Campaign Conference

SAVE THE DATE!
STOP BOMBING TOWNS AND CITIES

International campaign conference on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas
31 August 2017, Geneva, Switzerland

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The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) is holding an international campaign conference in Geneva, on Thursday 31 August for organisations concerned about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and humanitarian harm resulting from this practice. Come join us!

Who
This conference is for INEW members and other organisations concerned about the humanitarian harm resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

What
An international campaign conference for civil society organisations to share and receive information on:

  • The humanitarian harm resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas;
  • Recommendations for action to reduce harm including stronger national policies and procedures, and new international standards;
  • Activities that civil society organisations can undertake, including research, advocacy and outreach to governments and parliamentarians, public campaigning and media.

Draft agenda is available here.

Where
Impact Hub Geneva, Rue Fendt 1, 1201 Genève, Switzerland

When
Thursday 31 August, 10.00 – 18.00
This follows an ICRC meeting on Wednesday 30 August for States on this theme. Please let us know if you are interested in attending this meeting also.

Register 
To register for the conference by completing this form here. For information or questions about this event contact: Laura Boillot, INEW Coordinator, www.inew.org
laura@article36.org +44 (0) 7515-575-175 (London, UK)

BACKGROUND

A pattern of harm

A rise in urban warfare presents considerable risks to the civilian population and challenges to the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

The use of explosive weapons in populated areas – including grenades, artillery shells, rockets, mortars, aircraft bombs, missiles, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), results in high levels of civilian deaths and injuries. High casualty rates from the bombing of towns and cities in Gaza, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen provide clear illustrations of this persistent pattern of harm.

The use of explosive weapons that impact a wide area, such as multiple-launch rockets and large aircraft bombs, have been recognised as particularly unacceptable for use in towns and cities because of the high risk of harm to the civilian population.

Beyond those killed and injured, yet more civilians are affected by the destruction to vital infrastructure, including housing, hospitals, water and sanitation systems, and schools. It is also a key driver of displacement.

Too often, this situation is considered an inevitable result of conflict, yet experience shows that at an operational level, militaries can, and have, limited or stopped the use of certain weapons.

INEW is calling for the development of an international political instrument to stop the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.

Current international context

Reflecting the urgent nature of this humanitarian problem, the UN Secretary General and the President of the ICRC issued an unprecedented warning, calling on states to stop the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas.

Over the past several years this issue has been identified as a top priority for states. The UN Secretary General has repeatedly called on states to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, and engage constructively in efforts towards developing a political declaration.

Since 2013 a series of expert meetings have taken place to better understand the harm resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, to identify practices by armed forces that can be undertaken to reduce harm to civilians, and to start to discuss a response to address this harm by developing an international political commitment.

Around 70 states have now spoken up in public forums to recognize the harm resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Discussions are starting towards developing a political instrument to address this humanitarian problem, and to set a political and operational direction against the use in populated areas of those explosive weapons that expose civilians to the gravest risks.

INEW’s call to action

The International Network on Explosive Weapons calls for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. States and other actors should:

  • Acknowledge that use of explosive weapons in populated areas tends to cause severe harm to individuals and communities and furthers suffering by damaging vital infrastructure;
  • Strive to avoid such harm and suffering in any situation, review and strengthen national policies and practices on use of explosive weapons and gather and make available relevant data;
  • Work for full realisation of the rights of victims and survivors;
  • Develop stronger international standards, including certain prohibitions and restrictions on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
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