see it feature prominently at the World Humanitarian Summit. Together with a number of other countries, Austria used this opportunity to subscribe to one of the Summit’s core commitments related to the use of these weapons, pledged an additional commitment and hosted a side event on this issue. Austria continues to support the objective of an international political commitment dedicated to the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and joins the Secretary-General in his call on all States to engage in this initiative.”The recent World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul has allowed us to affirm the importance of complying with international humanitarian law. Conduct in hostilities is subject to a number of rules that cannot and should not be violated with impunity. I refer to the use of explosives in densely populated areas, barrel bombs and cluster munitions, among others.

Statement to the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity, May 2016:

“Given the horrendous and often long-lasting consequences for civilians as a result of the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas Austria will raise international awareness, support the collection of data on direct civilian harm and the exchange of good practices and lessons as well as look for effective measures to strengthen the respect for international humanitarian law, including an international political declaration. So far this pledge is supported by Costa Rica, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Mozambique and Spain.”

Statement during January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Austria also highlights the concern about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas as a major cause of civilian harm in many countries. In most armed conflicts, civilian casualties from explosive weapons in populated areas dramatically outweigh military casualties. This is a grave humanitarian problem and a severe challenge for the protection of civilians in armed conflict.”

Statement during the December 2015 Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons:

“Let me emphasise here, however, that IEDs, associated predominantly with non-State actors, are only part of a broader picture. We talk about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. In numerous scenarios of armed conflict around the world, it is not only non-State actors but also regular armed forces of States which use bombs, grenades, artillery shells, IEDs and the like in urban settings. All too often, this practice results in grave violations of the principle of protection of civilians as enshrined in international humanitarian law, exacting an unacceptable toll on civilian populations. Neither is it a problem that can be restricted to a limited number of conflict zones. The growing numbers of refugees that are currently leaving their war-ridden home regions for European countries testify to this.

The United Nations Secretary General has long been drawn the attention of the international community to the pressing challenge to mitigate the humanitarian impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. As a long standing promoter of the cause of protection of civilians, Austria together with an increasing number of other countries shares the Secretary General’s concern that it is high time for States to jointly look for more effective ways to prevent civilian harm resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

That is why recently Austria together with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs assembled in Vienna representatives from interested States, the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations entities, as well as civil society organisations to look into possible paths towards a response by the international community. Among the outcomes of the meeting was the proposal that interested States should elaborate together a multilateral political commitment, possibly in the form of a political declaration, recognising the urgent humanitarian problem associated with the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and committing States to take concrete steps. We stand ready to share more information about the results of deliberations at Vienna with interested delegations.”

Statement during UN General Assembly First Committee General Debate, October 2015:

“Austria would also highlight specifically the concern about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas as a major cause of civilian harm in many countries. Civilian casualties from explosive weapons in populated areas amounted to more than 40.000 deaths and injuries in 2014 alone, dramatically outweighing military casualties. This is a humanitarian problem of extreme gravity and a severe challenge for the protection of civilians in armed conflict as stipulated by international humanitarian law. This is not a problem that can be restricted to a limited number of conflict zones. The growing numbers of refugees that are currently leaving their war-ridden home regions are a testimony of this. Many people are desperate to find shelter abroad, precisely from the use of explosive weapons and the lack of protection for civilian populations.

Recently, Austria and UN-OCHA convened an international expert meeting on this problem in Vienna with around twenty States, the ICRC, various UN agencies, as well as civil society represented. This meeting highlighted the importance of awareness raising on the basis of continuing collection and dissemination of data, as well as the sharing and promotion of States’ good practices in using explosive weapons. Moreover, significant support was expressed among participants for the proposal of the UN Secretary-General to start working on an international political declaration to prevent civilian harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

Statement during UN General Assembly First Committee Debate on Conventional Weapons, October 2015:

“Austria would also highlight specifically the concern about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas as a major cause of civilian harm in many countries. An increasing number of governments shares this concern. Civilian casualties from explosive weapons in urban settings amounted to a recorded global number of more than 40.000 deaths and injuries in 2014 alone, dramatically higher than military casualties. This is a humanitarian problem of extreme gravity and a severe challenge for the protection of civilians in armed conflict as stipulated by international humanitarian law. Neither is it a problem that can be restricted to a limited number of conflict zones. The growing numbers of refugees that are currently leaving their war-ridden home regions testify to this. Many people are desperate to find shelter abroad, precisely from the violence and the use of explosive weapons in their countries of origin and the lack or breakdown of protection for civilian populations.

Recently, Austria and UN-OCHA jointly convened an international expert meeting on this problem in Vienna with around twenty States, the ICRC, various UN agencies, as well as civil society represented. This meeting highlighted the importance of awareness raising on the basis of continuing collection and dissemination of data, as well as the sharing and promotion of States’ good practices in using explosive weapons. Moreover, significant support was expressed among participants for the proposal to start working on an international political declaration to prevent civilian harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The United Nations Secretary General has encouraged States in his latest report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict to engage constructively in such an initiative.”

Statement during June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“We commend the Secretariat’s efforts, including the expert seminars organized in the past two years by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in London and Oslo, to raise awareness about the devastating humanitarian consequences of explosive weapons for civilians, including children, and to restrict their use in populated areas where they cause indiscriminate harm. Austria itself will host an expert meeting in Vienna on 21 and 22 September 2015. We welcome the Secretary-General’s recommendation to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas and the Secretariat’s efforts to develop practical measures and guidance to reduce their humanitarian impact. In that regard, we welcome the Secretary-General’s initiative to study national practices, and we encourage countries to support him in that regard.”

Statement during January 2015 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“An area of particular concern to Austria is explosive weapons. We commend the Secretariat’s efforts, including the Expert Seminars organised by OCHA over the last two years in London and Oslo, to raise awareness about the devastating humanitarian consequences of explosive weapons for civilians – including women – and to restrict their use in populated areas where they cause indiscriminate harm. Austria will itself host an expert meeting in Vienna this September.

We welcome the Secretary-General’s recommendation to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as well as the Secretariat’s efforts to develop practical measure and guidance to reduce their humanitarian impact. In this regard we welcome the initiative by the Secretary-General to study national practices and we encourage countries to support him in this regard.”

Statement during the General Debate of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee, 2014:

“The use of explosive weapons in populated areas is increasingly recognised as a key concern for the international community, witnessing high numbers of civilians casualties and devastating effects of these weapons to infrastructure, socio-economic development as well as forced displacement. The international community should step up its efforts and explore ways on how to provide adequate protection to civilians from the severe harm of these weapons. Austria in partnership with the International Network for Explosive Weapons will host a side event on this issue on 22 October.“

Statement during the Conventional Weapons Debate of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee, 2014:

“The increased use of explosive weapons in populated areas has become a huge concern for the international community, witnessing high numbers of civilian casualties and devastating effects of these weapons to infrastructure, socio-economic development as well as forced displacement. The international community should step up its efforts and explore ways on how to more effectively implement the existing legal framework in order to provide adequate protection to civilians from the severe harm of these weapons. Austria in partnership with the International Network for Explosive Weapons will host a side event on this issue today at 1:15 hours in Room A and I invite you all to participate.”

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

Austria at UNSC

Austria delivers a statement to the UNSC open debate on protection of civilians, January 2015

“We commend the Secretariat’s efforts, including the Chatham House seminar organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs last year, to raise awareness about the devastating humanitarian consequences of explosive weapons for civilians and to restrict their use in populated areas, where they cause indiscriminate harm. Austria welcomes the Secretary-General’s recommendation to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas and the Secretariat’s efforts to develop practical measures and guidance to reduce their humanitarian impact. We stand ready to assist in those endeavours.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Austria welcomes the Emergency Relief Coordinator’s appeals in this regard and supports the ICRC’s view and the Secretary General’s recommendation that explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. Under International Humanitarian Law their use is not prohibited as such, but the heightened risk of indiscriminate harm and the appalling suffering they cause when used in densely populated areas should be reason enough for us to consider this issue in depth, including the possibility of developing stronger international standards. More systematic data collection, the refinement of national policies on the use of explosive weapons and conducting post-strike analysis are important in this respect.”

Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We also share the concern of the Secretary-General over the threat posed to civilians by explosive weapons, as outlined in his 2010 report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Deployed in populated areas, these weapons cause unacceptable suffering for women, children and men, even years after their initial use. Austria urges all States to accede to and strengthen relevant international instruments, such as the Mine Ban Treaty, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and Additional Protocols II and V to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.”

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia:

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Azerbaijan

Statement during the August 2016 Security Council open debate on children and armed conflict:

“Recently, in April, Armenia conducted large-scale attacks, including against the civilian population of Azerbaijan, as a result of which children were killed and a number of schools, kindergartens and medical facilities substantially damaged. In this regard, we subscribe to the recommendation of the Secretary-General that that all parties to the conflict should refrain from using explosive weapons in populated areas. Indeed, the suffering of children could be significantly alleviated if the parties were to respect international humanitarian and human rights law.”

Statement during the June 2016 Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict:

“Azerbaijan strongly condemns all attacks on civilians and civilian structures in situations of armed conflict. We are deeply concerned by sexual violence in conflict, grave violations against children, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and attacks on humanitarian personnel, to name just a few.”

September 2012 Interactive Dialogue with the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict at the Human Rights Council:

Azerbaijan said it concurred with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict that ensuring children’s access to education was a powerful means to protect them from becoming involved with armed forces or groups in conflict-affected countries or fragile situations. Azerbaijan also echoed the distinct and specific problems associated with explosive weapons where children not only became victims, but sometimes also became specific targets. NB: This record is taken from the UN

Belgium

Statement during the August 2016 Security Council open debate on the children and armed conflict:

“Belgium also remains concerned about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and calls on all parties involved in a conflict to renounce that practice, of which children are the primary victims.”

Statement during January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict:

“Secondly, Belgium fully supports the recommendations of the Secretary-General in each of the areas dealt with in his report of 18 June 2015 (S/2015/453), namely, strengthening respect for international law; humanitarian access; the use of explosive devices in populated areas; the identification and registration of civilian casualties; displaced persons; and the role of the Security Council on the protection of civilians.”

Statement during June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“In that context, Belgium would also like to reiterate its concern over the use of explosive weapons — particularly in densely populated regions — and calls on all parties to armed conflict to renounce their use.”

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“The Syrian Government is bombing certain locations with barrels containing explosives, thus killing many civilians, including children. However, the use of indiscriminate explosive weapons in populated areas violates the rules and principles of international humanitarian law, as the Secretary-General noted in his report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.”

Statement during the September 2012 Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“Belgium also shares the concern of the Secretary-General and the Special Representative concerning the use of explosive weapons, especially in densely populated areas. We deplore that explosive weapons have been used in direct physical attacks against schools and hospitals. Those acts constitute a grave violation of children’s rights. Belgium strongly supports the concrete recommendations made by the Special Representative regarding the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effect in populated areas, and calls for the universalization of the relevant international instruments, including the Conventions on the prohibition of antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Bangladesh

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

We are deeply concerned by the availability and use of arms and explosive weapons in populated areas as a violation of international law, by increasing threats against the security of health care facilities and the delivery of health care services, and by the failure to comply with international humanitarian law.”

Benin

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“The Council should address the question of the use of explosive devices by warring parties in densely populated areas, which have a disproportionate effect on the civilian population. We should also pursue the efforts under way to criminalize the use of such weapons.”

