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80 countries endorse declaration against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

Press Release | London, 17th October 2022, 13:00 GMT

Acknowledging the devastating impact of bombing and shelling of towns and cities on civilians, 80 states came together today in Dublin to adopt a new international agreement to better protect civilians against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

The agreement is the culmination of a three-year diplomatic process led by Ireland to negotiate a declaration to ensure the protection of civilians and ensure stricter implementation of international humanitarian law.

“Today has broken all our expectations. For people facing the terror of urban bombing, it's incredibly important that 80 of the world's governments, including some of the biggest military powers, have signed up to this agreement to avoid using explosive weapons in towns and cities.
They have committed to prioritising the protection of civilians, including by changing the way they train their own forces. By making clear that bombing or shelling of populated areas is not an acceptable military strategy, this declaration has the potential to save thousands of lives,"
said George Graham, Chief Executive of Humanity & Inclusion UK.

To mitigate the disastrous impact of using weapons designed for open battlefields in urban areas and on civilians, the declaration commits states to imposing greater restrictions on the use of explosive weapons. It further commits states to assisting victims of war and addressing the long-term impact of damage to civilian infrastructure.

“Having this new international agreement on urban bombing adopted by 80 States provides hope for the future. It is a recognition that the continued, heavy toll on civilians from bombing and shelling in cities and towns is unacceptable. States must start working immediately towards effective implementation of their commitments,” said George Graham.

States that endorse the declaration must now, without delay, begin the process of implementation. This includes developing policies and practices which limit the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and ensure that the protection of civilians is prioritised.

HI and its partners in the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) will actively monitor this process using the Explosive Weapons Monitor which was co-created by HI in 2022. HI’s goal is to ensure that this agreement brings about real change.

“Over 290,000 civilians have been killed or injured by the bombing of cities and other populated areas over the last 12 years. Populated areas have been systematically and extensively bombed and shelled in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Ethiopia… It must stop,” said George Graham.

The historic agreement is a victory for survivors of war, humanitarian organisations and civil society groups. Humanity & Inclusion warmly thanks Ireland and Ambassador Gaffey for leading the diplomatic negotiations and organising today’s conference.


  • Interviews are available with George Graham and other Humanity & Inclusion experts on disarmament and the protection of civilians.
  • Humanity & Inclusion UK delivered its ‘Stop Bombing Civilians’ petition to 10 Downing Street last week. The petition was signed by 216,719 people in the UK, demonstrating the widespread outrage felt by the public about the horrific impact of bombing on civilians in conflict zones around the world.

About Humanity & Inclusion

Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is an independent charity working alongside disabled and vulnerable people in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster.

Operating in 60 countries, our activities include humanitarian relief, physical rehabilitation and psychological support, explosive ordnance clearance, and risk education for families in conflict zones.

HI is a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize as a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which led to the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty.


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