Protecting Civilians in Urban Warfare:
A Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas
On Friday 17 June in Geneva, Ireland concluded consultations on the final text of the 'Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences Arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas'.
The declaration marks the culmination of almost three years of consultations led by Ireland and chaired by Ambassador Michael Gaffey, involving Member States, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and civil-society organizations, including the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW). The declaration's focus is to address the devastating and long-lasting humanitarian impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
The Final text of the Political Declaration can be found here
The increasing urbanisation of armed conflict raises important concerns. The 2019 Report of the UN Secretary-General on the protection of civilians in armed conflict estimated that over 20,000 civilians were killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2018. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas also causes damage to critical infrastructure, bringing about long-term reverberations in civilian communities. A growing number of States have expressed the need to strengthen compliance with the existing legal framework of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and to enhance protection of civilians in urban warfare. The UN Secretary-General has called on States to develop a political declaration to address the humanitarian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
On the 18 November 2019, an informal consultation on Protecting Civilians in Urban Warfare was held in Geneva, chaired by Ambassador Michael Gaffey, to contribute towards a Political Declaration to address the humanitarian harm arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The consultation heard interventions from delegations including Member States, bodies from across the UN system, the International Committee of the Red Cross and civil society. The consultation initiated an inclusive and transparent process through which the international community can engage in discussions towards a political declaration to promote actions designed to enhance the protection of civilians in populated areas during conflict and reduce humanitarian harm from explosive weapons with wide area effects, through fostering behavioural change, strengthening protection of civilians and enhancing compliance with IHL.
- Please find the first Elements Paper for a Political Declaration, as circulated on the 20 January, here: EWIPA Political Declaration Elements Paper
- Please find a draft of the Political Declaration, as circulated on 17 March 2020, here: Draft Political Declaration.
- Please find a draft of the Political Declaration, as circulated on 29 January 2021, here: Draft Political Declaration REV 1
- Please find a draft of the Political Declaration, as circulated on 03 March 2022, here: Draft EWIPA Political Declaration REV 2
- Please find a draft of the Political Declaration, as circulated on 25 May 2022, here: Draft EWIPA Political Declaration Final Rev
If you have any queries on the consultation process please contact us at GenevaConsultations@dfa.ie
If your Delegation's written submission is not displayed, please follow the instructions in this document.
23 February 2021
18 November 2019
10 February 2020