Botswana

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We also recognize the attention drawn to the concerns expressed by an increasing number of States about the emergence and use of explosive weapons in populated areas. We share the Secretary-General’s view on the need to strengthen the protection of civilians from the use of those weapons and that parties to any conflict should refrain from their use.”

Bulgaria

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Canada

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We wish to draw special attention today to the urgent need to address the impact of the indiscriminate use of explosive weapons, and in particular their impact on children. As the report of the Secretary-General highlights, in Syria and in far too many other conflicts, tens of thousands of civilians have been targeted or subjected to indiscriminate attacks, including the widespread use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas. Opportunities to strengthen civilian protection in that regard should include creating stronger political barriers to the use of indiscriminate explosive weapons and building recognition among parties to conflict that the use of such weapons should be avoided, particularly in densely populated areas.”

Chile

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“We also urge parties to a conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons in densely populated areas, given both the number of victims they cause and their indiscriminate nature and because we believe that that is a significant factor in the displacement of persons and the serious consequences that arise from that.”

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia:

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013  Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer):

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities.  These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians.  We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas.  We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

Costa Rica

Statement by Austria to the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity, May 2016:

“Given the horrendous and often long-lasting consequences for civilians as a result of the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas Austria will raise international awareness, support the collection of data on direct civilian harm and the exchange of good practices and lessons as well as look for effective measures to strengthen the respect for international humanitarian law, including an international political declaration. So far this pledge is supported by Costa Rica, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Mozambique and Spain.”

Statement during UN General Assembly First Committee General Debate, October 2015:

“The eleventh report from the Secretary General regarding the protection of civilians in armed conflicts (S/2015/453), published on June 15, recounts a heartbreaking landscape around the world. Of the 17 conflicts analyzed by the report, only two cross borders. To this we add the data supplied by the NGO Action on Armed Violence, which estimates that nearly 150 thousand people have been killed or injured by explosive weapons in populated areas between 2011 and 2014. Of these, 78% were civilians.

Despite the high technological sophistication of military and security capabilities, civilians— particularly the most vulnerable sectors—continue to be the main recipients of direct violence that stems from the use of force.

For this reason, Costa Rica rejects and condemns the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as we have seen in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Gaza. Costa Rica calls upon all States to develop stricter standards and commitments to prohibit and restrict their use, not only as a means to end egregious violations of international humanitarian law, but because drastically reducing harm to civilians is fundamental to reducing the incentives of local populations to take up arms and join extremist causes. My delegation endorses the Secretary General’s recommendation that parties to conflict should refrain from the use in populated areas of explosive weapons with wide-area effect and we recognize that such use is a humanitarian problem that must be addressed.”

Statement during January 2015 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We call on the signatories to ratify the [Cluster Munitions] Convention and on all other States to join. States parties to the Convention are legally obligated to stop using them, but given the impact of these weapons on civilians, it is a moral obligation for everyone else. Costa Rica therefore also supports an international commitment to ending the use of explosive munitions in densely populated areas.”

Statement during the Conventional Weapons Debate of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee, 2014:

“Also, Costa Rica is concern by the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas and its pervasive impact on civilians and infrastructure. We absolutely must act to prevent this prevalence and its impact. Therefore, Costa Rica supports calls for an international commitment to curb the use in populated areas of explosive weapons with wide area effects.”

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia:

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

Croatia

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Cyprus

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Czech Republic

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Denmark

As part of the Nordic group:

Statement during the January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We also support the call of the Secretary-General on parties in conflict to avoid using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.”

Statement during the June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on behalf of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, delivered by Sweden:

‘We are also concerned by the severe impact on children of the continued use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Such indiscriminate use of weapons is prohibited under international humanitarian law and we would support practical steps to stop it.”

Statement during the February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“The use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas puts the civilian population at grave risk of death and injury and increases the destruction of vital infrastructure. The indiscriminate and disproportionate use of explosive weapons that we witness in many situations today must never be accepted. The need to ensure appropriate restrictions on warfare in such areas remains one of the central challenges of contemporary armed conflict.

At the same time, experience from Afghanistan and Somalia demonstrates how armed forces may, if the will is there, in fact restrain the use of explosive weapons in populated areas without impeding military effectiveness. We support the Secretary-General’s call for States to share information on policy and practice regarding that matter. We stand ready to contribute in developing practical measures and guidance on the basis of lessons learned.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We share the concerns of the Secretary-General with regard to the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas. We recognize the need to gather data on the use and impact of explosive weapons in populated areas, including recording civilian casualties. We request the Secretary-General to include in his next report to the Council recommendations and analysis on the impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as well as the practice of United Nations bodies, States and other actors on civilian casualty recording.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict by Finland on behalf of the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Finland:

“In Syria we have seen medical doctors and surgeons directly targeted, wounded and killed. Ambulances are attacked and hospitals are damaged by explosive weapons.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Estonia

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Finland

As part of the Nordic group:

Statement during the January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We also support the call of the Secretary-General on parties in conflict to avoid using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.”

Statement during the June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on behalf of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, delivered by Sweden:

‘We are also concerned by the severe impact on children of the continued use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Such indiscriminate use of weapons is prohibited under international humanitarian law and we would support practical steps to stop it.”

Statement during the February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“The use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas puts the civilian population at grave risk of death and injury and increases the destruction of vital infrastructure. The indiscriminate and disproportionate use of explosive weapons that we witness in many situations today must never be accepted. The need to ensure appropriate restrictions on warfare in such areas remains one of the central challenges of contemporary armed conflict.

At the same time, experience from Afghanistan and Somalia demonstrates how armed forces may, if the will is there, in fact restrain the use of explosive weapons in populated areas without impeding military effectiveness. We support the Secretary-General’s call for States to share information on policy and practice regarding that matter. We stand ready to contribute in developing practical measures and guidance on the basis of lessons learned.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We share the concerns of the Secretary-General with regard to the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas. We recognize the need to gather data on the use and impact of explosive weapons in populated areas, including recording civilian casualties. We request the Secretary-General to include in his next report to the Council recommendations and analysis on the impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as well as the practice of United Nations bodies, States and other actors on civilian casualty recording.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict by Finland on behalf of the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Finland:

“In Syria we have seen medical doctors and surgeons directly targeted, wounded and killed. Ambulances are attacked and hospitals are damaged by explosive weapons.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

France

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Gabon

Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“I should like here to highlight our concern as to the increasing use of explosive munitions in heavily populated areas.”

Germany

Statement during the December 2015 Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons:

“Unexploded ordnance is but one of the reverberating effects of the use of explosive weapons that, due to their wide-area effects, may foreseeably cause significant civilian casualties and/or damage to civilian objects, as well as long-term harm to the civilian population when used against military objectives located in a concentration of civilians. Long-term effects caused on critical civil infrastructure is another. Conduct of hostilities in densely populated areas where military objectives are intermingled with protected persons and objects represents an important challenge both operationally and legally for armed forces to comply with international humanitarian law. We see a need to move towards a better understanding of States’ positions, policies and practices in this respect.”

Statement during January 2015 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“In Syria, indiscriminate aerial bombings, including the use of barrel bombs, and indiscriminate shelling continue to result in deaths, injuries an displacement of civilians including women and children. In December alone at least 107 civilians including 27 children were reportedly killed in Aleppo Governorate as a result of aerial attacks and shelling. This has further devastating effects. Many women and girls in conflict areas, as well as boys, do not leave their homes any more out of fear. As a consequence, they have no access to medical care or education. In such a situation, we face the risk of a generation of “lost children” without an education who bear the trauma of war.”

German representative at UNSC

German representative gives statement to UNSC open debate on protection of civilians

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Finally, as witnessed in Syria and beyond, indiscriminate attacks against civilians using explosive weapons with wide impact in densely populated areas remain an appalling aspect of conflicts to which the international community has to react. We share the concerns expressed by the Secretary-General in that context and welcome the Secretariat’s continued engagement with Member States and others to raise awareness of the issue and to provide further guidance on the matter.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“The civil war in Syria is intensifying and, as we heard from the High Commissioner for Human Rights today, the pain and suffering it inflicts on the civilian population continue to increase in scale and scope. The war has moved into the major cities. Indiscriminate attacks on civilians, especially women and children, often caused by the use of explosive weapons with broad impact in densely populated areas, remain the most appalling aspect of the Syrian conflict.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…a central question is the application of the rule of distinction in today’s military operations. Experiences in recent conflicts beg the question of how the principle of distinction is implemented in practice, in particular when conducting warfare within densely populated areas. The devastating humanitarian impact of explosive weapons in densely populated areas is a major concern in this regard. We agree with the ICRC that explosive weapons with a wide-impact area should be avoided in densely populated areas. We welcome initiatives to address this issue in a more systematic and proactive way, including possible stronger engagement of the Security Council in this regard.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Greece

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia:

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Guatemala

Statement during UN General Assembly First Committee Debate on Conventional Weapons, October 2015:

“Asimismo, quisieramos expresar nuestra preocupacion por el uso de armas explosivas en zonas pobladas, y las consecuencias humanitarias devastadoras, y recordamos la importancia de respetar el Derecho Internacional Humanitario asi como la responsabilidad de los Estados de proteger a sus poblaciones civiles.”

Statement during the June 2015 Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“We firmly condemn the use of explosive weapons in densely populated urban areas, because this increases the vulnerability of children, resulting in an increased number of deaths and incidents of mutilation, as well as prolonged suffering, destruction and chaos. We must incorporate provisions concerning the protection of children in ceasefire negotiations as well as peace agreements.”

Written statement distributed during the February 2013 Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“However, we continue to be concerned with many specific issues. Among these, I would mention the following: […] the increasing use of explosives of ample coverage in dense populations centers or areas where populations converge, such as markets, schools and religious places of worship […].”

Holy See

Statement during the August 2016 Security Council open debate on the children and armed conflict:

“My delegation fully agrees with the report that the use of air strikes and explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas exacerbates the dangers to which children caught up in armed conflict are exposed. These crimes must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”

Statement to the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity, May 2016:

“The Holy See is committed to promote and enhance increased respect and protection of civilians and civilian objects, in particular hospitals, schools, places of worship, cultural objects and patrimony, especially during armed conflicts with a view to preventing civilian harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas or from the use and destruction of civilian infrastructures for military operations.”

Statement during the December 2015 Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons:

“Three urgent issues are on the agenda of the CCW and its protocols. Now is the time to act, because the lives of thousands of people are at risk…The Holy See proposed to put in place a Group of Governmental Experts on lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS), another one on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas…What is happening on the ground in many conflicts is unacceptable. The CCW bears a part of the responsibility with regards to these negatives developments and to providing solutions in areas of its competence.”

Statement to the Meeting of the States Parties to theConvention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), November 2012

“A few years ago, researchers, NGOs, international organizations, and some governments, embarked on an effort to rethink the protection of civilians who face the consequences of military activities in armed conflicts. Instead of dealing with each particular type of weapons, as was the case for the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), the concept of explosive weapons and their effects, rather than technology, was put at the centre of reflection.

Explosive weapons constitute a broad category of weapons (bombs, mortar ammunition, grenades, rockets, missiles, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), car bombs, etc..) not explicitly prohibited under international humanitarian law and that probably never will. Now, however, many voices are raised to question the use of these weapons in populated areas and call for the protection of civilians living there. This view is shared by the United Nations Secretary General[1], the Chairman of the International Committee of the Red Cross[2], the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research[3] and NGO’s[4].

