Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Guardian reported, Human rights campaigners urge world leaders to agree to restrict use of bombs in built-up areas
Civilians accounted for 91% of those killed or injured by explosive weapons in populated areas worldwide over the last 10 years – a total of 238,892 people – according to a study of thousands of incidents.
The stark statistic – encompassing both state and terrorist violence – has prompted the report’s authors to call on governments to agree to an international ban on the use of explosive weapons in built-up areas, which is now in draft form.
Iain Overton, the executive director of Action on Armed Violence, which compiled the study, said the evidence obtained was unequivocal in showing the harm to civilians from missiles and bombs designed to be used against military targets.
“When explosive weapons are used in towns and cities, civilians will be harmed,” the researcher said, a conclusion that he said was “as true as it is today in Gaza as it was a decade ago in Iraq and beyond.”
The study was based on the monitoring of 29,000 incidents from 123 countries as recorded by English-language media. The worst single atrocity recorded was the detonation of a truck bomb in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, carried out by the al-Shabaab terror group, which killed or injured 828 people in October 2017. More than 500 of the victims died.
Ireland is leading international efforts to create an international political declaration aimed at “restricting the use of explosive weapons” with “wide area effects” in populated areas, and drafted a document in January that has won the support of Belgium and will be considered at a UN meeting in Geneva later this year.
Laura Boillot, the coordinator of the International Network on Explosive Weapons, a charity that campaigns against their indiscriminate use, said the latest conflict highlighted the need for an international agreement.
“This pattern of civilian harm is unacceptable and must stop or else we risk another decade of civilian suffering and devastation. The negotiation of the political declaration is an opportunity to set new standards,” she added.