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A decade of data highlights heavy toll explosive weapon use in towns and cities has on civilians 

Over the past ten years Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), an INEW member, has collected data documenting the impact of explosive weapon use in towns, cities and other populated areas, as reported in English-language media.

Today INEW member Action on Armed Violence released their latest report, “A Decade of Explosive Harm, 2011-2020”, detailing a clear and consistent pattern of civilian harm across different countries and contexts each year. This decade worth of data shows unacceptably high civilian casualty rates wherever explosive weapons were used in towns and cities:

  • When explosive weapons were used in towns, cities and other populated areas 91% of those killed and injured were civilians. This compares to 25% in other areas.
  • In total, 238,892 civilians were killed and injured in populated areas over a decade.
  • Incidents were recorded in 123 countries and territories around the world in the ten years.
    The highest number of civilian deaths and injuries in the last decade occurred in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.

These dismal findings were widely covered in the media, including in The Guardian, which also flagged the importance of the current process, under the leadership of Ireland, to develop an international political declaration that would set new international standards on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Each year, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and injured around the world by bombing and shelling in urban and other populated areas using weapons designed for use in open battlefields. Many more civilians experience life-changing injuries, and suffer from destruction of homes, hospitals, schools and vital services, and the trauma of living through bombing.

Of particular concerns is the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects, including weapons that produce a large blast area or spread fragments widely such as large aircraft bombs, weapons that deliver multiple munitions that saturate a large area, such as multiple-launch rocket systems, and inaccurate weapons, such as mortars, that may land anywhere within a wide area of the intended target.

INEW is therefore calling on states to include a commitment to avoid use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas in the future political declaration.

Read the full report here:


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