The UN Secretary-General’s annual report on ‘Children and Armed Conflict’, June 27 2023, states that among factors that have the most severe impact in conflict was the use of explosive weapons, including those with a wide impact area, notably in populated areas. It highlighted instances of such use in Gaza, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen, which led to greater child casualties and damaged schools and hospitals, depriving children of education and health services.
The report states that the use of explosive ordnance was responsible for over 25% of the killing and maiming of children and is in fact the leading cause of child casualties.
The UN Secretary-General calls upon parties to conflict to “refrain from using explosive weapons in populated areas.” He also encourages Member States to “endorse and adhere to the commitments set out in the Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences Arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas, including the commitments pertaining to avoiding civilian harm.”
The sharpest increase found was the number of attacks on schools and hospitals, sitting at 110%, mainly in Ukraine, Burkina Faso, Israel and the State of Palestine, Myanmar, Mali, and Afghanistan. The report can be downloaded and read in full here.