Statement following the open session of the African Union Peace and Security Council session on the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA)
Council emphasized the deep and long-term impact of armed conflict on civilian objects, particularly as a result of the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects, which impedes the delivery of humanitarian assistance, hinders the return of refugees and displaced persons, increases the cost of recovery and reconstruction, and undermines overall peacebuilding efforts.
Council expressed grave concern over the devastating humanitarian consequences of armed conflict and the alarmingly high number of civilian casualties, due to indiscriminate or disproportionate use of explosive weapons, in contravention of international law, especially in highly urbanized areas. Council reaffirmed the principles of proportionality, precaution and distinction.
Council called upon Member States to ensure that their armed forces and security forces, within their respective competencies under domestic law, build capacities and integrate measures to address the challenges of urban warfare into military doctrine and at the tactical, operational and strategic levels.
Council expressed support for an inclusive consultation process to develop a political declaration that addresses the impact of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas, underlining that the declaration must include action-oriented commitments that strengthen accountability and combat impunity.