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Iceland

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  • Committed to action

Statement during the General Debate of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee, 2017, on behalf of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden):

“We would like to see many more countries participating in the ongoing discussions on how to enhance the protection of civilians in conflict, and thereby improve compliance with international humanitarian law. There is a clear obligation to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants in conflict. We have witnessed in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine how the indiscriminate use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas has caused a degree of civilian loss of life that is clearly disproportionate and in violation of international humanitarian law. The destruction of critical infrastructure such as housing, schools and hospitals also makes post-conflict rehabilitation, peacebuilding and reconstruction more difficult long after the actual fighting is over.”

Aligned with World Humanitarian Summit Core Commitments to ‘Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity’, May 2016, including:

“Commit to promote and enhance the protection of civilians and civilian objects, especially in the conduct of hostilities, for instance by working to prevent civilian harm resulting from the use of wide-area explosive weapons in populated areas, and by sparing civilian infrastructure from military use in the conduct of military operations.”

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.”

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