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Rights to health, education and housing; displacement; urban crises; and the technical characteristics of explosive weapons: research round up

In April and May INEW members and other organisations contributed a range of new materials on the impact and effects of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas – a round up is given below:

Explosive weapons and the right to health, education and adequate housing: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

In three case study briefing papers for the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, WILPF examines how the use of explosive weapons in populated areas by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has had a direct impact on the rights to adequate housing, health, and education. The Arms Trade Treaty obliges parties to refuse exports where there is a risk of violation of international human rights law, and WILPF finds that arms exports by France, Sweden and the UK to Saudi Arabia have violated the Covenant. WILPF therefore recommends authorisations for arms sales be denied. Read more

Displacement site in Khamer in Amran Governorate, Yemen About 200 families of the muhamasheen minority displaced from Sa’ada live in the site. (© UN OCHA/Philippe Kropf https://flic.kr/p/BGwpRT)

Displacement site in Khamer in Amran Governorate, Yemen About 200 families of the muhamasheen minority displaced from Sa’ada live in the site. (© UN OCHA/Philippe Kropf https://flic.kr/p/BGwpRT)

Bombing in towns and cities: a major driver of displacement worldwide

The widespread use of explosive weapons in populated areas contributes to driving people and families from their homes in conflicts across the world, as well as to preventing their return. For the advancement of civilian protection during conflict, the links between explosive weapons an displacement should be made in current international efforts to prevent harm from the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. In this web post, Article 36 explores some of these links, and the action that can be taken by states and concerned organisations. Read more

Global Alliance for Urban Crises discussion event on urbanisation, violence and conflict

On 18 April at an event hosted by City College of New York, the Missions of Lebanon and Norway to the UN, UNDP, UN-Habitat, and the International Rescue Committee, INEW member PAX gave an overview of the humanitarian problem posed by the use of explosive weapons in populated, and international efforts towards a political declaration by states to address this issue. The event also explored the urbanisation of conflict and the impact on civilians and services and the links between Sustainable Development Goals on safe cities and peaceful societies. It was held in advance of and to make recommendations for the World Humanitarian Summit and the Habitat III conference on housing and sustainable development in October. The meeting’s report contains the recommendation that states should endorse the UN Secretary-General’s call to refrain from the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas. Read more

Technical considerations relevant to the use and effects of explosive weapons in populated areas: Armament Research Services

In a new report, Armament Research Services (ARES), commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), gives an overview of the types of explosive weapons that may be prone to wide-area effects and the factors that determine their impact, elaborating background information and technical characteristics. It examines types of weapons that have not been specifically prohibited and are commonly used. Wide area effects may arise from the large destructive radius of individual munitions, inaccuracy of delivery, delivery of multiple munitions over a wide area or a combination of these factors. The use of explosive weapons that have wide-area effects pose the greatest risk of harm to civilians when used in populated areas. Read more

Parties to conflict should avoid using heavy explosive weapons in populated areas: ICRC video interview

In a video interview for the ICRC’s Humanitarian Law and Policy blog, the head of the ICRC’s Arms Unit, Kathleen Lawand, examines the humanitarian consequences and legal implications of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Read more

Devastation in the city of Kobane, Syria (© Handicap International)

Devastation in the city of Kobane, Syria (© Handicap International)

Understanding the reverberating effects of explosive weapons: UNIDIR paper on ways forward for research and documentation

The effects caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas reverberate outward in space and time. The consequences of the destruction caused by explosive weapons can last long after the initial blast, including the effects of damage to infrastructure and homes on livelihoods, access to healthcare, and education. UNIDIR’s project on these reverberating effects has found that these consequences are however comparatively understudied. This paper reviews the existing approaches to documenting the reverberating effects of explosive weapons use in populated areas and suggests ways forward for this agenda. Read more

Reports on attacks on healthcare in emergencies

Reports released in May by the World Health Organisation and the Safeguarding Healthcare in Conflict Coalition on the scale of attacks on healthcare and healthcare workers during conflict – despite their protection under the laws of war – highlight the effects of the bombing and shelling of hospitals in particular, and the need for better information for a comprehensive understanding of the issues.

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