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Achieving a political commitment on explosive weapons: new HRW/Harvard report explores options

Countries should develop and implement a new non-binding agreement to reduce the harm from explosive weapons, a joint Human Rights Watch/Harvard International Human Rights Law Clinic report released on 19 June argued. Explosive weapons with wide-are effects are highlighted as a particular concern that should be the immediate subject of states’ efforts. The report offers options for developing such an agreement, based on an examination of the experience of states and others in developing previous political commitments.

Momentum for international action is growing as recognition of the harm caused by explosive weapons in populated areas increases. In September, Austria will host a meeting to consider how to improve protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

The new report seeks to inform these discussions by providing options for a non-binding instrument – a political commitment – in which countries would agree to restrict the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The report examines about 30 relevant commitments that could serve as models for the shape of an explosive weapons commitment and the process to achieve it.

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