Experience shows that the use of explosive weapons in populated areas has most often caused a significant number of victims, major destruction of socio-economic infrastructures, severe psychological trauma and the hindrance of development for many years. Children and women are particularly affected. These results cause hatred and socio-political wounds that are difficult to heal. In the case of internal or international conflicts, they make reconciliation more difficult, if not impossible, and they become a contradiction when international operations to restore or maintain peace and to win over the hearts and minds of local people are undertaken.

The acceptability of military losses diminishes considerably, especially in some countries. The governments, whose armed forces are engaged in armed conflicts, take very seriously public opinion on the issue of casualties among their troops. But, unfortunately, this is not always the case with respect to disproportionate losses of civilians not belonging to the same national community. This poses a problem of principle and a practical problem: first, the dignity of the human person is not conditioned by language, religion, nationality or geopolitics; second, the suffering and useless and superfluous injury are unacceptable anywhere and under any circumstances.

The consideration of the issue of explosive weapons is recent, but it carries already the promise of fruitful results for the protection of civilians in populated areas. The road ahead, however, may be long. In fact, it is a life-long commitment that should be passed on from one generation to another with the goal of always better protecting and minimizing the number of victims to the utmost. Meanwhile, interim steps are indispensable to build a strong and convincing argument to prompt the international community to consider protection of civilians as necessary and urgent, especially in populated areas given the rapid urbanization of the world. All those who already have spoken on the issue highlight four elements:

  1. It is essential to better define the conceptual framework and the basic terminology so that these may be better understood and accepted by the different actors.
  2. Even though enough data are available to say, with sufficient confidence, that the use of explosive weapons raises a problem for the protection of civilian populations in urban areas, we also need more transparency in the collection and analysis of data on the part of all actors and of States themselves in the first place. The States actually have to give factual proof that they meet their obligations in the field of international humanitarian law. One can only regret that States do not undertake a systematic collection of data on civilian victims and that, when they do, such data are not usually published.
  3. States should publish the political declarations concerning the rules of utilization of explosive weapons in general and, in particular, in the urban areas. The fact of publishing documents of this type would strengthen the notion of responsibility of the State before their own people and the international community.
  4. The users of explosive weapons must also recognize their responsibility towards the victims, in one way or another. Already several legal instruments make assistance to victims a fundamental element of the obligations agreed on by States (the Ottawa Convention, CCM, Protocol V). Assistance to victims is a human right, a humanitarian and political commitment, and it stems from the centrality of the human person and from her inalienable dignity, which constitutes the ethical base of international humanitarian law.

In conclusion, one can affirm with sufficient confidence that it is impossible to use explosive weapons in populated areas and maintain a position of respect for the principles of international humanitarian law that would result in protection of civilians. Sadly, law alone cannot eradicate war, armed conflicts and armed violence from human history. These conflicts are evidence of the failure of humanity in its collective effort to build peaceful civilizations. It is essential to adopt an approach that goes beyond formal legality to reach the goal of a minimal, if not a zero, acceptability and tolerance of the suffering imposed on innocent people.

Mr. President,

For all these reasons, the CCW is required to embark on a continued discussion on the effects of explosive weapons in populated areas, and to make the appropriate decisions to promote the protection of civilian populations in an effective manner.”

Hungary

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Iceland

As part of the Nordic group:

Statement during the January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We also support the call of the Secretary-General on parties in conflict to avoid using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.”

Statement during the June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on behalf of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, delivered by Sweden:

‘We are also concerned by the severe impact on children of the continued use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Such indiscriminate use of weapons is prohibited under international humanitarian law and we would support practical steps to stop it.”

Statement during the February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“The use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas puts the civilian population at grave risk of death and injury and increases the destruction of vital infrastructure. The indiscriminate and disproportionate use of explosive weapons that we witness in many situations today must never be accepted. The need to ensure appropriate restrictions on warfare in such areas remains one of the central challenges of contemporary armed conflict.

At the same time, experience from Afghanistan and Somalia demonstrates how armed forces may, if the will is there, in fact restrain the use of explosive weapons in populated areas without impeding military effectiveness. We support the Secretary-General’s call for States to share information on policy and practice regarding that matter. We stand ready to contribute in developing practical measures and guidance on the basis of lessons learned.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We share the concerns of the Secretary-General with regard to the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas. We recognize the need to gather data on the use and impact of explosive weapons in populated areas, including recording civilian casualties. We request the Secretary-General to include in his next report to the Council recommendations and analysis on the impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as well as the practice of United Nations bodies, States and other actors on civilian casualty recording.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Finland:

“In Syria we have seen medical doctors and surgeons directly targeted, wounded and killed. Ambulances are attacked and hospitals are damaged by explosive weapons.”

Ireland

Statement by Austria to the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity, May 2016:

“Given the horrendous and often long-lasting consequences for civilians as a result of the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas Austria will raise international awareness, support the collection of data on direct civilian harm and the exchange of good practices and lessons as well as look for effective measures to strengthen the respect for international humanitarian law, including an international political declaration. So far this pledge is supported by Costa Rica, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Mozambique and Spain.”

Statement during the December 2015 Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons:

“Ireland would also wish to reiterate concern in relation to the use of Explosive Weapons with a Wide Area Impact in Populated areas as a growing challenge for international humanitarian law. We would like to thank Austria for organising with OCHA the Vienna meeting last September, in which we were pleased to participate.

It is clear to us that the escalating civilian casualty rates arising from the use of Explosive Weapons with a wide area impact in populated areas presents a significant challenge, which the international community must address. We strongly encourage maximum compliance with existing International Humanitarian Law, in particular the relevant provisions of Additional Protocol 1 of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions. In addition, Ireland believes that there would be value in the further exploration of how to minimize civilian harm, in particular by addressing the secondary and tertiary effects of use of these weapons, and by clarifying our understanding of what constitutes protected civilian objects during an armed conflict. This could also be an issue which the CCW could address.”

Statement during UN General Assembly First Committee General Debate, October 2015:

“As with small arms and light weapons, the conflicts we are witnessing today, are seeing an increasing number of casualties and harm being caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact in populated areas. It is clear to us that the escalating civilian casualty rates, and destruction of civilian infrastructure, arising from their use, present a significant challenge which the international community must address.”

Statement during UN General Assembly First Committee Debate on Conventional Weapons, October 2015:

“The harm caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact in populated areas is another emerging challenge for the international community. Ireland is concerned at the escalating civilian casualty rates and damage to essential infrastructure from the use of these weapons in populated areas. Ireland was pleased to participate in the recent meeting in Vienna on this topic and we support calls for the urgent further consideration of all aspects of this question, including possible gendered impacts.”

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia:

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Indonesia

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“All parties to conflict must abide by the rule of distinction, as the most fundamental principle of IHL – essential to ensuring protection of civilians.  We are concerned by the challenges in application of this rule, especially in the situation where attacks take place in densely populated areas and where the nature of conflicts becomes asymmetric, compounded by the use of new technologies such as cyber warfare, drones and explosive weapons.”

Italy

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Japan

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Another issue that requires the Security Council’s immediate attention is the use of explosive weapons, including improvised explosive devices, in populated areas. According to the Secretary-General’s report, in 2012, more than 34,700 people were killed or injured by explosive weapons; some 60 per cent of those casualties were caused by improvised explosive devices. Who would not be dismayed by those numbers? The Security Council must make every effort to find possible ways to decrease that lamentable number by looking into the serious consideration of voices from the field where civilians are faced with the real threat of those weapons.

While welcoming and recognizing the need to discuss normative and institutional mechanisms to solve those issues, let me stress once again that ongoing crises on the ground around the world require the international community, particularly the Security Council, to take immediate actions and measures to improve the situation in any possible way. Although the international community has developed various mechanisms and tools in order to protect civilians in armed conflict, it is difficult in reality to successfully implement them. We must not only establish mechanisms and tools, but also analyse underlying factors that hamper the smooth functioning of those mechanism and tools so that we can increase their effectiveness.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas is a grave concern, as it results in numerous civilian casualties. It also leads to the creation of scores of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, which affects not only the epicentre of violence, but also neighbouring countries and regions.”

Jordan

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Our debate today is particularly important. Despite of the progress made since the adoption of resolutions 1265 (1999) and 1894 (2009) — pertaining to the commitment to international norms and instruments on this subject, the world is still witnessing grave violations with regard to protection that are difficult for the human conscience to accept. The targeting of civilians by parties to a conflict, the perpetration of crimes against them and the indiscriminate use of explosive devices in populated areas are some examples that demonstrate the failure to protect, which need to be tackled by the international community in an effective and resolute manner. Otherwise, the debates on this topic will remain theoretical and will not contribute to strengthening the concept of the protection of civilians.”

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia:

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

Latvia

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Liechtenstein

Statement by Austria to the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity, May 2016:

“Given the horrendous and often long-lasting consequences for civilians as a result of the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas Austria will raise international awareness, support the collection of data on direct civilian harm and the exchange of good practices and lessons as well as look for effective measures to strengthen the respect for international humanitarian law, including an international political declaration. So far this pledge is supported by Costa Rica, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Mozambique and Spain.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“All parties to a conflict, including State and non-State actors, must ensure that their forces respect international humanitarian law and are trained to do so. They must strictly respect the principles of distinction and proportionality, and in particular avoid the use of explosive force in densely populated areas.”

Statement during the November 2010 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Among the core principles of international humanitarian law are the distinction between combatants and non-combatants, proportionality of the use of force, and the imperative to take all feasible measures to minimize civilian casualties. Violations of these rules, such as the use of weapons of indiscriminate effect in densely populated areas and the denial of humanitarian access, warrant a clear response from the Security Council.”

Lithuania

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We also call for stronger action in response to the growing use of explosive weapons in high-density population areas, in defiance of the international humanitarian law principles of distinction and proportionality.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Luxembourg

Statement during the August 2016 Security Council open debate on the children and armed conflict:

“In Syria, the mass recruitment and use of children by Da’esh continued, as did attacks carried out by the Government against schools and hospitals, owing in large part to the increased use of air strikes and explosive weapons in populated areas.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…the use of heavy weapons, artillery and tanks, in urban areas and the use of all types of explosive weapons has reached a level that there is no longer any doubt” [that an armed conflict is taking place and that the Geneva Conventions should apply].

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Malaysia

Statement during the June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“In Yemen, Iraq and Palestine, children are losing their lives as the result of air strikes and the use of explosive weapons in densely populated settings.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“My delegation also calls on other parties to the conflict to restrict themselves from employing heavy weapons and explosive munitions that have been known to inflict untold misery, deaths and injuries to civilians. “

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“It has been reported that, as a rule, 84 per cent of casualties resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas are civilians. As we deplore the killing of civilians, the Council should ask if we have done enough to protect them. The world will judge us on both counts — that is, what we have done and what we have not done to protect innocent civilians.”

Mali

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia:

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

Malta

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Mexico

Statement by Austria to the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity, May 2016:

“Given the horrendous and often long-lasting consequences for civilians as a result of the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas Austria will raise international awareness, support the collection of data on direct civilian harm and the exchange of good practices and lessons as well as look for effective measures to strengthen the respect for international humanitarian law, including an international political declaration. So far this pledge is supported by Costa Rica, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Mozambique and Spain.”

Statement during UN General Assembly First Committee Debate on Conventional Weapons, October 2015:

“Deseo llamar la atencion sobre las consecuencias humanitarias del uso de armas explosivas en zonas pobladas, que requiere de una accion decidida de la comunidad internacional a fin de contribuir a la mejoria de las condiciones en que viven 38 millones de personas desplazadas internamente para tener acceso a la ayuda humanitaria y 13 millones de personas que han buscado refugio en el extranjero, a lo que se suma la destruccion masiva de viviendas, escuelas, hospitales e infraestructura dificultando todavia mas el acceso a esos servicios, ademas de un aumento de victimas mortales, principalmente niños y ancianos.

