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1 Maya Brehm & John Borrie, Addressing Civilian Harm from Explosive Weapons Use in Populated Areas: Activities Underway 1 (2010)

handle is hein.unl/unaaed0001 and id is 1 raw text is: Addressing Civilian Harm from Explosive
Weapons Use in Populated Areas
Activities Underway
November 2010
Background Paper N23 of the Discourse on Explosive Weapons (DEW) project
by Maya Brehm and John Borrie
A number of actors work at the international level to reduce civilian harm from the
use of bombs, mines or artillery shells in the vicinity of civilians. This paper aims to
map such efforts.' It is based on publicly available information and responses to a
questionnaire that the Discourse on Explosive Weapons (DEW) project sent out to
interested organizations and individuals.2
A growing number of actors have begun to look at humanitarian and development
concerns through the prism of explosive violence. All but two out of twenty
questionnaire respondents answered positivelyto the question Does your institution
consider that the 'use of explosive weapons in populated areas' constitutes a
serious humanitarian problem that needs to be addressed?.' Section I of this paper
discusses efforts undertaken to date by civil society, academics, UN actors, the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and states that seek to address the
pattern of civilian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
Section II provides an overview of work in effect dealing with different aspects of
harmful impacts of explosive weapons on civilians, although this work may not be
set explicitly within an explosive violence framework.
This survey is not exhaustive, and does not purport to provide a comprehensive
overview of the work of the actors mentioned.
Explosive weapons work carried out to date
Civil society and academia: research, policy development and
agenda setting
In a report published in late 2009,4 the British non-governmental organization
(NGO) Action on Armed Violence (AOAV, formerly Landmine Action) presented
data from a study that it had conducted with the global health charity, Medact,
of global explosive weapons incidents. The report presented explosive weapons
as a conceptual and technological category, identified a distinct pattern of civilian
harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, raised critical questions
about the acceptability of such use, and made a number of policy recommendations
to address the humanitarian impacts of explosive violence. AOAV promotes policy
debate on this issue in various international fora, including in the framework of
the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and discussions on armed
violence reduction and development, and continues to carry out research into the
impacts of explosive violence.6
Other non-governmental actors are undertaking work to increase knowledge on
how explosive violence affects particularly vulnerable groups. Concerned about
children being killed or injured by explosive weapons, or dying because of damage


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