Chile has acknowledged the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and committed to action on the matter.
Chile has condemned the use of EWIPA as a member of the Human Security Network at both the August 2013 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict and the 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. In these statements, the Human Security Network called for all parties to an armed conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas, emphasising that these weapons are indiscriminate within their zones of detonation and therefore pose unacceptable risks to civilians.
Chile aligned with the World Humanitarian Summit Core Commitments to ‘Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity’ in 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.”
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean states (CELAC), of which Chile is a member, drew attention to the harm of weapons such as cluster munitions and antipersonnel mines on civilian populations in a statement to the UN General Assembly First Commission in October 2018. The statement emphasised that the use of these weapons is in clear violation with international humanitarian law (IHL) and called on all states to take immediate measures to ameliorate the humanitarian harms which they cause.
Along with 22 other Latin American and Caribbean states, Chile 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.”
Chile reaffirmed its commitment to the Santiago Communique in a statement during the May 2019 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.
At the UN Security Council Open Debate War in Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Settings on 25 January 2022, Chile called on all parties to conflict to avoid the use of EWIPA.
Chile has also been an active participant in the process toward a political declaration on EWIPA use. In the first informal consultations on the declaration in November 2019, Chile 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.”
During the consultations, Chile supported the notion that a political declaration on EWIPA use should address indirect, long-term, and reverberating effects of EWIPA, such as displacement, disruption of essential services, increased poverty, destruction of the environment, contamination through explosive remnants of war, psychological trauma, disabilities, and similar issues. Chile asserted that the declaration should commit states to avoid using explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, not seek to establish a prohibition of the use of a specific weapon but instead establish a threshold of their use to reduce damage to civilians. Chile called for the declaration to recognise the rights of victims and affected communities and to provide adequate victim assistance to those affected in a non-discriminatory manner. Chile also called for the consideration of non-state actors in the political declaration.
Chile delivered joint statements with Mexico during both informal consultations for a political declaration in 2020. In the statements, Chile and Mexico responded to drafts of key elements for the political declaration and a draft of the declaration itself. Chile reaffirmed many of the positions it had taken in the previous consultation, such as the need to include a commitment to victim assistance, recognition of the reverberating effects of EWIPA, and considerations of non-state actors. Chile also called for the political declaration to include clear delineations of existing obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) in order to promote adherence to them regarding EWIPA use. It asserted that the political declaration should strengthen compliance with IHL through the creation of new policy commitments.
During the consultations in 2021, Chile and Mexico submitted joint comments on the draft political declaration provided by Ireland. In these comments, Chile emphasised the importance of clarity regarding the harm caused by the use of EWIPA, opposing the suggestions of other states to include qualifiers, such as the harm which “can potentially” be caused by EWIPA use. Other states defended the proposed use of qualifiers as a way to prevent the stigmatisation of explosive weapons use, to which Chile responded that their stigmatisation is a practical consequence of the indiscriminate effects of those weapons, and is not attributable to any political declaration or commitment to avoid their use. Chile also spoke in favour of inclusive international cooperation and called for a transparent implementation and follow-up process to monitor progress on the commitments within the political declaration.
 UN Security Council, S/PV.7019 (2013). ‘UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Meeting Transcript.’ https://undocs.org/en/S/PV.7019
 UN Security Council, S/PV.7109, (2014). ‘UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Meeting Transcript’. https://undocs.org/en/S/PV.7109.
 Agenda for Humanity Archives. ‘Chile’. https://agendaforhumanity.org/stakeholders/commitments/139.html.
 CELAC (2018). ‘UNGA73 First Committee Statement’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com18/statements/10Oct_CELAC.pdf.
 INEW (2018). ‘Santiago Communiqué’. https://www.inew.org/communique-from-regional-meeting-on-protecting-civilians-from-the-use-of-explosive-weapons-in-populated-areas-santiago-chile/.
 UN Security Council (2019). ‘UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Transcript’. https://undocs.org/en/S/PV.8534.
 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). ‘Join Statement First Informal Consultations’. https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/ourrolepolicies/peaceandsecurity/ewipa/Joint-Statement-of-LATAM-and-Caribbean-States-Written-Submission—18-November-2019.pdf.
 Reaching Critical Will (2019). ‘Towards a Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas: States Need to Ensure that Expressed Commitments Translate into Real Impacts on the Ground’ https://reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/14451-towards-a-political-declaration-on-the-use-of-explosive-wepons-in-populated-areas-states-need-to-ensure-that-expressed-commitments-translate-into-real-impacts-on-the-ground.
 Permanent Missions of Chile and Mexico to the United Nations (2020). ‘Working Paper on EWIPA–Key Elements for a Political Declaration’. https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/ourrolepolicies/peaceandsecurity/ewipa/Chile-and-Mexico-Written-Paper-Submission—10-February-2020.pdf.
 Permanent Missions of Chile and Mexico to the United Nations (2020). ‘Comments on the Draft Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians From Humanitarian Harm Arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas’. https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/ourrolepolicies/peaceandsecurity/ewipa/Chile-Mexico-Written-Submission—17-March-2020-.pdf.
 Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2020). ‘Impacts, not Intentionality: The Imperative of Focusing on the Effects of Explosive Weapons in a Political Declaration’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/14658-impacts-not-intentionality-the-imperative-of-focusing-on-the-effects-of-explosive-weapons-in-a-political-declaration.
 Permanent Missions of Chile and Mexico to the United Nations (2021). ‘Written Comments by Chile and Mexico Towards a Political Declaration to Address the Humanitarian Harm Arising from the Use of EWIPA–Virtual Informal Consultation Process’. https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/ourrolepolicies/peaceandsecurity/submissions3-5march/Mx-Chile-Written-comments-on-EWIPA-v.-submission.pdf.
 Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2021). ‘Report on the March 2021 Consultations on a Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/15213-report-on-the-march-2021-consultations-on-a-political-declaration-on-the-use-of-explosive-weapons-in-populated-areas.