El gran número de victimas civiles se debe a la falta de respeto a principios del Derecho lnternacional Humanitario por parte de beligerantes en un conflicto, llevando las hostilidades a areas pobladas, y tipo de armamento que se usa con efectos indiscriminado con terribles consecuencias y amplio impacto entre civiles.”

Statement during the January 2015 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Civilians remain the primary victims in situations of armed conflict, in large part because of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. Not solely collateral damage, civilians are increasingly targets groups or factions involved in conflict.”

Statement during the November 2010 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

Mexico

Mexico delivering a statement to the January 2015 UNSC protection of civilians debate

“We are especially concerned with two specific aspects, given their impact on civilian populations — first, the denial of humanitarian assistance, and second, the use of explosives in densely populated zones. Regarding the use of explosives, the fact that there is no specific ban on the use of certain weapons does not mean that those weapons are permitted. We must condemn the use of explosives in areas where civilian populations are concentrated because of their indiscriminate effects and the attendant risks.”

Montenegro

Statement during the June 2016 Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict:

“When an end to violence is not possible, respect for international law is crucial to ensuring that human suffering is minimized. States and non-State armed groups have the duty to protect, not target, civilians and civilian objects, and to facilitate, not hinder, the delivery of humanitarian assistance. In that sense, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is especially concerning.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We also call on the parties to conflicts to honour their obligations in refraining from the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas.”

Mozambique

Statement by Austria to the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity, May 2016:

“Given the horrendous and often long-lasting consequences for civilians as a result of the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas Austria will raise international awareness, support the collection of data on direct civilian harm and the exchange of good practices and lessons as well as look for effective measures to strengthen the respect for international humanitarian law, including an international political declaration. So far this pledge is supported by Costa Rica, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Mozambique and Spain.”

Netherlands

Statement during UN General Assembly First Committee Debate on Conventional Weapons, October 2015:

“We welcome the international discussion on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. This discussion should focus on concrete and practical measures in order to limit casualties and damage. Much will depend on the exact circumstances and context in which weapons will be used. Important is that international humanitarian law is respected. We are open to share best practices on the application of existing law.”

Statement during the Conventional Weapons Debate of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee, 2014

“The emerging international discussion on the use of large caliber explosive weapons in populated areas is welcomed by the Netherlands. We think this discussion is important and should continue. In our view this discussion should focus on concrete and practical measures in order to limit casualties and damage. Much will depend on the exact circumstances and context in which weapons will be used.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

New Zealand

Statement during UN General Assembly First Committee Debate on Conventional Weapons, October 2015:

“There are other specific contexts in which the standards of IHL for the protection of civilians must be fully applied and protected. Austria hosted useful discussions in Vienna just last month focused on the harm which civilians face in many conflicts from explosive weapons used in densely populated areas. We must explore ways, as the UNSG has said, to address this issue and minimise this harm.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Far too often, those rules are not applied. Let us be blunt — breaches of those rules through the targeting of civilians, the use of high explosive weapons without regard to likely civilian casualties and attacks on medical personnel or facilities are all war crimes.”

Nigeria

Statement during the November 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Monitoring [...] will not only help all stakeholders to understand the dangers that civilians face, such as the use of explosives and heavy weaponry in populated areas, and sexual violence as a weapon of war; it will also help us better target our investigative resources.”

Norway

Statement during UN General Assembly First Committee General Debate, October 2015:

“Recent data shows that global civilian deaths and injuries from the use of explosive weapons continue to increase. This is one of the pressing humanitarian issues of our time. The UN Secretary-General has called on all parties to conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. We strongly support his call.”

Statement by H.E. Ms. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, to the UN General Assembly September 2015:

“The UN Secretary-General has called on parties to conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. We support his call.”

Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Today’s armed conflicts usually take place in densely populated areas, with extensive civilian losses and damage to civilian buildings and infrastructure as a result. In our view, international humanitarian law also includes the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Norway supports the Secretary-General’s call for more work by the international community to better understand the impact of explosive weapons in populated areas and to develop mechanisms for improving civilian protection in that regard.”

As part of the Nordic group:

Statement during the January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We also support the call of the Secretary-General on parties in conflict to avoid using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.”

Statement during the June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on behalf of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, delivered by Sweden:

‘We are also concerned by the severe impact on children of the continued use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Such indiscriminate use of weapons is prohibited under international humanitarian law and we would support practical steps to stop it.”

Statement during the February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“The use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas puts the civilian population at grave risk of death and injury and increases the destruction of vital infrastructure. The indiscriminate and disproportionate use of explosive weapons that we witness in many situations today must never be accepted. The need to ensure appropriate restrictions on warfare in such areas remains one of the central challenges of contemporary armed conflict.

At the same time, experience from Afghanistan and Somalia demonstrates how armed forces may, if the will is there, in fact restrain the use of explosive weapons in populated areas without impeding military effectiveness. We support the Secretary-General’s call for States to share information on policy and practice regarding that matter. We stand ready to contribute in developing practical measures and guidance on the basis of lessons learned.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We share the concerns of the Secretary-General with regard to the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas. We recognize the need to gather data on the use and impact of explosive weapons in populated areas, including recording civilian casualties. We request the Secretary-General to include in his next report to the Council recommendations and analysis on the impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as well as the practice of United Nations bodies, States and other actors on civilian casualty recording.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict by Finland on behalf of the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Finland:

“In Syria we have seen medical doctors and surgeons directly targeted, wounded and killed. Ambulances are attacked and hospitals are damaged by explosive weapons.”

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia:

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

State of Palestine 

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Besides the complete absence of protection for those Palestinians who have been killed, including by air strikes and explosive weapons in densely populated areas, as in the Israeli military aggressions against Gaza in 2008, in 2009 and in November 2012, Palestinians also continue to be victims of appalling human rights violations and crimes, suffering physical and psychological harm, dispossession, forced displacement, imprisonment and detention, torture, exploitation, hunger, poverty, disease and the destruction of their communities. Even the right to peaceful protest has been lethally violated by the occupying forces. International law clearly forbids such brutality against civilians, and such actions, wilfully perpetrated, constitute war crimes. The Palestinian civilian population also remains vulnerable to rampant settler terror and violence, which has intensified in the recent period.”

Panama

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

Paraguay

Statement during the June 2016 Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict:

“Lastly, we support the Secretary- General’s proposal to Member States to constructively participate in formulating a political statement on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

Poland

Statement during the January 2016 Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict:

“The Secretary-General’s report before us (S/2015/453) accurately indicates key challenges with regard to the protection of civilians, namely, limited humanitarian access, attacks on humanitarian and health-care workers and facilities, and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. We agree that the development of policy standards to curb or limit the use of explosive weapons in populated areas could strengthen the protection of civilians.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Portugal

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Qatar

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Arab Group:

“Despite the progress that has been made in strengthening the protection of civilians in cases of armed conflict, the issue continues to pose a challenge to international law and humanitarian law and requires us to do more to compel parties to conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons in densely populated areas.”

Republic of Korea

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. My delegation is deeply concerned about the appalling civilian suffering that explosive weapons cause. It is disturbing that, according to NGO research, more than 34,000 people were killed or injured from explosive weapons in 2012, and 78% of those affected were civilians. The study found that 58 countries were affected by the use of explosive weapons, and the most severely affected countries include Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. My delegation believes that the international community needs to intensify its consideration of this issue through more focused discussions. The starting point should be gathering and analyzing data on the use and impact of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

Romania

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Slovakia

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“.. more effective mechanisms to monitor the use of explosive weapons in heavily populated areas must be created.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Slovenia

Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“The impact of explosive weapons on civilians, particularly in densely populated areas, remains a concern. They cause severe harm to individuals and communities and increase suffering by damaging vital infrastructure. They continue to constitute an obstacle to the return of refugees and displaced persons, humanitarian aid operations, reconstruction and economic development, as well as the restoration of normal social conditions, and have serious and lasting social and economic consequences for populations.”

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer)

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

South Africa

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

Spain

Statement by Austria to the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity, May 2016:

“Given the horrendous and often long-lasting consequences for civilians as a result of the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas Austria will raise international awareness, support the collection of data on direct civilian harm and the exchange of good practices and lessons as well as look for effective measures to strengthen the respect for international humanitarian law, including an international political declaration. So far this pledge is supported by Costa Rica, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Mozambique and Spain.”

Statement during the June 2016 Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict:

“The recent World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul has allowed us to affirm the importance of complying with international humanitarian law. Conduct in hostilities is subject to a number of rules that cannot and should not be violated with impunity. I refer to the use of explosives in densely populated areas, barrel bombs and cluster munitions, among others.”

Statement during January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Over the past several years, we have also seen an increasing trend in the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas, such as the use of barrel bombs in Syria, which has resulted in over 30,000 deaths this past year. Spain categorically condemns those actions. It is important that States express their support for an international commitment in order to put an end to the use of those explosive weapons in populated areas and better protect civilian populations in the future.”

Statement during June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“The latest report of the Secretary-General refers extensively to the shelling in densely populated areas. Those actions are difficult to justify in the light of international law and result in a number of child victims so high that they can only lead to outrage.”

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“In today’s debate, my delegation would like to call attention to three very special situations concerning the protection of civilians: first, the use of cluster bombs and explosives in urban centres; secondly, the severe impact of conflicts on the elderly, women and persons with disabilities, but especially children; and, thirdly, attacks against medical facilities and personnel and humanitarian personnel.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

I would like to express particular concern about three facts that represent serious obstacles to the application of the modern concept of the protection of civilians. First is the use of bombs and explosives in urban areas to kill or maim civilians, destroy basic infrastructures such as hospitals, schools and water-storage facilities, and displace huge numbers of civilians. Spain deplores this grave violation of international humanitarian law, especially when it is used deliberately as a way of waging psychological warfare on the civilian population, and believes that the Council must continue to focus on this practice and to explore and exploit all possible means to put an end to it.

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Sri Lanka

Statement during the August 2016 Security Council open debate on the children and armed conflict:

“We continue to hear the same horrifying tale of the increasing impact of terrorism and violent extremism on children from Yemen to Nigeria to Syria, and from Afghanistan to Somalia to South Sudan. We note with great concern that children are the most significantly affected by violent extremism and too often are the direct targets of acts intended to cause the maximum civilian casualties and terrorize communities. Attacks on schools and hospitals were starkly prevalent this past year, and documented in 19 out of 20 situations of conflict. The increasing use of air strikes and explosive weapons in populated areas has had a devastating impact on schools and hospitals.”

Sweden

As part of the Nordic group:

Statement during the January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We also support the call of the Secretary-General on parties in conflict to avoid using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.”

Statement during the June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on behalf of  Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden:

‘We are also concerned by the severe impact on children of the continued use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Such indiscriminate use of weapons is prohibited under international humanitarian law and we would support practical steps to stop it.”

Statement during the February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden):

“The use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas puts the civilian population at grave risk of death and injury and increases the destruction of vital infrastructure. The indiscriminate and disproportionate use of explosive weapons that we witness in many situations today must never be accepted. The need to ensure appropriate restrictions on warfare in such areas remains one of the central challenges of contemporary armed conflict.

