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Holy See

  • State
  • Acknowledged harm
  • Committed to action

The Holy See has acknowledged the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and committed to take action on this issue.


The Holy See has condemned the use of EWIPA in several statements to international fora. In a Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in November 2012, The Holy See detailed the devastating impacts of the use of EWIPA, including “a significant number of victims, major destruction of socio-economic infrastructures, severe psychological trauma and the hindrance of development for many years.” It noted that “these results cause hatred and socio-political wounds that are difficult to heal. In the case of internal or international conflicts, they make reconciliation more difficult, if not impossible, and they become a contradiction when international operations to restore or maintain peace and to win over the hearts and minds of local people are undertaken.” The statement also highlighted the importance of the international community coming together to prevent the use of EWIPA and protect civilians in armed conflicts. At the 2015 CCW MSP Meeting, The Holy See proposed the creation of a Group of Governmental Experts on the use of EWIPA.

The Holy See made similar statements during the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity and the UN Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict in 2016, condemning the use of EWIPA in the “strongest possible terms.”

Political declaration

The Holy See is an active participant in the negotiations toward a political declaration on the use of EWIPA.

During the consultations toward a political declaration in 2021, The Holy See opposed the use of qualifiers throughout the text of the declaration in phrases such as “harms which can arise from the use of EWIPA.” The Holy See welcomed references to women and girls in the political declaration, but indicated that it would like to see references to “gender” deleted in order to focus on impacts of all those affected.


[1] Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations (2012). ‘Statement to the CCW MSP’.

[2] Permanent Mission of The Holy See to the United Nations (2015). ‘Statement of the Holy See to the Meeting of States Parties of the CCW’.

[3] UN Security Council (2016). ‘UN Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict Meeting Transcript’.

[4] 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’.

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