FEEDBACK – The fight against bombing and shelling in populated areas continues!

Posted by: on Apr 30, 2018 | No Comments

On the 24th of April started the Conference “Supporting the future of Syria and the region”, co-hosted by the UN and the European Union. On the same day, HI kicked off a series of events in Brussels to mobilise decision makers and public opinion about bombing and shelling in populated areas.

A day of mobilisation in the streets of Brussels

A giant poster beside the European Parliament delivered a powerful message: ” Act now to STOP bombing civilians”. Moreover, the passerby had the opportunity to live an immersive sound experience simulating a bombarded area: you can watch this short video to hear the emotional testimonies of the participants. The aim was to raise public awareness about the plight of civilians living in conflict under constant bombardments and to gather signatures for the international petition. https://www.change.org/p/stop-bombing-civilians

Action towards European leaders

Humanity & Inclusion organized, under the auspices of Sylvie Guillaume, Vice-President of the European Parliament, the opening of the exhibition BOMBED. Lives to be rebuilt, funded by ECHO, on the European Parliament esplanade in Brussels. This week-long exhibition featured pictures from Philippe de Poulpiquet as well as testimonies of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.

60 people attended this event gathering a high level panel of speakers and participants. Along with Sylvie Guillaume, the guest speakers were: Monique Pariat, Director-General of Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and Ambassador Noel White, Representative to Political and Security Committee, Permanent Representation of Ireland. HI welcomed their commitment and support :

 “The European commission remains committed to inclusive humanitarian action”, said Monique Pariat :

Ambassador Noel White declared: “We show our solidarity with Syrian people on this solidarity square. […]We have a duty to act to stem the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. We particularly condemn the use of cluster munitions and landmines.”

 

Breakfast briefing at the European Parliament

The breakfast briefing hosted by Sylvie Guillaume, co-organised with INEW (International Network on Explosive Weapons), gathered 30 people from NGOs and Members of the European Parliament, to discuss the humanitarian consequences of the bombing and shelling of populated areas and the way forward to protect civilians from this harm.

Breakfast briefing, April 25th, at the European Parliament

Breakfast briefing, April 25th, at the European Parliament

Sylvie Guillaume : “Protection of civilians is a requirement under international humanitarian law”.

Alma Taslidzan Al-Osta, HI Advocacy Manager on Disarmament and Protection of Civilians, gave powerful illustrations of the impacts of bombing and shelling in populated areas :  “The use of explosive weapons on civilians has long term impacts, including in terms of psychological trauma”, she recalls the necessity to protect civilians living in conflict, it is “Urgent & most necessary”. 

Laura Boillot, Coordinator of INEW,called the European decision-makers to action : “We know that for many European countries, these discussions entail difficult negotiations with armed forces on the level of constraint over militaries in the conduct of their operations. The high levels of civilian harm make it a responsibility to have these challenging discussions, and we encourage all states to look at : 

  • the types of explosive weapons they have in their stockpiles;
  • the scenarios in which they envision these weapons being used, and where lines are drawn over their use;
  • current policies and procedures in place to protect civilians from the effects of weapons;
  • to start to draw a line against the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated, with support for an international standard against this practice in the form of a political declaration.”

These two days of actions successfully rose the attention of European decision makers, HI will continue to engage to ensure EU member States & EU institutions act to draw a line against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

 

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