At the same time, experience from Afghanistan and Somalia demonstrates how armed forces may, if the will is there, in fact restrain the use of explosive weapons in populated areas without impeding military effectiveness. We support the Secretary-General’s call for States to share information on policy and practice regarding that matter. We stand ready to contribute in developing practical measures and guidance on the basis of lessons learned.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden):

“We share the concerns of the Secretary-General with regard to the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas. We recognize the need to gather data on the use and impact of explosive weapons in populated areas, including recording civilian casualties. We request the Secretary-General to include in his next report to the Council recommendations and analysis on the impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as well as the practice of United Nations bodies, States and other actors on civilian casualty recording.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict by Finland on behalf of the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Finland:

“In Syria we have seen medical doctors and surgeons directly targeted, wounded and killed. Ambulances are attacked and hospitals are damaged by explosive weapons.”

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Switzerland

Statement during the November 2010 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We think it appropriate to continue to follow the issue of explosive weapons, especially with a view to better implementing international humanitarian law. The use of certain explosive weapons in densely populated areas is clearly a major source of suffering for civilians in situations of armed conflict. A more in-depth study could, for example, reveal the extent to which greater protection could limit these impacts.”

As part of the Human Security Network:

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia:

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

On behalf of the Group of Friends on Protection of Civilians:

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Group of Friends on Protection of Civilians (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, UK and Uruguay):

“The Group of Friends was also briefed on the humanitarian impact of the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas, which was identified as an issue by the Secretary-General. We call for compliance with IHL in the use of all weapons, to ensure and strengthen IHL training for those who operate them and compliance with IHL with respect to targeting.”

Thailand

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Chile:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

Togo

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…the fact that the principle of proportionality is not respected and that heavy weaponry and explosive devices are being used in populated areas explains the very high number of civilians killed in armed conflict. Very often, it is vulnerable people, such as women, children, the elderly and the disabled, who bear the brunt of that violence.”

Tunisia

Statement during the November 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“The indiscriminate use of weapons and explosives in densely populated areas and the illegal arms trade have adverse effects on civilian populations in neighbouring countries, and must be banned.”

Turkey

Statement during the February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“However, the civilian death toll continues to rise, with recent alarming signals coming from Afghanistan, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, among many other places. The Secretary-General’s report points out a multitude of challenges in Syria, ranging from attacks on civilians and civilian deaths to displacement, a lack and arbitrary denial of humanitarian access, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, the indiscriminate use of heavy wepons and aerial bombardments, summary and extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and attacks on schools, hospitals and other public facilities, among many others.”

Ukraine

Statement during the January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very concerned about the humanitarian impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. We must engage in greater international cooperation in order to establish stricter norms to protect civilians from the impact of explosive weapons in such areas.”

United Kingdom

As a member of the European Union (EU):

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

United States

Interactive Dialogue with the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict at the Human Rights Council, September 2012:

“The United States is concerned about deeply disturbing information the Special Representative has presented regarding the use of explosive weapons by governments and non-state actors, which leads to unlawful killing and maiming of non-combatants and other civilians not directly participating in hostilities.  It is also cowardly and unacceptable to use improvised explosive devices attacks on schools and hospitals in situations of armed conflict.”

Uruguay

Statement during the August 2016 Security Council open debate on the children and armed conflict:

“Also reprehensible is the growing use of explosive weapons and aerial bombings against civilian targets perpetrated by various parties to armed conflicts, including schools, hospitals and populated areas, which deprives children of access to education and has an adverse effect on the provision of humanitarian assistance.

In Syria, indiscriminate air attacks against civilian targets and zones are the main cause of death and maiming of children during the period covered by the report of the Secretary-General. The actions of armed groups also prevented 35,000 children from being vaccinated. According to the report, the number of attacks against schools and hospitals doubled in Yemen in 2014, with 59 attacks against hospitals and 42 against schools.”

 


 State groups

European Union

EU Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area must be avoided in densely populated areas.”

EU Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…we furthermore continue to be very preoccupied by the humanitarian impact of the use of weapons in densely populated areas. We take note of the view expressed by the ICRC that the use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact should be avoided in densely populated areas. This issue should be addressed in a more systematic and proactive way.”

EU Statement during the May 2011 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Despite all efforts, civilians continue to be victims of disproportionate attacks, deliberate targeting and the indiscriminate use of weapons. Explosive weapons used in populated areas have a high humanitarian impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Human Security Network

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia & South Africa as an observer) delivered by Slovenia:

“The Network reiterates its call on all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas. It stresses the importance of establishing mechanisms to track civilian casualties so as to understand the impact of military operations on civilian populations and adjust such action. An important step was taken in April 2013 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and that agreement’s prohibition of transfers of arms or items covered by it if the transferring State knows, at the time of authorization, that the arms or items will be used to commit serious crimes. We remain especially concerned about the use of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and stress the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Human Security Network:

“Let me also stress the Network’s strong concern over use of explosive weapons in populated areas which causes severe harm to individuals and communities. These weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore can pose unacceptable risks to civilians. We call for all relevant actors to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas. We believe that more systematic data collection would be important in this respect.”

Nordic Group

Statement during the January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We also support the call of the Secretary-General on parties in conflict to avoid using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.”

Statement during the June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on behalf of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, delivered by Sweden:

‘We are also concerned by the severe impact on children of the continued use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Such indiscriminate use of weapons is prohibited under international humanitarian law and we would support practical steps to stop it.”

Statement during the February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“The use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas puts the civilian population at grave risk of death and injury and increases the destruction of vital infrastructure. The indiscriminate and disproportionate use of explosive weapons that we witness in many situations today must never be accepted. The need to ensure appropriate restrictions on warfare in such areas remains one of the central challenges of contemporary armed conflict.

At the same time, experience from Afghanistan and Somalia demonstrates how armed forces may, if the will is there, in fact restrain the use of explosive weapons in populated areas without impeding military effectiveness. We support the Secretary-General’s call for States to share information on policy and practice regarding that matter. We stand ready to contribute in developing practical measures and guidance on the basis of lessons learned.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Sweden:

“We share the concerns of the Secretary-General with regard to the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas. We recognize the need to gather data on the use and impact of explosive weapons in populated areas, including recording civilian casualties. We request the Secretary-General to include in his next report to the Council recommendations and analysis on the impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as well as the practice of United Nations bodies, States and other actors on civilian casualty recording.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict by Finland on behalf of the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) delivered by Finland:

“In Syria we have seen medical doctors and surgeons directly targeted, wounded and killed. Ambulances are attacked and hospitals are damaged by explosive weapons.”

 


UN and ICRC

UN Secretary-General

Statements:

Statement during the June 2016 Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict:

“We will also continue pressing Governments and parties to conflict to uphold their protection responsibilities, comply with international law and take precautions to prevent harm to civilians — for example, by minimizing the impact of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

Statement by the Deputy Secretary-General during the January 2016 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“In 2014, civilians made up 92 per cent of the people killed or injured by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in situations of armed conflict. That carnage of innocent people must not continue…We must all work to achieve solid political commitments to refrain from using explosive weapons in populated areas, in accordance with international humanitarian law, which is now so often neglected”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“I am particularly concerned about the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effect in populated areas. Roadside bombs, heavy weapons and artillery, and air strikes can blindly kill and maim with profound humanitarian consequences. I repeat my call to the Security Council and to Member States to also work through the General Assembly to recognize and act on this critical issue. We need to better understand the types of explosive weapons that are most problematic. We need to examine how existing international law can help regulate use. And we need to consider the concrete steps that can be taken to reduce the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

Statement during the February 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“My reports have also recommended steps for enhancing the protection of civilians that I would like to emphasize again.

First, all parties to conflict should avoid using explosive weapons with wide-area effect in populated areas. This includes roadside bombs, heavy weapons and artillery, and air strikes. I urge the Council to recognize and act on this fundamental humanitarian issue. My next report will provide concrete recommendations for consideration.”

Statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“…parties to conflict must do more to comply with international humanitarian and human rights law. All violations require our attention and action. But some demand particular scrutiny. Among them: the growing use of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

“Meeting these challenges requires political will — the will of the parties to conduct hostilities within the parameters of international law; to refrain from using explosive weapons in populated areas; to allow engagement with armed groups and open access to those in need of assistance; and to enforce discipline and hold accountable those who perpetrate violations.”

Reports:

June 2016 report on the Implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014) and 2258 (2015):

“67. I am deeply concerned by increased reports of indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks by all parties to the conflict, including designated terrorist groups, in particular the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas. Medical facilities, markets and other public infrastructure continue to be attacked, causing widespread death and destruction. Such attacks must stop immediately. The parties to the conflict are failing to live up to their international legal obligations to protect civilians. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas not only kills and injures on a large scale, but also will have severe long-term humanitarian ramifications resulting from the destruction of the housing and essential infrastructure upon which civilians depend. No corner of the country has been left unscathed. As long as it continues, it will only force more and more people to leave their homes in a desperate search for safety.”

2016 UN Secretary-General’s report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict

“3. In the majority of today’s armed conflicts, civilians suffer most severely. Every day, they are deliberately or indiscriminately killed or injured, often with complete impunity. Sexual violence shatters the lives of women, men, girls and boys. Towns and cities are pummelled by heavy artillery or air strikes that kill thousands of civilians, destroy vital infrastructure and trigger mass displacement. Data collected in 2015 by the organization Action on Armed Violence indicated that, when explosive weapons had been used in populated areas, an astonishing 92 per cent of those killed or injured were civilians, including those in playgrounds, hospitals and crowded streets and queuing for food. Behind those figures are families separated and in mourning, entire communities devastated, a cultural heritage lost to the world and a generation of children without an education.

II. State of protection: trends across conflicts

6….Across conflicts, several issues emerged as priorities: improving compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law; ensuring accountability for violations; strengthening the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas; improving humanitarian access to people in need; protecting humanitarian and health-care personnel and objects; and preventing and better responding to forced displacement.

Greater efforts are needed to protect civilians from explosive weapons in populated areas

24. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas continued to have a devastating impact on civilians. According to global data collected by Action on Armed Violence, 33,307 civilians were reportedly killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2015, representing a slight increase compared with 2014. When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 92 per cent of those reportedly killed or injured were civilians. The highest number of civilian deaths and injuries from explosive weapons was recorded in the Syrian Arab Republic, followed by Yemen, Iraq, Nigeria and Afghanistan. In addition to those horrific figures, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas triggered displacement and caused long- term damage to civilian homes, services and infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools and water and energy supply systems. Such effects are largely foreseeable and can often be avoided or minimized.

25. The devastation wrought by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas was especially evident in the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. In 2015, Action on Armed Violence recorded almost 9,000 civilian deaths and injuries from explosive weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic and more than 6,000 in Yemen. Approximately half of those deaths and injuries were a result of air strikes. In the Syrian Arab Republic, the United Nations Children’s Fund reported more than 900 instances of the killing and maiming of children in 2015 as a result of explosive weapons being used in populated areas. Throughout Yemen, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that water infrastructure serving more than 900,000 people had been damaged or destroyed by explosive weapons and that some 15 mosques and 45 educational and cultural centres had been bombed or shelled.

