Brazil has acknowledged the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and is involved in the process to develop a political declaration.
Along with 22 other Latin American and Caribbean states, Brazil participated in the Santiago Regional Meeting on Protecting Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas in 2018. The meeting produced the Santiago Communiqué in which the participating states agreed to take further action on the issue, including, but not limited to, the following:
- “Encourage collection of data and information to increase awareness and enhance knowledge about the impact of explosive weapons on civilians in populated areas;
- Avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas;
- Act to enhance compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects, including school and hospitals during armed conflict and to contribute to alleviating humanitarian harm resulting from the effects of explosive weapons in populated areas
- Develop effective measures to prevent attacks in contravention of applicable international law against hospitals and schools and protected persons in relation to them;
- Fully support the process that will lead to the negotiation and adoption of an international political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas;
- Promote bilateral and regional cooperation through sharing experiences, good practices and expertise on reducing the harm caused by explosive weapons to civilians;
- Constructively engage in discussions and initiatives at international level that could effectively provide greater protection to civilians in armed conflicts;
- Foster deeper and further engagement from the Latin American and Caribbean states and facilitate increased involvement as a group of States;
- Continue and strengthen cooperation and partnerships with international organizations and civil society organizations to draw upon their relevant expertise and support;
- Channel contributions to the draft international political declaration on the matter, as well as engage in advocacy, at national, regional and international levels.”
In October 2018, Brazil was one of 50 states to endorse the joint statement on the use of EWIPA at the UN General Assembly First Committee, calling attention to the devastating and long-lasting humanitarian impact of the use of EWIPA and urging states to reverse the trend of high levels of civilian harm. Brazil also endorsed the Ireland-led joint statement during the 74th United Nations General Assembly First Committee in 2019. The statement encouraged states to participate in international efforts to address the impacts of the use of EWIPA on civilians, including by working towards the creation of an international political declaration on this issue.
Brazil also aligned with the World Humanitarian Summit Core Commitments to ‘Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity’ in May 2016. This included the commitment “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.”
At the UN Security Council Open Debate War in Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Settings on 25 January 2022, the Group of Friends of the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, of which Brazil is a member, called on states to enhance the protection of civilians, including from the use of EWIPA, and took note of the ongoing consultations to develop a political declaration on this subject.
Brazil has been an active participant in the negotiation process for the declaration. In the first informal consultations on the declaration in November 2019, Brazil delivered a joint statement with seven other Latin American and Caribbean states, which delineated the following as key elements of a political declaration on EWIPA:
- “Acknowledgement that the use of explosive weapons of wide area effects in populated areas is likely to have significant humanitarian consequences, seriously compromising the protection of civilians.
- Commit states to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects and disproportionate impact on civilians in populated areas, and to develop operational policies and procedures in this regard.
- Promote greater compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law, in particular through full compliance with the principles of humanity, proportionality, distinction and precautions in attack; Commit states to enable humanitarian access that is secure and sustainable.
- Recognize the rights of victims and affected communities, providing them with adequate assistance.
- Identify, develop and exchange best practices in relation to weapon-target matching, targeting procedures, planning and training; including the difficulty in directing inaccurate weapons against specific objectives in populated areas and take into account foreseeable indirect “reverberating” effects on essential urban services in the proportionality assessment.
- Encourage collection of disaggregated data (sex and age) and information to increase awareness and enhance knowledge about the impact of explosive weapons on civilians in populated areas, thus describing the different impacts on a factual-based approach.
- Promote bilateral and regional cooperation through sharing experiences, good practices and expertise on reducing the harm caused by explosive weapons to civilians, building a community of good practices.
- Strengthen cooperation and partnerships with international organizations and civil society organizations to draw upon their relevant expertise and support.”
At the UN Security Council Open Debate War in Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Settings on 25 January 2022, Brazil said the political declaration should establish common standards, promote policies to minimise risk of civilian harm, and facilitate exchange of good practice. It argued the declaration provides a good opportunity to promote compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) and recognise the rights of victims and affected communities.
 INEW (2017). ‘Santiago Communiqué from the Regional Meeting on Protecting Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (Santiago, Chile)’. https://www.inew.org/communique-from-regional-meeting-on-protecting-civilians-from-the-use-of-explosive-weapons-in-populated-areas-santiago-chile.
 Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations (2018). ‘UNGA73 First Committee Joint Statement on EWIPA’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com18/statements/25Oct_EWIPA.pdf.
 INEW (2019). ‘Seventy-one states call for action on impact of explosive weapons in joint statement to UN General Assembly’. https://www.inew.org/seventy-one-states-call-for-action-on-impact-of-explosive-weapons-in-joint-statement-to-un-general-assembly.
 Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations (2019). ‘UNGA74 First Committee Joint Statement on EWIPA’. https://article36.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/UNGA74-joint-statement-on-explosive-weapons-in-populated-areas.pdf.
 Agenda for Humanity Archives. ‘Brazil’. https://agendaforhumanity.org/stakeholders/commitments/128.html.
 Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2022). ‘UN Security Council debates war in cities and the protection of civilians’.https://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/16009-un-security-council-debates-war-in-cities-and-the-protection-of-civilians.
 Latin American and Caribbean states (2019). ‘Joint Statement–1st Informal Consultations’. https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/ourrolepolicies/peaceandsecurity/ewipa/Joint-Statement-of-LATAM-and-Caribbean-States-Written-Submission—18-November-2019.pdf.
 Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2022). ‘UN Security Council debates war in cities and the protection of civilians’. https://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/16009-un-security-council-debates-war-in-cities-and-the-protection-of-civilians.