Parliamentarians have a vital role to play in enhancing the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
The appeal is coordinated by the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), an international NGO partnership calling for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
As members of INEW, Norwegian People’s Aid support the appeal. It draws on the repeated calls of the UN Secretary-General to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, and for states to start discussions on a political response to address this harm by urgently developing an international political declaration.
International Parliamentary Appeal to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas
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, the undersigned parliamentarians, express our deep concern at the grave harm civilians are suffering from bombing and shelling in towns and cities.
Tens of thousands of women, men and children are killed, injured and traumatised each year by the use of explosive weapons in the neighbourhoods where they live and work: when explosive weapons are used in populated areas, around 90% of those directly killed or injured are civilians. Record numbers of people are displaced, fleeing in search of safety.
Vital power, water and sanitation infrastructure is destroyed, shutting down essential services including health care and education. Schools and hospitals are damaged or destroyed, food supplies disrupted, communities and areas contaminated with unexploded ordnance are rendered unsafe, and homes uninhabitable.
We call upon governments to urgently develop, adopt and implement an international commitment to address this clear and documented pattern of harm by stopping the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas and assisting affected people and communities.
See INEWs webpage for more background info and how to sign the appeal.