The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) has published a more detailed “call” that will provide the basis for the network’s development and subsequent work.  The call was announced on 29th June at a side event to the Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meeting in Geneva.  Also announced was the launch of – the new network website.

The side event was a panel discussion – chaired by INEW Coordinator Thomas Nash and with presentations from his fellow Coordinator Richard Moyes, from Peter Bouckaert (Emergencies Director, Human Rights Watch) and from Henry Dodd (Explosive Violence Researcher, Action on Armed Violence).   The audience was a mixture of government representatives (from both foreign affairs and defence) and NGO representatives from organisations that have worked together in the Cluster Munition Coalition. Governments present included Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Lao PDR, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The ICRC, UN OCHA, UNIDIR and UNMAS also attended, as well as the GICHD.

Moyes introduced the basic humanitarian problem associated with use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Bouckaert spoke from his personal experience working in conflict zones including Chechnya, Sri Lanka and Libya, noting in particular that certain explosive weapons such as mortars, high explosive artillery and multiple launch rocket systems are inappropriate for use in populated areas. Dodd presented the latest data from AOAV’s ongoing explosive violence monitroing project, which collates and analyses news reports involving use of explosive weapons. Australia, Ireland and ICRC contributed to the discussion from the floor.

The INEW call presented during the side event provides a framework for immediate action, both at national and international levels in order to reduce the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons use in populated areas – recognising that both states and non-state actors need to be addressed in such an effort.  A short commentary on this call is available here from the INEW website.

The International Network on Explosive Weapons calls for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
States and other actors should:

  1. Acknowledge that use of explosive weapons in populated areas tends to cause severe harm to individuals and communities and furthers suffering by damaging vital infrastructure;
  2. Strive to avoid such harm and suffering in any situation, review and strengthen national policies and practices on use of explosive weapons and gather and make available relevant data;
  3. Work for full realisation of the rights of victims and survivors;
  4. Develop stronger international standards, including certain prohibitions and restrictions on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

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