Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas

Explosive weapons operate through the detonation of a high explosive substance that creates blast and fragmentation effects. They encompass a range of air-dropped and surface-launched weapons, such as aircraft bombs, artillery projectiles, rockets, and missiles. Every year, their use in populated areas causes tens of thousands of casualties, most of whom are civilians. The damage they inflict on homes and infrastructure can lead to displacement and adversely affect health care, education, and other services. Explosive weapons are particularly dangerous when they are used in populated areas and when they have wide area effects due to a large blast radius, an inaccurate delivery mechanism, or the delivery of multiple munitions.

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Credit: Bonnie Docherty, 2016

The International Network on Explosive Weapons, which was formed in 2011, calls on countries to commit to ending the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas and to meet the needs of survivors. In 2015, Austria convened like-minded countries to discuss this issue, and a core group of countries has been working towards a political commitment on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas since then.