When explosive weapons are used in populated areas, 9 in 10 people killed or injured are civilians. Children are affected more than most. 

In recent years, conflict in built-up areas where large numbers of people live has increased. Because there are so many people within these areas, civilians are at serious risk of harm when explosive weapons are used - particularly if the weapon has a large blast radius, multiple explosive parts, or a high level of inaccuracy. 

Not only do these weapons damage people's homes, but they also devastate communities - destroying infrastructure and cutting off vital resources. Neighbourhoods in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine and many other places are now littered with dangerous unexploded ordnance. People are forced to flee their homes into other potentially dangerous areas, and cannot return safely to their communities. 

In 10 years, communities will still be living with the dangerous reminder of a war they just want to leave in the past. The cost of making these places safe will run into billions of dollars. 

Hear from three people who know the devastating consequences that the use of explosive weapons in populated areas has.

In 2019, Ireland proposed a new Political Declaration to take stronger action on the humanitarian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. 

The Political Declaration was finalised in June 2022 and will open for states to sign in November 2022. States who sign will be committing to limit the use of explosive weapons in towns, cities and other populated areas, and take steps to address the harm caused to civilians. Many states, including the UK, have announced their intention to sign the Declaration. We urge all other states to join and commit to signing.

A signing ceremony will be hosted by the Irish Government in Dublin on 18 November 2022, and we plan to attend. During the ceremony, states will have the opportunity to officially sign the Political Declaration. This will be an important step towards strengthening the protection of civilians in conflict and reducing the humanitarian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. 

We urge all states to commit to signing the Political Declaration on explosive weapons in populated areas. 

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