26. Similar patterns of harm were evident in other conflicts. In Afghanistan, many of the 11,002 civilian deaths and injuries recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in 2015 resulted from ground operations involving explosive weapons, often in populated areas. Explosive weapons continued to cause high civilian casualties in Iraq, in particular in towns and cities. For example, on 13 August 2015, a government air strike hit a hospital in Fallujah, killing at least 22 civilians and wounding up to 39 others. Government aerial bombardments were also reported in several villages in the Sudan, in particular between January and June 2015. In Libya and Ukraine, the parties to conflict continued to use heavy artillery in populated areas. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, some 150 health-care facilities and 400 schools in Ukraine were damaged or destroyed by explosive weapons in 2015. Nigeria was reportedly the country worst affected by suicide bombings, with 2,181 civilian deaths and injuries from suicide bombings recorded by Action for Armed Violence in 2015, an increase of 190 per cent compared with 2014.

27. The use of explosive weapons leaves explosive remnants of war, which can kill and injure civilians for decades after hostilities have ended. For example, according to the Mine Action Service, Ninawa and south Kirkuk in Iraq remained heavily contaminated by explosive hazards, which impeded humanitarian action and prevented displaced civilians from returning to their homes. In the occupied Palestinian territory, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that only 30 per cent of the 7,000 explosive remnants of war estimated to remain from the hostilities in Gaza in the second quarter of 2014 had been confirmed as removed.

28. I repeat my call for parties to conflict to refrain from the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas, owing to the widespread and predictable pattern of harm that results from such use. I encourage Member States to develop policy guidance aimed at reducing the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons in populated areas, to engage constructively in continuing efforts to develop a political declaration to address the issue and to support efforts to protect civilians from contamination arising from explosive remnants of war.

IV. Recommendations

Strengthen the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

67. Parties to conflict should refrain from using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.

68. Member States should raise awareness of the widespread and predictable pattern of harm that results from the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas, collect and share practice and policy on minimizing such harm and engage constructively in the ongoing process to develop a political declaration addressing the issue.”

2016 Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict:

“7. Attacks on schools and hospitals were prevalent in 2015, linked to the increasing use of air strikes and explosive weapons in populated areas. Armed groups particularly targeted girls’ access to education, although attacks on schools and hospitals were also carried out by government forces. Member States should consider, where necessary, changes in policies, military procedures and legislation to protect schools and hospitals.

Recommendations

217. I urge Member States to ensure that their engagement in hostilities and responses to all threats to peace and security, including in efforts to counter violent extremism, are conducted in full compliance with international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law. It is unacceptable that the failure to do so has resulted in numerous violations of children’s rights. Member States should include specific mitigating measures for the protection of children in their responses, in particular when conducting aerial bombing campaigns or ground operations. I also call upon all parties to conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas, and to consider making a commitment to this effect.”

“One Humanity: Shared Responsibility Report of the Secretary-General for the World Humanitarian Summit” (Feb 2016):

“B. Core Responsibility Two: Uphold the norms that safeguard humanity…

47. Urban areas have become death traps for thousands of civilians. Airstrikes labelled “surgical” end up causing indiscriminate casualties and destruction. An appalling 92 per cent of people killed or injured by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas are civilians…
…Stop bombing and shelling populated areas
52. Whether by shelling or aerial bombardment, suicide or car bombs, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is the primary killer of civilians in conflict. The effects of these weapons are widely known. Those who plan or decide to launch barrel bombs, mortars, rockets, or other explosives with wide-area effects into urban areas can easily anticipate that they will cause excessive harm and destruction by killing large numbers of civilians, destroying homes, severely hindering critical services, and leaving behind explosive remnants of war for years. While the use of many of these weapons is not per se prohibited by international law, the cardinal rules of distinction, proportionality and precautions circumscribe the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and must always inform military planning and decision-making.
53. Firm political commitments to constrain the use of these weapons are an essential step. States should improve, collect and exchange good policies, practices and lessons learned on minimizing impacts on civilians, and on practical measures civilians in exposed areas can take to protect against explosive weapons. Experts should simulate their effects in urban areas and make the results available for all military forces. Targets and indicators are needed to monitor progress in reducing their humanitarian impact in populated areas. The reckless bombardment and shelling of civilian neighbourhoods must be consistently recorded, investigated, and referred to relevant national and international courts…
Annex: Agenda for humanity:
…Refrain from bombing and shelling populated areas
- Commit to refrain from using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas due to their likelihood of causing indiscriminate effects.
- Collect and share good practices on minimizing impacts on civilians when using explosive weapons in populated areas.
- Identify targets and indicators to monitor progress in reducing the humanitarian impacts of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

2015 UN Secretary-General’s report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict

“Afghanistan…

There was also a sharp rise in civilian casualties resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas…

Iraq…

The use of explosive weapons in populated areas remains a major cause of civilian deaths, injuries and displacement…

Libya…

The widespread use of explosive weapons in populated areas has taken a heavy toll on civilians, causing death, injury, displacement and the destruction of homes and essential infrastructure, while also leaving dangerous explosive remnants of war…

Nigeria…

In January 2015, in the run-up to the national elections, Boko Haram attacks on communities in the three most affected states (Borno, Yobe and Adamawa) occurred almost daily, including through the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, causing civilian deaths, injuries and displacement….

Occupied Palestinian territory…

Explosive weapons were widely used in populated areas, and explosive remnants of war remain widely dispersed across Gaza. The hostilities also had a serious impact on Israeli civilians owing to indiscriminate rocket and mortar fire from armed groups in Gaza, which killed five Israeli civilians and caused displacement in southern Israel…

Syrian Arab Republic…

Civilians throughout the country have been subjected to direct or indiscriminate attacks, including the widespread use of barrel bombs and other explosive weapons in populated areas…

Ukraine…

The fighting has been characterized by the widespread use of explosive weapons, including cluster munitions, in populated areas…

Yemen…

The impact on civilian infrastructure has been devastating, with widespread air strikes and use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as well as attacks on health-care facilities, schools and other essential infrastructure…

Widespread use of explosive weapons in populated areas

30. Since 2009, I have consistently highlighted the devastating humanitarian impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. I have called upon parties to conflict to refrain from the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. I have recommended that the Security Council, whenever relevant, expressly call upon parties to conflict to refrain from the use of such weapons.

31. The reasons for doing so are abundantly clear. In Afghanistan, Libya, the occupied Palestinian territory, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Yemen and elsewhere, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is a major cause of civilian deaths, injury and displacement. According to the non-governmental organization Action on Armed Violence, 41,847 people were killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2014, of whom 78 per cent were civilians. When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 92 per cent of the casualties were civilians. While explosive weapons are not explicitly prohibited under international humanitarian law, in many cases their use in populated areas constitutes unlawful conduct because of their indiscriminate impact. Since the wide-area effects of many explosive weapons are well known, their likely impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure is foreseeable. This raises serious moral and, in some cases, legal questions.

32. Many types of explosive weapons are currently in use. They include air- dropped bombs, artillery shells, missiles and rockets, mortar bombs and improvised explosive devices. While they differ in their design, composition and method of use, such weapons share certain basic features. They generally use explosive force to create a zone of blast and fragmentation with the potential to kill or injure anyone or damage anything within that zone. In other words, such weapons have indiscriminate effects. This makes their use in populated areas, such as towns, cities, markets and camps for internally displaced persons, particularly problematic, and more so if the weapons’ effects extend across a wide area.

33. Given the indiscriminate impact of explosive weapons, their use in populated areas exacts an unacceptable toll on civilians. Many civilians are killed or suffer life-changing injuries. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas also has a significant long-term humanitarian impact. Housing and essential infrastructure, such as water and electricity supply systems, are damaged or destroyed. Livelihoods are devastated as commercial property and means of production are damaged or destroyed. Access to health care is often hampered because hospitals and clinics have been damaged, destroyed or rendered inaccessible, or because health-care personnel have been killed or supplies cut off. Children’s education is interrupted, either as a result of damage to facilities or direct harm or fear of harm to teaching personnel. The Syrian conflict has put 2.6 million children out of school, some for three years or more. In Gaza, 66 per cent of schools were damaged or destroyed during the hostilities in July and August 2014, including some that were sheltering internally displaced persons, resulting in further loss of life.

34. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas is a major driver of displacement as people are forced to flee owing to attacks that damage or destroy their homes or livelihoods or fear of such attacks. It also has a tremendous impact on post-conflict reconstruction requirements and costs. Explosive weapons leave explosive remnants of war, which continue to pose a serious threat to civilians, in particular children, often for decades after the conflict has ended.

35. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas, in particular those weapons with wide-area effects, raises serious concerns about respect for the fundamental principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in international humanitarian law. Full compliance with international humanitarian law by all parties to conflict would significantly strengthen the protection of civilians from the effects of explosive weapons. In addition, the development of policy standards to curb or limit the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, in particular those weapons with wide-area effects, could significantly strengthen the protection of civilians.

36. Important precedents exist in this regard. Of particular note, the International Security Assistance Force, in Afghanistan, and the African Union Mission in Somalia instituted policy and practice that place limits on the use of certain explosive weapons in certain locations where civilians tend to be present, in order to minimize the impact of military operations on civilians. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is compiling examples of such practice and will make them available to Member States and partners with a view to promoting a change in practice by parties to conflict. In October 2014, I sent a note verbale to all Member States requesting that they provide examples of relevant policy and practice. Some have responded to my request, and I encourage others to do so without delay. I also welcome the decision of Austria to convene an expert meeting later in 2015, in cooperation with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, to begin discussing the possible scope and content of a declaration on the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons in populated areas. I strongly encourage Member States to engage constructively in that initiative.

Recommendations

Use of explosive weapons in populated areas

63. Parties to conflict should refrain from the use of explosive weapons with wide- area effects in populated areas. In addition, Member States should consider making a commitment to this effect.

64. Member States should improve the exchange of information and lessons learned on the use and impact of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. In particular, as called for in my note verbale of October 2014, Member States should support the ongoing efforts of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to collect examples of good practice and develop guidance to enhance the protection of civilians and reduce the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons in populated areas.

65. Member States, with the support of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and relevant organizations, should develop targets and indicators to monitor progress in reducing the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

2014 Report of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict

“6. Armed conflict continued to have a disproportionate impact on children. Indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas or attacks directly targeting civilians, through explosive weapons, air strikes or the use of terror tactics, took a worrisome toll on children.”

2013 UN Secretary-General’s report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict

“21 [On Syria] Thousands of civilians have been subject to direct and indiscriminate attacks, including the widespread use of explosive weapons in populated areas and the illegal use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus on 21 August. Hospitals, schools, places of worship and other public buildings have been damaged, destroyed or taken over by combatants. More than 1.2 million houses — one third of the country’s housing stock — have been destroyed…

34. I have consistently drawn attention to the mounting concern on the part of the United Nations, ICRC, civil society and an increasing number of Member States at the need to further strengthen the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. In my previous report, I recommended that parties to conflict should refrain from using explosive weapons with wide-area effect in such areas and that Member States and other relevant actors should intensify their consideration of the issue.

