On Friday 18th November, the Government of Monaco signed the political declaration on the reinforcement of the protection of civilians against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA), during the dedicated Ministerial Conference, which was held in Dublin (Ireland).
Under the impetus of the host country, which is very involved in the issue, 80 countries, including the Principality, endorsed a text which reinforces the protection of civilians in armed conflicts and strengthens International Humanitarian Law.
Monaco is indeed committed to the promotion of International Humanitarian Law as part of its commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms. The signing of this declaration reaffirms this commitment, in the context of increasing urbanization of conflicts, since today 90% of the victims of explosive weapons are found in populated areas. By way of comparison, civilians represented 50% of war victims in 1939-1945, and “only” 15% in 1914-1918.
This text is therefore essential because it places the protection of civilians at the heart of the exchanges in order to ban the use of the most destructive weapons in cities. It also imposes a duty of reparation (assistance to victims, demining and humanitarian access) on States to strengthen the care of victims and survivors.
International organizations also play a role
Finally, it is important to underline the fundamental role of civil society – in particular non-governmental organizations such as Handicap International, the International Committee of the Red Cross and networks of victims and survivors – which has worked to ensure that States take up these issues and adopt this ambitious text.
Civil society should continue to play a central role in the process of monitoring the text, its application and implementation, and the transparency of the measures taken.
It should be noted that the Monegasque Cooperation has been supporting Handicap International’s project to campaign against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas since 2018.