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Political Response

A commitment to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas requires political will at the international level.

International momentum to address the use of explosive weapon in populated areas has built over the past decade. Over 100 states (see the map above, and a full list below), several multilateral organisations, and consecutive UN Secretary-Generals and other high-level UN officials, have expressed concern, against the backdrop of stark examples of humanitarian harm. 

Kunduz hospital after the attack. The remains of a bed frame in a room on eastern wing of the main Outpatient Department building. © Andrew Quilty.

INEW urges immediate action to address this pressing issue, and supports a package of actions at the national and international level to address this pattern of harm, including: 

  • Development of operational policies and procedures to stop the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas 
  • Gathering and making available relevant data 
  • Building a community of practice, including through regular meetings to discuss the issue and progress towards reducing humanitarian harm.
  • Providing assistance to victims, survivors and affected communities
  • Enabling humanitarian and protection measures
  • Development of stronger international standards, including certain prohibitions and restrictions on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

A political declaration setting out such concrete actions for States would draw attention to this distinct issue, provide specific policy and operational recommendations that can shift behaviour, and be a tool for driving forward change by encompassing a series of action-oriented commitments on a variety of issues. 

International recognition


The following 112 states and territories and 6 state groupings - including African states who agreed the Maputo Communiqué, and Latin American and Caribbean states who agreed the Santiago Communiqué - have publicly acknowledged the harm caused by explosive weapons in populated areas in statements (click links to jump to the record of what was said):

State groups


Certain UN actors and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have also acknowledged the harm caused by explosive weapons and/or called for action on this urgent humanitarian problem, both in public statements and in official reports to UN bodies (full reports are archived on INEW’s ‘learn more‘ page under ‘external resources’. Click links to jump to the record of what was said/published):