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Say no to the bombing of civilians

Explosive weapons

On 4th October, Handicap International took part in the expert meeting on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The ultimate aim being to obtain a strong political statement to bring an end to the bombing of civilians.

An unexploded bomb in the city of Kobane in the north of Syria

Ph. Houliat / Handicap International

Last Tuesday, around twenty States took part in a meeting of a group of experts, set up a year ago by Austria in order to draw up a political statement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

This group is expanding, a positive sign which shows that a growing number of States recognise the problem posed by the bombing civilians and support the intention to mobilise the international community on this subject. The impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is devastating. In 2015, 92% of the victims of explosive weapons used in cities and villages were civilians. The city of Aleppo in Syria, which has been subjected to particularly intense bombing raids over the last two weeks, demonstrates the horror experienced by civilians. 

Handicap International brought to the table its expertise in the serious injuries caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and in the needs of victims. The organisation defended its position that in their political statement States should make a public commitment to ending this practice, acknowledge the suffering of the affected populations, and make a commitment to assisting the victims.

As conflicts multiply and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas during these conflicts becomes almost systematic, finding political solutions is an urgent priority.

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A frightening increase in the number of victims of explosive weapons
(c) E. Fourt/HI

A frightening increase in the number of victims of explosive weapons

On the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness, HI is alarmed by the frightening increase in the number of civilian victims of explosive weapons : 32,008 civilians were killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2016 (out of a total of 45,624 victims), according to Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). The toll looks even heavier for 2017, as civilians account for 90% of the victims of explosive weapons when they are used in populated areas. Landmine Monitor has recorded a dramatic increase in casualties of mine and explosive remnants over the past three years. Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen are among the main countries affected.

7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict: After the death of partner organisation’s employee, HI condemns continuous bombings
© AFP PHOTO / AMER ALMOHIBANY

7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict: After the death of partner organisation’s employee, HI condemns continuous bombings

A staff member from a Syrian organisation that Humanity and Inclusion (HI) partners with was killed yesterday. Mustafa, his wife and their two children – both under the age of 8 years old – were killed by shelling in Hamouriyeh, Eastern Ghouta. As today marks the 7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict, HI condemns once again bombing and shelling of populated areas and calls on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians.

Completion of demining operations
©B.Blondel/HI

Completion of demining operations

HI has completed its demining operations in the Tshopo, Ituri, Bas-Uele and Haut-Uele provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), launched in January 2016. Over a two-year period, HI and its local partner, AFRILAM (Africa for Anti-Mine Action) cleared 34,520 m2 of land of mines, the equivalent of 5 football pitches, benefiting the 5,600 inhabitants in the region.