Protecting the public from explosive weapons in violent confrontation: Five important things TOU

Protecting the public from explosive weapons in violent confrontation: Five important things
 TOU

Protecting the public from explosive weapons in violent confrontation: Five important things

The horrific devastation caused by explosive weapons in populated areas has been repeatedly observed, from Syria to Ethiopia, Myanmar and Iraq. The flood of photographs coming from Ukraine has shocked the people.

In addition to the large number of casualties, the use of such weapons also causes long term damage, ruin livelihoods and damage important infrastructure, including health care centers.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has consistently emphasized the importance of resolutions by countries to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

An investigation into the impact of the use of these weapons on civilians and the ongoing efforts by countries, the United Nations and partners around the world to reduce human stings …

1. What are explosive weapons?

Explosive weapons are systems that use weapons or equipment whose primary destructive effect is due to powerful explosions.

This causes an explosion-affected, fragmented area to take shape. Different types of explosive weapons are used by the military and other armed groups.

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© UNDP / Yevhenii Zavhorodnii

Demolition of explosive weapons in Bucha, Ukraine.

For example, indirect firearms, such as artillery, rockets and mortars; Explosives, such as multi-launch rocket systems; Large bombs dropped from the air and launched from the sea; Surface-to-surface ballistic missiles; And other improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Explosive weapons with a “wide range effect” are a major subclass of explosive weapons, including those that use the weapon for a large destructive range, smashing or hitting a wide area. Take in

Population centers continue to be the target of armed conflict, which has had a devastating effect on civilians. This is often due to the use of weapons systems designed for traditional open battlefields in urban areas.

They have far-reaching effects, leading to more casualties and catastrophic humanitarian effects.

2. What are the human effects and side effects of using these weapons in populated areas?

When these explosive weapons are used in villages, towns, cities or other populated areas, civilians suffer immediate and long term damage and risk their lives, livelihoods and vital infrastructure.

In addition to the immediate effects, many civilians are also exposed to the indirect and often long-term effects of weapons, which can affect them in the long run. Children, in particular, are susceptible to various forms of psychological or emotional trauma.

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Children passing through the main area of ​​a collapsed city in Aden, Yemen.
OCHA / Giles Clarke

Children passing through the main area of ​​a collapsed city in Aden, Yemen.

Health care facilities are greatly affected, which also leads to disruption in medical care. Housing and essential infrastructure, such as drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and power supply systems, are also at risk of being severely damaged, increasing the risk of disease transmission and creating a burden on the health system.

Schools are severely damaged, access to education is disrupted, children are affected and often gender inequalities occur.

The use of these weapons in populated areas also causes mass displacement, and often forces people to leave their homes for long periods of time in uncertain circumstances.

In fact, the use of these weapons leaves behind the explosive remnants of war that could cause casualties to civilians, especially children, long after the hostilities have ended.

3. What steps are being taken by the United Nations and its partner organizations to reduce the number of casualties?

Since 2009, UN chief Antonio Guterres and his predecessors have called on warring parties to refrain from using these weapons, especially through their disarmament agenda.

Under this agenda, the member states of the United Nations are committed to supporting the development of a political declaration to address the challenge of explosive weapons in populated areas.

In 2019, the UN chief, along with the chairman of the International Committee of the Red Cross, called on the warring parties to adopt strategies and methods to move the battlefield beyond populated areas and to combat fighting in urban areas. Attempts can be made to reduce.

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The years of violent conflict in Syria have resulted in heavy loss of life and property.
© UNICEF / Amer Al-Mohibany

The years of violent conflict in Syria have resulted in heavy loss of life and property.

Fully documenting the short-term and long-term human impact of the use of IEDs in populated areas and collecting casualty data is critical to appropriate action.

The United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and NGOs around the world have published numerous studies to further the discussion and improve military policies and procedures.

The military has adopted policies aimed at avoiding or limiting the use of certain types of explosive weapons, in order to better protect civilians.

An example of this is the policies used by the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and the African Union Mission in Somalia.

4. What other efforts are being made globally?

Over the past few decades, governments and civil society coalitions have successfully conducted a number of campaigns to agree on new measures to reduce human losses.

These include a treaty banning landmines that could harm individuals, a treaty on the use of cluster munitions, and a declaration to protect schools.

Since 2010, human welfare organizations, including civil society, have led efforts to raise awareness of the indiscriminate use of explosive weapons and its serious humanitarian effects in populated areas.

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Some children near collapsed buildings in Benghazi, Libya.
© UNOCHA / Giles Clarke

Some children near collapsed buildings in Benghazi, Libya.

The Irish-led consultation process has been under way since 2019 to develop an international political manifesto focusing on dealing with the humanitarian damage caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

After a hiatus caused by the global pandemic, all countries regrouped in April for talks on a political declaration, which is expected to end in June.

The UN Secretary-General has expressed his full support for this process, and has continued his advocacy efforts for a political manifesto. The declaration will also include a clear resolution to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

5. How can a political declaration change the situation?

The passage of a political manifesto on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas could play a significant role in reducing the damage to human welfare caused by it.

This declaration will underline that war cannot be fought in populated areas in the same way that it is fought in open battlefields.

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A school was destroyed by a bomb in the Yemeni city of Saada.
© UNOCHA / Giles Clarke

A school was destroyed by a bomb in the Yemeni city of Saada.

State authorities must commit to operations policies that are based on the presumption that explosive weapons will not be used in populated areas.

This will make it possible to change behavior, promote concrete steps to protect the public, and strengthen compliance with international human welfare.

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