During the UNSC debate on the Protection of Civilians this past May, the Government of Austria announced that it will host a multilateral conference on the protection of civilians from explosive weapons
in urban contexts.
In that war-torn country, explosive weapons
are also the cause of death in 84 percent of child conflict fatalities compared to 56 percent of civilian adult deaths.
The explosive weapons
raising concerns when used in populated areas are those having wide-area effects.
He says representatives expressed concern that explosive weapons
used in populated areas lead to deaths, injuries and traumas as well as destruction of infrastructure and critical services, while creating forced displacement.
Iain Overton, executive director of AOAV, said that since his organisation was established in 2011, they have found that when explosive weapons
are used in towns and cities, 92 per cent of those killed or injured will be civilians.
Consequent to the indiscriminate use of force and explosives in cities, the flow of Syrian refugees has caused some to call for a complete ban on the use of explosive weapons
in cities or urban areas.
UXOs are classified as explosive weapons
and include bombs, bullets, shells, grenades and land mines that did not explode when they were deployed and therefore still pose a risk of detonation, potentially many decades after they were used or discarded.
It highlights once again the disproportionate risk for civilians when explosive weapons
are used in urban areas, said O'Brien, also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
O'Brien told the 15-member body that over the past ten-days, indiscriminate attacks and the use of explosive weapons
in populated areas by Government forces and its allies, by non-State armed opposition groups, and by listed terrorist groups have "intensified affecting mostly innocent civilians." "We are dismayed that the Government of Syria did not approve our request for a cross-line inter-agency convoy to eastern Aleppo city in May," he added.
Roger Mullin, chairman of the House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Group on Explosive Weapons
, said: "The demonstration event is designed to bring home to my political colleagues some of the horror that explosive weapons
cause to innocent people and to those whose job it is to deal with the weapons and the aftermath of their use.
"If the fighting persists near schools, playgrounds, homes and clinics, and parties continue to use explosive weapons
in those areas - particularly mortars and IED tactics, these appalling numbers of children killed and maimed will continue." she noted.
"The Houthis should stop firing heavy explosive weapons
into populated areas of the city," he added.