Last month a small group of NGOs met in Geneva and agreed to work together to develop the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW).  INEW calls for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

The use of explosive weapons in populated areas tends to cause severe harm to individuals and communities and increases long term suffering by damaging vital infrastructure.  INEW is developing a civil society partnership which will work to mitigate and prevent this suffering.

The founding organisations of INEW were Action on Armed Violence, Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, IKV Pax Christi, Medact, Norwegian People’s Aid, Oxfam and Save the Children UK.  A number of other individuals and organisations were also involved.

Thomas Nash and Richard Moyes will work together, part-time, to coordinate INEW’s development and work (tnash@inew.org and rmoyes@inew.org).

The network is not fully formed – we don’t have a detailed call, a website or a membership!  During 2011 we will formally invite organisations to become partners in this work, and we hope INEW will be a strong and growing civil society partnership by the end of the year.

In the meantime, however, a debate in the UN Security Council next Tuesday (10th May) offers an opportunity to call on states to recognise the use of explosive weapons in populated areas as a humanitarian issue that must be addressed. Attached is a one-sided briefing paper we are circulating to States and international organisations ahead of that debate, urging them to raise this.  The paper also contains links to some background documents.

If your organisation is interested in supporting this network and could forward this to their government representatives ahead of the debate this would be very helpful – please let us know if you do.  This issue has been raised in previous debates on Protection of Civilians but it may be picked up rather less this time due to a likely focus on political-level concerns about how “protection of civilians” is being understood in Libya.  Any help in keeping it on the agenda greatly appreciated!

We will be in contact later in the year about how NGOs can start to make INEW a real international network. However please do not hesitate to write to Richard or Thomas if you would like more information meanwhile.

All best wishes,

Richard Moyes and Thomas Nash

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