ALERT – A unique opportunity to put an end to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

Posted by: on Oct 1, 2019 | No Comments

As conflicts are increasingly fought in cities, civilians represent 90% of the victims. States gather at the Vienna Conference on October 1st and 2nd to find a political solution to the harm caused by bombing in urban warfare.

A historical moment to end human suffering caused by the use of explosive weapons

Civilians represented 50% of the victims during WWII, 15% during the WWI. This trend of modern conflicts is unacceptable. On October 1st and 2nd, Austria will gather States at the Vienna conference to find a political solution to the harm caused to civilians by bombing and shelling in urban warfare. This international conference is a crucial event to address the devastating humanitarian consequences of these practices. This recognition by States of the urgency to act is a first victory for the civil society! HI – co-founder of the International Network of Explosive Weapons (INEW) – has been campaigning for more than 5 years against bombing in populated areas. The Vienna Conference gives civil society a unique opportunity to demand from states to commit to end human suffering caused by the use of explosive weapons, to better protect civilians in war zones and to provide assistance to victims.

In the wake of the Vienna Conference, negotiations will lead to a draft political declaration to end the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. This diplomatic phase should close with the Conference in Dublin scheduled early 2020, when the political declaration will open for endorsements. During all the process, HI and partners of the International Network of Explosive Weapons (INEW) will dialogue with States to convince them to fully commit to the cause and support the adoption of a political declaration to prevent human suffering caused by the use of explosive weapons. 

20 years ago, HI and the International Campaign to Ban Landmine (ICBL) managed to ban landmines with the adoption of Ottawa Treaty (1997). 10 years ago, the association and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) managed to ban cluster munitions with the adoption of the Oslo Treaty (2008). HI has once again the opportunity to write history and to oblige states and their militaries to better protect civilians in conflicts. HI’s fight remains the same: to protect civilians in armed conflicts.

Read the press release here.

Media information Vienna conference