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UK endorses “Stop Bombing Civilians” international agreement

Press Release | London, 17th June 2022, 14:00 GMT

The UK government has today joined other States, including the US, in announcing it will endorse the text of the international political declaration on explosive weapons in populated areas, committing to take steps to better protect civilians.

The closing consultation for an international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is taking place today, June 17, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. More than 60 State delegations, as well as representatives of international and civil society organisations are participating in the meeting at which the final version of the international agreement is being presented. This consultation concludes a two-year diplomatic process. The final text will be submitted to States for adoption at a conference to be organised in Dublin in the coming months.

“The UK committing to sign this agreement is huge - the outcome of a decade of campaigning to stop bombing civilians,” says George Graham, Chief Executive of Humanity & Inclusion UK.

More than 250,000 people in the UK have signed Humanity & Inclusion’s petition to Stop Bombing Civilians, calling for this international agreement.

“We know that the UK public is deeply appalled by the bombing of civilians, from Ukraine to Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and beyond. The UK government saying that it is ready to endorse this agreement is welcome news,” adds George Graham.

“This declaration is the starting point for a series of meaningful changes to better protect civilians. Humanity & Inclusion will continue working with States, including the UK, to ensure that today’s agreement will effectively improve the protection of civilians living in conflict areas.”

90% of the people killed and injured by explosive weapons in populated areas are civilians. The massive and repeated use of explosive weapons in towns and cities is one of the main causes of long-term humanitarian crises, and civilians are the principal victims.

“Almost all the casualties of bombing in urban areas are ordinary people who were never involved in the fighting. It is an unacceptable evolution of modern conflict that civilians are now by far the main victims. Today, weapons such as 500kg bombs, designed for use in open battlefields and with an impact radius of several hundred metres, are dropped from planes on crowded cities. Such weapons show no mercy for civilians.”

“Let’s be clear: the most destructive weapons should not be used in cities and towns. The international agreement against urban bombing being finalised today is a major step towards better protection of civilians in armed conflicts,” says George Graham, Chief Executive of Humanity & Inclusion UK.


Notes

Interviews available upon request with George Graham, CEO of Humanity & Inclusion UK, and other Humanity & Inclusion experts on the impact of explosive weapons in populated areas.

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