More than 80 countries have endorsed a political declaration that aims to reduce the harm to civilians caused by attacking towns and cities with explosive weapons.
The text of the Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians From the Humanitarian Consequences Arising From the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas was finalized in Geneva in June under the leadership of Ireland and adopted at a ceremony in Dublin on Nov. 18.
Irish officials confirmed that 82 countries endorsed the declaration, including the United States and 23 other NATO members. The declaration recognizes the devastating harm to civilians from bombing and shelling in towns and cities and commits signatory states to take action to address harm to civilians. (See ACT, July/August and November 2022.)
Speaking on behalf of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Izumi Nakamitsu, UN high representative for disarmament affairs, said, “This political declaration marks a milestone in collective efforts to better protect civilians.” The secretary-general’s message also stated, “Parties to conflict and states must avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and work to remove conflict from urban areas altogether.”—JEFF ABRAMSON