South Africa has acknowledged the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and committed to action on the issue.
As part of the Human Security Network, South Africa endorsed two statements addressing the risk of EWIPA at the UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in 2013 and 2014. The statements called for data collection and to refrain from the use of EWIPA.
During the UN General Assembly First Committee thematic debate on conventional weapons in October 2016, South Africa expressed concern about the use of EWIPA.
At the UN Security Council Open Debate War in Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Settings on 25 January 2022, South Africa warned that the use of EWIPA exacerbates humanitarian crises, highlighting the destruction of lives and livelihoods in the Gaza Strip. It also noted that the destruction of civilian infrastructure and the resulting impact on the environment will further intensify long-term consequences of armed conflict.
South Africa participated in the Vienna Conference on the Protection of Civilians in Urban Warfare in October 2019.
South Africa participated in the consultations regarding a political declaration held in 2020 and 2021. In the latter, it echoed Chile’s and Mexico’s advocacy for a core commitment to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, arguing that such a policy would neither stigmatise explosive weapons nor create new obligations, as it is not a prohibition, but rather a regulation.
It also echoed Peru’s and Chile’s argument that adding item 3.3 in the declaration would serve to undermine the central purpose of the declaration and suggested replacing “restrict” with “avoid.”
South Africa also echoed Namibia’s argument that the victim assistance provisions should be strengthened, by better defining victim assistance, what assistance is needed, and taking into account families and others affected.
 Human Security Network (2013). ‘Statement to the August UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’. http://www.peacewomen.org/sites/default/files/chile_poc_august_2013_debate__0.pdf.
 Human Security Network (2014). Statement to the February UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’. http://www.peacewomen.org/sites/default/files/statement_-_slovenia__human_security_network__0.pdf.
 Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations (2016). ‘UNGA71 First Committee Conventional Weapons Thematic Debate Statement’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com16/statements/20Oct_SouthAfrica.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.
 INEW (2019). ‘Vienna Conference Marks Turning Point as States Support Negotiation of an International Political Declaration on Explosive Weapons’. https://www.inew.org/vienna-conference-marks-turning-point-as-states-support-negotiation-of-an-international-political-declaration-on-explosive-weapons/.
 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.