Armed conflicts are increasingly conducted among civilian populations and with weapon systems designed for open battlefields, presenting serious challenges to the protection of civilians in armed conflicts today.
We are civilians!
Bombing and shelling in towns and cities has a devastating impact on civilians: when explosive weapons are used in populated areas, approximately 91% of those reported killed and injured are likely to be civilians. The local population are also affected as a result of damage to essential infrastructure and services such as hospitals, schools, water and sanitation systems.
An urgent humanitarian policy concern
This pattern of harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas has, as experienced in Afghanistan, Cote d’Ivoire, Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen over the past decade, has become a central and urgent humanitarian policy concern.
Ongoing human suffering has highlighted the need for action at all levels – from the operational to the international – to better protect civilian populations from the deadly and destructive effects of explosive weapons. The UN and ICRC have long maintained their calls to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, with the UN Secretary-General repeatedly reiterating his call on states to engage constructively in efforts to develop an international political declaration.
MPs in the UK and around the world have a vital role to play
Parliamentarians now have a vital role to play in enhancing the protection of civilians in armed conflict by supporting efforts internationally and nationally to stop the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas. As a member of INEW Humanity & Inclusion is urging MPs to endorse the International Parliamentary Appeal which calls on states to develop an international political declaration to stop the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas and to assist affected people and communities.
The full text of the appeal and suggested actions can be found here.
Stop Bombing Civilians
In 2018 Humanity & Inclusion UK wrote to all 650 MPs in the UK Parliament. The initiative saw several meetings with MPs and two written parliamentary questions sent to the Ministry of Defence. HI UK supporters, amongst them individuals, faith groups and local community groups) also wrote to their MP. Humanity & Inclusion is supporting the International Parliamentary Appeal as part of the global Stop Bombing Civilians campaign. Around the world nearly half a million people have signed the Stop Bombing Civilians petition and over 150,000 signatories are UK citizens.
You can join the campaign to protect civilians by: