FEEDBACK – Strengthening support for the Santiago Communiqué on protecting civilians from the use of explosive weapons

Posted by: on Apr 23, 2019 | No Comments

More than 20 participants, including many  UN missions in Geneva, attended a briefing to discuss the follow up of the Santiago Regional Meeting on protecting civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and the Santiago Communiqué.

The meeting was addressed to States of Latin America and the Caribbean, which show a positive attitude towards the topic.

With the aim to further disseminate the Santiago communiqué (see below), Humanity & Inclusion (HI), the UN Mission of Chile, UNOCHA and INEW co-organized a briefing on the Santiago Regional Meeting on April 17, 2019. The briefing, opened and chaired by Ms. Pamela A. Moraga, Permanent Mission of Chile, addressed the representatives of Latin American and Caribbean States to provide a brief overview of the diplomatic process unfolding at regional and international level to end the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.

Keeping the focus on the human consequences of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

Ms. Alma Taslidžan Al-Osta, Disarmament and Protection of Civilians Advocacy Manager at HI presented direct and indirect humanitarian harm resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. From injuries to brain and internal organs to post traumatic stress disorder, from power cuts to destruction of health facilities, direct and indirect effects on the human body and the surrounding area caused by these types of weapons are widespread in type, time and space.

Briefing Latin American and Carribean States on EWIPA April 2019
Briefing of Latin American and Carribean States on EWIPA, Geneva, April 2019

But such pattern of harm is unfortunately nothing new, as Simon Bagshaw, UNOCHA Policy Branch, reminded. Casualties and destructions observed in Sri Lanka and Lebanon more than 10 years ago are regrettably similar to what we can observe in today’s conflicts. The UN Secretary General itself, outraged by this appalling picture, called on states to undertake political efforts to strengthen the protection of civilians and counter this trend. After presenting the UNSG Protection of Civilians Report – to be released next month- Mr. Bagshaw also mentioned the coming Protection of Civilians week as a possible venue to strengthen our collective action on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Engaging Latin American and Caribbeans States for the follow up of the Santiago Communiqué

The focus of the briefing then shifted to the regional meeting on protecting civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas that took place in December 2018 in Chile, the Santiago Communiqué and next steps. Mr. Cesar Jaramillo, INEW, linked the regional meeting in Santiago to the broader international process explaining how the two levels are deeply intertwined and can reinforce each other. Mr. Jaramillo also talked about some specific highlights of the Santiago Communiqué such as the commitments to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas and to 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.

Briefing Latin American and Carribean States on EWIPA April 2019

Mrs Pamela A. Moraga, Permanent Mission of Chile, suggested what actions and next steps can be taken to address such harm at a political and operational level, from a national and regional perspective.

Together with representatives of INEW and UN Agencies, 15 states[1] from the region attended the briefing and expressed engagement and will to support diplomatic efforts to end the use of EWIPA.

HI welcomes the engagement showed by Latin American and Caribbean missions and hopes to see more states endorsing the Santiago Communiqué as well as diplomatic engagement on the way forward.

Everybody has a role to play: diplomatic efforts will be crucial to support the process towards a political declaration to end the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.


[1] Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Repblic, Jamaica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Haiti.  

Communique-Santiago-Regional-Meeting-on-EWIPA-6-Dec