In May the UN Secretary-General released his 2018 report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. In this report, UN Secretary-General Guterres once again called on parties to conflict “to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas”. Referencing the “unrelenting horror and suffering” of civilians in armed conflict, he noted that “[c]ivilians are routinely killed or maimed, and civilian objects damaged or destroyed, in targeted or indiscriminate attacks that frequently involve the widespread use of explosive weapons.” The serious protection concerns resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas was again a central theme in the report, which focused on how parties can enhance respect for the law and promote good practice by parties to conflict to better protect civilians. The report also proposed that militaries revise and update their national policies and procedures for urban warfare to better protect civilians, and the opportunity this offers to build more support for standards against the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas.
INEW’s web post on the Secretary-General’s report and the Security Council debate on the protection of civilians