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Mozambique has acknowledged the harm caused by explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and is actively involved in the process to develop a political declaration on the matter.


Mozambique aligned with the Joint Commitment 123002 to the World Humanitarian Summit led by Austria, in May 2016, pledging to continue to raising awareness about the challenges for the protection of civilians by the use of EWIPA, and to develop a political declaration on the issue.[1]

Mozambique also supported a statement on EWIPA issued by Austria at the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity, in May 2016.[2]

Mozambique is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which aligned with the World Humanitarian Summit Core Commitments to “Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity” in May 2016, including 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.”[3]

Mozambique convened a conference alongside the governments of Austria, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico to discuss how the international community should respond to the harm to civilians caused by the use of EWIPA in October 2016, in New York City.[4]

In 2017, Mozambique endorsed the communiqué arising from the Maputo Regional Meeting on Protecting Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas. The Maputo Communiqué discussed the harms of EWIPA, the role of African states in working against it, and the need to create a political declaration on the matter. The 19 African states present agreed to work independently and cooperatively to do 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;
  • 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 the international level that could effectively provide greater protection to civilians in armed conflicts;
  • Foster deeper and further engagement from African states and facilitate increased involvement as a group of states;
  • Continue and strengthen cooperation and partnerships with international organisations and civil society organisations 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.”[5]

Mozambique was also one of 50 states to endorse the joint statement on the use of EWIPA at the UN General Assembly First Committee in 2018, 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.[6] Mozambique also endorsed the Ireland-led joint statement during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly’s First Committee in 2019.[7] 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.[8]

Political declaration

Mozambique participated in the first round of consultations that took place in Geneva in 2019.[9] On that occasion, it made the following suggestions:

  • The declaration should commit states to avoid using explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.
  • Avoiding the use of EWIPA would contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16.
  • It supported a call for the adoption and review of policies and practices—including in military doctrines, tactical instructions, rules of engagement, the testing and development of new weapons, education, and other measures—to enhance protection of civilians and compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL). 
  • The collection of data should be disaggregated by gender, disability, and age.
  • The declaration should recognise the rights of victims and affected communities and to provide appropriate victim assistance to those affected. It also said that this should be done in line with the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. 
  • It called for investigating allegations of the use of EWIPA that is in violation of IHL, and, where appropriate, for the due prosecution of perpetrators. 
  • It supported the establishment of a follow up mechanism.
  • It called for the declaration to be mainstreamed with the Safe School Declaration.

Mozambique also participated in the second round of consultations that took place in Geneva in 2020, when it raised the following points:[10]

  • Prevention and risk education should be indicated as a mitigation strategy.
  • The preamble should recognise relevant materials related to EWIPA, including UN Secretary-General reports, the joint UN-ICRC appeal, commitments from the World Humanitarian Summit, regional communiqués, the Safe Schools Declaration, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and other relevant initiatives.
  • It suggested reflecting the impacts on the SDGs.
  • It called for recognition of internally and externally displaced people due to the use of EWIPA.
  • It urged adding “type of impairment” to the list of ways to disaggregate data.
  • That improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and human shields should be moved to the operational part of the political declaration.
  • It said that the  title of Section 2 (Legal framework) doesn’t capture the content of Section.
  • In para 2.1, Mozambique suggested after “civilian harm” to add “and growing trend of wars being fought in urban settings.”
  • It said data collection should include type of impairment/disability, to facilitate victim assistance and that it should include psychological support and should mention vulnerable groups such as children, elderly, and women.
  • Regarding a follow-up mechanism, Mozambique suggested a review of declaration should take place every two years, on a voluntary basis, to identify progress and challenges and discuss strategies to overcome them.
  • It argued it should be helpful to embark, in due course, on an exercise of conceiving indicators that, overtime, would help to track progress and hindrances in the implementation of the Declaration.
  • It suggested including prevention of diversion of explosive weapons in export/import chain, especially to non-state actors.

[1] Agenda for Humanity.

[2] Austria (2016). ‘Statement at the World Humanitarian Summit Roundtable on Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity’.

[3] Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). ‘Agenda for Humanity’.

[4] INEW (2016). ‘INEW Intervention on Key Elements of a Political Declaration’. 

[5] INEW (2017). ‘Communiqué from Maputo Regional Conference on the Protection of Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas.

[6] Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations (2018). ‘Joint Statement on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA)’.

[7] INEW (2019). ‘Seventy-one States call for Action on Impact of Explosive Weapons in Joint Statement to UN General Assembly’.

[8] Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations (2019). ‘UNGA74 First Committee Joint Statement on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA)’.

[9] 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’.

[10] Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2020). ‘Impacts, not Intentionality: The Imperative of Focusing on the Effects of Explosive Weapons in a Political Declaration’.; Permanent Mission of Mozambique to the United Nations (2019). ‘Statement  at Geneva Consultations on Protecting Civilians in Urban Warfare Geneva’.

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