Explosive weapons and the protection of civilians

On 12 February 2013, the UN Security Council will hold a debate on the protection of civilians. WILPF is working to ensure that explosives weapons are one of the items considered during the debate.

The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) notes that it has been estimated that 84 percent of casualties from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas are civilians, while Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) estimates that at least 25,000 civilians were reported killed and injured from explosive weapon use in 2012. For more information and advocacy materials, see INEW’s briefing paper for the February protection of civilians debate.

INEW, of which WILPF is a member, calls on states to:

• Acknowledge that the use of explosive weapons in populated areas frequently causes unacceptably high levels of harm to civilians and communities, and furthers suffering by damaging vital infrastructure;
• Undertake further work on this issue—including focused discussions to develop responses that will improve civilian protection; and
• Recognise the need to end the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.

WILPF further calls on states to consider the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in a much broader context of armed violence and war. In 1915, the women who formed WILPF came together to stop a world war. Since then, the organisation has worked to end war, not to simply make war safer for civilians. Advocating universal disarmament, WILPF urges all countries to reduce and eliminate the manufacture and use of arms and munitions of war; to eliminate nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction; and to control, reduce, and eliminate the international arms trade.