Peace organisation PAX calls for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. PAX is member of the strategy group of the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW).
Explosive weapons like bombs and missiles have grave humanitarian effects when used in populated areas. Whilst different technical features dictate the precision and explosive effect of explosive weapons, explosive weapons generally create a zone of blast and fragmentation which makes their use particularly problematic. Most victims of explosive weapons are civilians.
In the short-term, explosive weapons kill and injure people during, and immediately after an attack. In the long term, they cause permanent physical disabilities, psychological suffering, loss of socio-economic infrastructure (access to schools, power supply), and often leaving behind unexploded remnants of war, which will prolong the threat these weapons cause.
Explosive weapons include factory-made items like grenades, mortars and rockets as well as home-made bombs (improvised explosive devices aka IEDs). The injuries and other consequences of explosive weapons substantially increase when these weapons are used in populated areas.
PAX thinks there should be greater transparency about the consequences of using explosive weapons and on their impact on the civilian population. States should therefore gather and make available relevant data, and review and strengthen national policies and practices on use of explosive weapons. PAX furthermore calls for stronger international standards on the use of explosive weapons with a wide area effect in populated areas.
Internationally: With INEW, an international coalition of non-governmental organisation, PAX encourages states to be more transparent about their use of explosive weapons and the consequences of this use for civilians in conflict areas. We draw policy makers' attention to reports and articles, distribute research studies and lobby diplomats during international conferences.