Protecting civilians in urban warfare

Alexander Schallenberg: Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs.

Vienna (KDN) – International Conference on Protecting Civilians in Urban Warfare kicks off in Vienna. The conference is organised by Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and attended by more than 100 states and NGOs. The conference focuses on #EWIPA related harms as a result of urban warfare.

According to UK-based Action On Armed Violence – AOAV, which has been gathering data on the impact of EWIPA; the use of explosive weapons typically results in harm to civilians, who make up 75 percent of the total casualties recorded from this violence. The AOAV’s data also shows that over 22,000 explosive violence incidents reported from 119 countries between 2010 and to the present day, caused over 300,000 casualties.

In his opening speech at the conference Protecting Civilians In Urban Warfare, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg said that; “It is unacceptable that over 90% of victims in armed conflicts are civilians. The int. community must reaffirm its commitment to respect and enforce international humanitarian law.”

Under-Secretary- General of the United Nations and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu on the direct civilian harm caused by EWIPA: “The humanitarian impact has been devastating. We have seen patterns of harm repeat itself in far too many situations.”

The Vice President of ICRC Gilles Carbonnier also called on states & parties to conflict to avoid the use of wide-impact explosive weapons in populated areas: As we witness the heavy humanitarian toll & the effects of EWIPA at first hand, we believe the use of these weapons needs to be abolished.

The conference will continue with presentations of experts and government officials on the topic under discussion and will end with final remarks on October 2.