At the World Humanitarian Summit, to be held in Istanbul this May 23-4, states, NGOs and other stakeholders can make commitments to action to advance the agenda of the Summit. With the use of explosive weapons in populated areas highlighted as a key humanitarian problem by the UN Secretary-General and in the Summit’s draft core commitments, the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), which is coordinated by Article 36, and its member organisations submitted the following commitments to activity:

International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) Commitments for the World Humanitarian Summit 

To be submitted under the Core Commitments (specifically 2, 3 and 4) for the High-Level Leaders’ Roundtable: Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity: 

Core Commitment 2: Commit to promote and enhance the protection of civilians and civilian objects, especially in the conduct of hostilities, for instance by working to prevent civilian harm resulting from the use of wide-area explosive weapons in populated areas, and by sparing civilian infrastructure from military use in the conduct of military operations.

Commitment type (financial, policy, operational, other): policy

If this is a joint commitment, please list all partners on behalf of whom you are committing:

The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) is an NGO partnership calling for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Commitment Description (Please make specific, measurable and time-bound)

  • INEW member organisations will continue to collect data and document the humanitarian harm resulting from the use of wide-area explosive weapons in populated areas, particularly on civilians, and will publish a range of reports and papers on this theme throughout 2016, and beyond.
  • INEW will advocate at the national, regional, and international levels on this issue, raising awareness of the harm caused from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and need for a political declaration to prevent such harm and in particular to end the use of explosive weapons with wide area effect in populated areas, through outreach to government representatives, parliamentarians and media. International outreach will take place annually in a variety of forums, including at the UN General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament and International Security and around the UN Security Council’s open debates on the protection of civilians and children and armed conflict. National outreach will be carried out through capital level advocacy missions by INEW member organisations.
  • INEW will deliver public statements on the civilian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in international forums such as: the UN General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament and International Security (annually), and side events at related disarmament meetings (for example meetings on the Convention on Cluster Munitions and/or the Mine Ban Treaty), and convene states on the margins of relevant international forums to hold briefings on this theme.
  • INEW will hold bilateral meetings with states on the issue of the use of explosive weapons with wide area impacts and the need for a political declaration to address this harm.
  • INEW will grow its membership of civil society organisations through outreach to organisations in target countries, such as those impacted by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and to those working on key related issue areas such as displacement, human rights, and development organisations.
  • INEW will continue to engage with other stakeholders in the work towards a political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. This includes with UN agencies in particular OCHA, UNDP, UNICEF, and UNHCR, and specifically through follow-up on the joint INEW/OCHA joint letter to fourteen humanitarian leaders.
  • In 2016 INEW organisations will develop strategic thematic partnerships to increase awareness on the impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, for example with organisations specialised on the issue of displacement, in order to increase understanding and acknowledgement of this practice as a key driver of displacement.
  • INEW organisations will continue to develop public policy, advocacy and research reports and briefings on the issue of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Similar examples of this so far are:

o   Action On Armed Violence (AOAV) – Continuing explosive weapons in populated areas monitoring work; producing papers on the reverberating effects of explosive weapons in countries most affected by such use; mapping global counter-IED efforts; and analysing the drivers behind non state actor’s use of explosive weapons.

o   Article 36 – publishing policy papers on the impact of the use of explosive weapons on the built environment, on psycho-social wellbeing, on the use of explosive weapons as a driver of displacement, on explosive weapons with wide-area effects, and on how the use of explosive weapons is a conflict-warning indicator.

o   Handicap International (HI) – documenting the use of explosive weapons in Syria, and engaging survivors in a political process to develop a declaration to prevent such harm, including by producing recommendations on victim assistance provision.

o   Human Rights Watch (HRW) – documenting the use of explosive weapons and eye-witness testimonies in recent crises such as in Ukraine, Syria and Yemen.

o   Oxfam – continue to enable refugees from conflict to speak out on their experiences of explosive weapons use, and continue to seek an end of the transfer of explosive weapons to those who use them to consistently breach IHL. Oxfam will also continue to provide humanitarian relief for those affected by the use of explosive weapons, amongst others.

o   PAX – documenting the impact of explosive weapons on civilians in Ukraine through testimony gathering and photography.

o   Save the Children – “Nowhere Safe for Yemen’s Children” and “Explosive Weapons and Grave Violations Against Children”

o   Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – providing analysis on the impact of explosive weapons on women and on the connections between the use of explosive weapons and the international arms trade.

  • INEW will provide policy and advocacy recommendations in response to ongoing crises resulting from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, including through press releases, situation reports, and national and international media work.
  • INEW will provide expertise and brief states through presentations at key forums on the humanitarian harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, such as expert meetings on the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons.
  • INEW will do proactive advocacy outreach in advance of key international policy forums which provide opportunities for states to publically raise concern over the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. This includes continuing to draft and disseminate briefing notes in advance of Protection of Civilians debates and Children and Armed Conflict debates each year (for example in advance of the Children and Armed Conflict debate set to take place in August 2016).
  • INEW will develop policy and advocacy tools available for member organisations, other civil society organisations, and other partners to use to influence stakeholders towards the development of a political declaration.

Commitment type (financial, policy, operational, other): operational

  • Humanitarian organisations within INEW will continue to respond to the humanitarian needs of communities affected by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, for example through food, shelter, child protection, water, sanitation and health, psychological interventions/assistance, education to the risks posed by explosive remnants of war, clearance and victim assistance.

Core Commitment 3: Commit to ensure all populations in need receive rapid and unimpeded humanitarian assistance.

Commitment type (financial, policy, operational, other): operational

If this is a joint commitment, please list all partners on behalf of whom you are committing:

The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) is an NGO partnership calling for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

This Commitment is on behalf of INEW’s humanitarian organisations.

Commitment Description (Please make specific, measurable and time-bound)

  • INEW humanitarian organisations will continue to work to respond to the needs of populations affected by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas through food, shelter, child protection, water, sanitation and health, psychological interventions, education to the risks posed by explosive remnants of war, clearance and victim assistance. Through this response, INEW organisations will document the harm caused by this practice and bring that evidence to the work towards a political declaration.

Core commitment 4: Commit to promote and enhance efforts to respect and protect medical personnel, transports and facilities, as well as humanitarian relief personnel and assets against attacks, threats or other violent acts.

Commitment type (financial, policy, operational, other): policy

If this is a joint commitment, please list all partners on behalf of whom you are committing:

The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) is an NGO partnership calling for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Commitment Description (Please make specific, measurable and time-bound)

  • INEW organisations will highlight the harm caused to medical personnel, transports and facilities, and humanitarian relief personnel and assets through policy reports, advocacy calls and recommendations, and in public statements throughout 2016 and 2017.

 

Read more

Uphold the norms that safeguard humanity: INEW briefing paper for the World Humanitarian Summit

Explosive weapons in populated areas: an urgent humanitarian issue

 

Posted in: Explosive weapons, Protection of civilians,