35. In response to the latter recommendation, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in partnership with Chatham House, convened a meeting of governmental and other experts in September 2013 to discuss options for strengthening the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The participants noted that reducing harm to civilians from explosive weapons could be divided into the following three separate but mutually reinforcing areas: a presumption against the use of explosive weapons in law enforcement; the development of a presumption against the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas in situations of armed conflict; and a focus on improvised explosive devices from the perspective of the harm that they cause civilians. Those in turn could be approached through the following three work streams: further research into different aspects of the problem; the collection of operational good practice to form the basis for guidance to parties to conflict; and formal recognition of the problem by Member States and a commitment to addressing it, including through the adoption of operational guidance…

38. The participants in the meeting organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Chatham House noted the significant use by non-State armed groups of explosive weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices. Research shows that, of the more than 34,700 people killed and injured by explosive weapons in 2012, 60 per cent of the casualties were caused by improvised explosive devices. A total of 81 per cent of casualties were civilians. Such findings underscore the continuing importance of enhancing compliance with international humanitarian law by non-State armed groups and the corresponding need for humanitarian actors to engage with such groups to that end and to gain safe access to people in need of assistance…

Use of explosive weapons in populated areas

69. There is increased understanding of the disastrous short-term and long-term impact on civilians of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. I have instructed the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to continue to engage with interested Member States, United Nations actors, ICRC, civil society and other actors to increase awareness of the issue and the need to address it, and to develop practical measures, including a political commitment by Member States to addressing the problem and producing operational guidance. Such guidance should draw on existing good practice and existing and future research, including that identified at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs-Chatham House expert meeting and at future consultations. In addition:

(a) Member States are strongly encouraged to engage proactively in these efforts, including by supporting organizations undertaking research in this area and engaging in a process aimed at developing a political commitment and guidance with regard to reducing the short-term and longer-term impact on civilians of explosive weapons in populated areas;

(b) More immediately, parties to conflict should refrain from the use in populated areas of explosive weapons with wide-area effect and the Security Council, whenever relevant, should call upon parties to conflict to refrain from such use.”

2013 Report of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict

“29. [On Afghanistan] Children were also victims of explosive weapons in populated areas, including mortar attacks, shelling and shooting between pro-Government forces and various armed groups (397 child casualties), explosive remnants of war (162 child casualties) and air strikes by the international military forces (74 child casualties).”

2012 Report of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict

“242. Reports of child casualties in the course of military operations, including the use of explosive weapons, aerial bombardments and drones, continue to be of concern, and I remind all parties of their obligation under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality and the duty to protect children and prevent violations, to take all necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties.”

2012 UN Secretary-General’s report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict

“11…The use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as in Homs and Idlib, has had profound humanitarian consequences, including in terms of damage to buildings and essential infrastructure and the ongoing threat posed by explosive remnants of war…

35. The ICRC study [Healthcare in Danger] found that explosive weapons caused more deaths, injuries and damage than any other weapon in attacks on health-care facilities. I have repeatedly expressed concern about the humanitarian impact of using explosive weapons in densely populated areas. Explosive weapons include artillery shells, missile and rocket warheads, mortars, aircraft bombs, grenades and improvised explosive devices. Their common feature is that they are indiscriminate within their zones of blast and fragmentation effect, which makes their use highly problematic in populated areas.

36. In my 2010 report I called for more systematic collection of data on and analysis of this problem. I welcome the research carried out by Action on Armed Violence. Using data gathered on the use of explosive weapons around the world in 2011, Action on Armed Violence found that at least 21,499 civilians had been killed or injured by such weapons and that civilians accounted for 71 per cent of all casualties. Most civilian deaths and injuries — 87 per cent — occurred in populated areas, including markets, schools, places of worship and private homes.

37. This research underlines the gravity of the problem. My Emergency Relief Coordinator highlighted the issue in Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, the Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic and called upon parties to refrain from using explosive weapons in densely populated areas. The Council specifically authorized UNOCI to take action to prevent the use of heavy weapons against civilians in Côte d’Ivoire and called upon the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to immediately end the use of heavy weapons in population centres (resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012)). In October 2011, ICRC noted that owing to the significant likelihood of indiscriminate effects and despite the absence of an express legal prohibition for specific types of weapons, explosive weapons with a wide impact area should be avoided in densely populated areas. Civil society has also mobilized around the issue, establishing, in March 2011, a coalition of non-governmental organizations, the International Network on Explosive Weapons, which calls upon States and other actors to strive to avoid the harm caused by explosive weapons in populated areas; to gather and make available relevant data; to realize the rights of victims; and to develop stronger international standards.

38. In many conflicts, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is a major cause of displacement…

41. Non-State armed groups play a role — albeit not an exclusive one — in perpetrating such violations against civilians as attacking health-care services, using explosive weapons in populated areas and causing forced displacement…

72. Ensuring the necessary degree of compliance and thereby strengthening the protection of civilians is essentially a matter of political will: the will to conduct hostilities within the parameters of international law, to refrain from using explosive weapons in populated areas, to allow engagement with non-State armed groups and open access to those in need of assistance and to enforce discipline and hold accountable those who perpetrate violations…

75. While the use of certain explosive weapons in populated areas may, in some circumstances, fall within the confines of the law, the humanitarian impact, both short- and long-term, can be disastrous for civilians. I therefore urge: (a) Parties to conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide- area impact in densely populated areas; (b) The Security Council, whenever relevant, to call upon parties to conflict to refrain from using such weapons in densely populated areas; (c) Member States, United Nations actors and international and non-governmental organizations to intensify their consideration of this issue, including through more focused discussion and by undertaking or supporting the further collection and analysis of data; (d) Member States to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in collecting and making available to the United Nations and other relevant actors information on harm to civilians from the use of explosive weapons and in issuing policy statements outlining the conditions under which certain explosive weapons may and may not be used in populated areas.”

2011 Report of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict

“134…Of particular concern was the recent increase in the number of civilians, among them many children, being killed or injured owing to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

2010 UN Secretary-General’s report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict

“48. In my previous report, I noted my increasing concern at the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons, particularly when used in densely populated areas. Explosive weapons include artillery shells, missile and rocket warheads, various kinds of bombs, cluster munitions, landmines, grenades and improvised explosive devices. A common feature of explosive weapons is that they are indiscriminate within their zones of blast and fragmentation effect, which makes their use highly problematic in populated areas.

49. Data collected by various organizations concerning a range of conflicts, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen, reveals substantial and ongoing civilian suffering caused by explosive weapons when they are used in populated areas. Civilians within the vicinity of an explosion are likely to be killed or injured by the blast and fragmentation effects of such weapons. They may be harmed by the collapse of buildings or suffer as a result of damage to infrastructure that is vital to the well-being of the civilian population, such as hospitals and sanitation systems. The use of explosive weapons also creates unexploded ordnance that persists as a threat to civilians until it is removed.

Recommendations

50. I would urge Member States, United Nations actors and international and non-governmental organizations to consider the issue of explosive weapons closely, including by supporting more systematic data collection and analysis of the human costs of their use. This is essential to deepening the understanding of the humanitarian impact of such weapons and to informing the development of policy and practice that would strengthen the implementation of international humanitarian and human rights law. The annual report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict produced by UNAMA provides a good overview of the nature of attacks involving civilian casualties. It is an example of good practice in this area that I would encourage other United Nations missions and actors to adapt to their specific circumstances.

51. I would also urge increased cooperation by Member States, both in terms of collecting and making available to the United Nations and other relevant actors information on civilian harm resulting from the use of explosive weapons and in terms of issuing policy statements that outline the conditions under which explosive weapons might be used in populated areas.”

2009 UN Secretary-General’s report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict

“35. The choice of weapons is critical in minimizing and reducing the impact of hostilities on civilians…While such progress in relation to cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines is welcome, I am increasingly concerned at the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons, in particular when used in densely populated areas. As demonstrated by this year’s hostilities in Sri Lanka and Israel’s campaign in Gaza, the use in densely populated environments of explosive weapons that have so-called “area effect” inevitably has an indiscriminate and severe humanitarian impact. First, in terms of the risk to civilians caught in the blast radius or killed or injured by damaged and collapsed buildings. Secondly, in terms of damage to infrastructure vital to the well- being of the civilian population, such as water and sanitation systems. I urge Member States, in consultation with relevant United Nations and other actors, to consider this issue further. I would also call upon States that have not yet done so to ratify Protocol V to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons with a view to addressing, in a timely and effective manner, the serious humanitarian problems caused by explosive remnants of war.”

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator

Statement during January 2015 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Another area of serious concern is the widespread use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Figures from 2013 show that when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 93 per cent of the casualties were civilians. The Secretary-General’s call to avoid the use of some explosive weapons in populated areas has remained obviously unheeded.”

ASG Kyung-wha Kang

ASG Kyung-wha Kang delivers statement to January 2015 civilian protection debate (UNTV)

Statement during Security Council briefing on Syria, 28 January 2015:

“Syria is entering its fifth year of conflict characterized by extreme violence and brutality. Resolution 2139 called for an end to the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas including shelling and aerial bombardment, and the use of barrel bombs. But the call continues to be ignored. The Government has continued to conduct airstrikes, including barrel bombs, in densely populated areas. Between 21 and 26 January, Government airstrikes on East Ghouta in Rural Damascus reportedly killed nearly 100 people and injured scores more. Armed opposition groups, and designated terrorist organizations, have also continued to use explosive weapons in populated areas. A barrage of around 50 rockets and mortars killed at least seven and injured 50 in Damascus city on 25 January.”

Statement to the Human Rights Council Special Session on Gaza, July 2014:

“Much more must also be done to protect civilians. The expansion of hostilities into built up areas and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is deeply concerning. We know from experience that the use of such weapons gives rise to a predictable pattern of death, injury, displacement and damage or destruction of essential infrastructure.”

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“Let me now turn to the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. As is apparent in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, we must do more in that area. According to the British non-governmental organization Action on Armed Violence, almost 38,000 people were killed or injured by explosive weapons worldwide in 2012. Of those, 78 per cent were civilians. When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 91 per cent of casualties were civilians. Last week, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported a 14 per cent increase in civilian casualties in 2013, as compared to the previous year. The indiscriminate use of improvised explosive devices by anti-Government elements increased in 2013 and remained the leading cause of civilian casualties.

In addition to being killed or injured, civilians are also displaced, often for long periods and in precarious conditions. In Syria, 6.5 million people are internally displaced, and 2.5 million have fled the country. Many of those displaced have fled fighting characterized by the devastating and continuing use of explosive weapons in populated areas — all despite the Council’s calls for the removal of heavy weapons from population centres.

In the Sudanese states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, aerial bombardment of civilian areas by Sudanese forces and shelling both by Sudanese forces and by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North continue to result in death, injury and displacement.

Explosive weapons can result in horrific injuries requiring emergency and specialist medical treatment, rehabilitation and psychosocial support services. But often that treatment and support is unavailable, in part because health facilities have been damaged or destroyed. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), from which the Council will hear later, reports that explosive weapons are the leading cause of damage to health-care facilities in armed conflicts.

Explosive-weapon use in populated areas results in damage to, or the destruction of, housing and other infrastructure, such as schools. Approximately one third of the housing stock in Syria has been destroyed by the fighting, while nearly one fifth of the schools are either damaged or being used as shelters.

Livelihoods are also devastated as land and other means of production are rendered unusable as the result of explosive remnants of war, which will continue to pose a threat to civilians until they are removed. Damage to the agricultural sector during hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza from 14 to 21 November 2012 is estimated at $20 million. Moreover, explosive remnants of war remain buried in farmland and in the rubble of damaged buildings, posing a threat to people and those working on rubble-removal and reconstruction.

The Secretary-General has repeatedly called on parties to conflict to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. He has asked the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to continue working with Member States, United Nations colleagues, the ICRC and civil society to strengthen the protection of civilians against such weapons. We will work to promote Member States’ recognition of the humanitarian impact of explosive-weapon use in populated areas and their commitment to avoid or limit such use in the future, including by building on good practice in that area. I hope that all Member States will engage in those efforts.”

Statement during the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“We must consider measures to prevent and mitigate the humanitarian impact of the use in populated areas of explosive weapons which are by their nature indiscriminate within their areas of blast and fragmentation. We need to strengthen the protection of civilians from their effects. Discussions on this matter will take place next month.”

