World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

ICRC Alarmed Over Unacceptable Use of Explosive Weapons

ICRC Alarmed Over Unacceptable Use of Explosive Weapons in Urban Areas

Geneva (ICRC) – Ahead of its address to the United Nations General Assembly First Committee in New York this week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is renewing its call on parties to armed conflicts not to use explosive weapons that have a wide impact area in densely populated areas – because of their devastating consequences for civilians.

In recent and ongoing hostilities, artillery, mortars, air-delivered general purpose bombs, rockets and multiple launch rocket systems, among other explosive weapons, have taken a terrible toll on civilians, causing death, injury, disability and trauma. The use of such weapons in populated areas – where there is a strong likelihood of indiscriminate effects due to their imprecision or large blast and fragmentation range – is unacceptable.

"Ultimately, civilians in Syria, Gaza, Israel, Afghanistan, Libya, eastern Ukraine and other conflict hotspots pay the price when the shells aimed at military targets end up hitting homes, hospitals and schools,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer. “This simply has to stop.”

“These explosive weapons are designed for open battlefields, not built-up urban areas. From the evidence of recent conflicts, we seriously question whether they can be used to target military objectives in populated areas with enough accuracy, or indeed whether their effects can be limited as required by international humanitarian law,” he added. “This is not about the weapons themselves – it’s about where and how they are used.”

Civilian casualties and damaged or destroyed buildings are the most visible effects of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. But less visible damage, to vital water and electrical supply systems for example, can have an equally harmful impact on health care at times when hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties, and more generally hamper people’s ability to survive.

Warfare in urban settings presents challenges that need addressing. All parties to armed conflicts must take steps to protect civilians from the effects of hostilities. Operating from within urban areas places civilians at risk. Nonetheless, attacking forces must take constant care to minimize the impact of their operations on civilians, including through their choice of means and methods of warfare. Alternative weapons and tactics should be considered.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>