Statement during the May 2011 Protection of Civilians debate:

“Explosive weapons have an immediate and indiscriminate impact, killing and injuring those caught in the blast radius, including civilians, while the damage to buildings and infrastructure hampers longer term reconstruction and development. I reiterate my call on parties to conflict to refrain from the use of these weapons in densely populated areas.” View full statement

Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict

Statements:

Statement during the August 2016 Security Council open debate on the children and armed conflict:

“Airstrikes and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas by international coalitions or individual Member States are an acute concern. They have contributed to some of the highest numbers of documented child casualties. ”

Oral update to the Human Rights Council, September 2013

“During the period under review, children continued to be killed and maimed by the extensive use of explosive weapons in conflict, including in active combat and cross fire, by improvised explosive devices, rockets, land mines, unexploded ordnance and remnants of war, or by air strikes, including drone strikes. ”

Reports:

2013 Report of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict

“12. Each year, thousands of children are trapped in armed conflict, and they are killed and maimed by explosive weapons, while in the direct line of fire or as collateral damage. Tactics relying heavily on explosive weaponry continued to have a disproportionate effect on children. Air strikes and the use of cluster munitions in populated areas, especially near schools and hospitals, continue to have a devastating impact on civilians, including children. In addition, children have been the victims of suicide attacks, both as bystanders and through their recruitment as suicide bombers. Improvised explosive devices, rockets, landmines, unexploded ordnance and remnants of war continued to take the lives and limbs of children in numerous countries…

Access to education and health care continues to be disrupted by the damage or destruction resulting from targeted attacks on schools and medical facilities and by the use of explosive weapons…

19. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas has been shown to result in a pattern of harm affecting children and their families…

37. [On Yemen] The preponderance of explosive weaponry, such as mines and unexploded remnants of war, and the use of drones continue to put children at risk…

38. The Syrian Arab Republic remained an open wound in 2012 and throughout the first half of 2013, with children killed, maimed or trapped by the extensive use of explosive weapons in populated areas, displaced from their homes and recruited by the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups…

99. Mindful of the severe effects that explosive weapons, including small arms and light weapons, have on children in armed conflict, the Special Representative urges all Member States to sign, ratify and swiftly implement the provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty.”

2012 Report of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

“51. Contemporary warfare continues to take a heavy toll on civilians, with the increased use of explosive weapons in populated areas by non-State armed groups, the use of new technologies that have in some instances resulted in civilian casualties and the use of children as combatants, weapons of war (e.g. victim bombers) and sexual slaves, among other things…

C. Explosive weapons

59. Explosive weapons, defined as weapons that cause injury, death or damage by projecting explosive blast, and often fragmentation, from the detonation of an explosive device, have a devastating impact on civilians, including children, especially when used in highly populated areas. Such weapons, which include air- dropped bombs, grenades, landmines, improvised explosive devices and mortars, tend to have effects that users cannot foresee or control accurately and therefore carry a great risk of being indiscriminate in their impact.

60. The use of explosive weapons by armed forces and groups often results in the commission of violations against children, including the injury, maiming and killing of children, the recruitment of children as suicide and victim bombers, the damaging and/or destruction of civilian installations such as schools and hospitals, and the denial of humanitarian access, for example through the planting of landmines. They also cause long-lasting harm by damaging children’s emotional stability, education and future opportunities.

61. Explosive weapons with wide-area effect, such as multiple-launch rockets, high-explosive artillery, mortars, car bombs and other improvised explosive devices, are a particular cause for concern. In 2011, mortar and artillery shells, which are indiscriminate weapons traditionally used against massed infantry, killed and injured children in Libya, Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic, among others. In Afghanistan and Iraq, there has been an increasing number of complex attacks involving the combination of two or more attacks on one target using explosive weapons by armed groups. These attacks, usually perpetrated against Government institutions, resulted in significant child casualties. Aerial bombardments and drone attacks in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen have also killed and injured children.

62. In most of the 23 country situations reflected in the report of the Secretary- General on children and armed conflict covering the period from January to December 2011 (A/66/782-S/2012/261), explosive weapons were used in direct physical attacks against schools and hospitals, a grave violation of children’s rights. They posed a threat to children and medical and educational personnel, resulting in the forced closure or the compromised functioning of those institutions. In some country situations, children were denied humanitarian access because of the presence of explosive remnants of war from previous conflicts.

63. In 2011, 22 incidents were reported of children being used by armed groups to carry out suicide attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including one 8-year-old girl and one 9-year-old girl. Some of those children were victim bombers, unknowingly carrying explosive packages.

64. While recognition of the distinct problems associated with explosive weapons has grown over time, there is a need for further policy attention and immediate action to effectively protect children from such weapons. There is also a need for greater acknowledgement that the use of such weapons, especially those with wide- area effect and those used in densely populated areas, severely harm children and communities. Systematic data collection and analysis of the human cost of these weapons is critical to the development of baseline information, which would in turn further strengthen the empirical basis for advocacy efforts to better protect children. In the context of the monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave violations against children, the Office of the Special Representative will, together with United Nations partners, endeavour to gather disaggregated and more detailed information on child casualties resulting from the use of such weapons. The Office will also advocate the inclusion of specific provisions against the use of explosive weapons in action plans signed by parties to conflict that aim at halting the killing and maiming of children.

69. With regard to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, the Special Representative urges Member States to take steps to reduce the impact of such weapons on children, including by:

(a) Refraining from using explosive weapons with wide-area effect in populated areas, including by revising and strengthening military policies and procedures, as necessary, and ensuring that all military operations are in compliance with international humanitarian law and underpinned by the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution;

(b) Supporting the collection of data on the impact of explosive weapons on children, including by collecting and sharing such information with the United Nations;

(c) Ensuring that those using explosive weapons in contravention of international law are held accountable.”

UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry on Gaza

Report of the detailed findings of the independent commission of inquiry established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-21/1∗∗, June 2015

“The commission calls upon the international community: … (c) To accelerate and intensify efforts to develop legal and policy standards that would limit the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas with a view to strengthening the protection of civilians during hostilities”

UNICEF

Statement during the August 2016 Security Council open debate on the children and armed conflict:

“The United Nations monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict continues to help define the full scale of the crisis by providing vital information on the unspeakable atrocities they have experienced and witnessed. Using that information, we must and will continue working with parties to conflict to better prevent violations of the rights of children in armed conflicts and help shape programmes and services that can brighten these children’s futures. That includes focused action in three particular key areas: explosive weapons and remnants of war, health care and education.

First, I note the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas. These weapons accounted for almost 44,000 deaths and injuries last year alone. When they were used in densely populated areas, nine out of ten victims were civilians. Not only does the use of these weapons kill and maim children; not only does it deny these children safe access to hospitals, schools and water facilities; but it also results in new and permanent disabilities among children and makes life even more difficult and dangerous for those already living with disabilities. Children are the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in any conflict, and children living with disabilities are even more so.

We all should call on all parties to conflict to commit to protecting children by changing the way they wage their wars, including by ending the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas.”

Statement during the June 2015 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“Even as we tackle such challenges, new threats emerge…And even in places where children should be safe, they are not. Think of the attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, that killed 145 children and teachers. Or Gaza last year, where more than 260 schools were damaged or destroyed. Or the countries where Governments and non-State armed groups use schools to store weapons, detain prisoners and house soldiers. Or the continued use of explosive weapons and indiscriminate weapons, such as landmines and cluster bombs, in populated areas.”

Statement during the June 2013 Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

“The first trend relates to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Armed conflicts frequently occur in urban settings. When explosive weapons such as artillery, mortars, rockets, improvised explosive devices and aircraft bombs are used in those areas, they kill or injure large numbers of children. Those attacks not only have a long-term emotional and psychological impact on children, but also destroy vital social infrastructure such as roads and power supplies. They deprive children of access to essential basic services, such as schools and hospitals, and, in the absence of immediate medical care, injuries can turn into life-long disabilities. We therefore urge all parties to conflict to adopt different tactics and rules of engagement. We urge that they neither position their troops among civilians nor target each other in the middle of villages, towns and cities. We urge that they adopt rules to guide how and where explosive weapons can be used.”

International Committee of the Red Cross

Statement during the January 2016 UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians:

“The use of explosive weapons in populated areas is one example that raises serious concern in terms of compliance, especially in urban environments. These weapons are prone to indiscriminate effects, with often devastating consequences for civilians. Many civilians are killed or injured by such weapons. Critical infrastructure on which civilians depend for their livelihoods and survival, such as power stations, water treatment plants and hospitals, can be continuously and cumulatively damaged so that they cease to be able to provide essential services to meet people’s basic needs. Precisely for those reasons, the ICRC has urged that the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area should be avoided in densely populated areas.

To address this humanitarian issue, States should make known their policies on the use of such weapons and explain how their use of explosive weapons in populated areas complies with international humanitarian law. We also ask that the upcoming third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, which will address the development of a new urban agenda, take account of the risks faced by many millions of people threatened by armed conflict and other situations of violence in today’s densely populated and fast-growing cities.”

Statement during the General Debate of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee, 2014:

“It is not just the availability of conventional arms that engenders civilian suffering. The types of conventional weapons chosen by belligerents when fighting in populated areas are also of concern. This year alone, a number of armed conflicts have seen the use in populated areas of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, such as large bombs or missiles, unguided indirect-fire weapons including artillery and mortars, and weapons systems designed to deliver multiple munitions over a wide area.

The ICRC considers that explosive weapons with a wide impact area should be avoided in densely populated areas due to the significant likelihood of indiscriminate effects and despite the absence of an express legal prohibition against specific types of weapons. Recent conflicts show that there is a need for States to pay greater attention to this important humanitarian issue.

In its day-to-day work to protect and assist civilians affected by armed conflict, the ICRC continues to witness the devastating human cost of such weapons, in terms of incidental or indiscriminate death and injury and severe damage to critical civilian infrastructure. Damaged or destroyed buildings are the most visible effects of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Less visible is the damage caused to vital water and electrical supply systems, which has severe adverse consequences on the functioning of hospitals and more generally on the survival of the civilian population. Moreover, the loss of homes and livelihoods caused by explosive weapons in populated areas leads to the long-lasting displacement of civilians. These effects raise questions about the choice of means and methods of warfare, including whether it is appropriate, in populated areas, to employ weapons that have been designed for combat in an open battlefield, or otherwise to employ large amounts of explosive force.

In his November 2013 Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, the Secretary- General encouraged States to share information on their respective policies, operational practices and lessons learned on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, which would contribute to informing discussions and to eventually developing policy guidance. The ICRC joins the Secretary-General in this call.”

Statement during February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:

“In many armed conflicts, the prevalent use of explosive weapons with wide impact in densely populated areas — with all its inherent risk of incidental or indiscriminate death, injury and destruction of homes and vital civilian infrastructure — further fuels displacement and inhibits return. The ICRC joins the Secretary-General in encouraging States to share information on their respective polices, operational practices and lessons learned on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. That would contribute to informed discussions on this important humanitarian issue, and hopefully to the development of operational guidance by States.”

Statement by ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger, August 2010:

“The debate has been prompted in part by the growing number of military operations conducted in densely populated urban areas, often using heavy or highly explosive weapons, which have devastating humanitarian consequences for civilian populations. The media images of death, injury and destruction – of terrible suffering – in such situations of conflict in different parts of the world are surely all too familiar to everyone here today.” View statement

 

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