Netherlands signs declaration against use of explosive weapons
The Netherlands will sign a declaration in Ireland on Friday not to use explosive weapons in densely populated areas or to exercise restraint in using them. With this, the Netherlands promises to protect civilians in conflict areas as much as possible against bombardment. More than 70 other countries will also sign the declaration in Dublin.
Peace organization PAX sees the signing as a milestone because it recognizes civilians suffering from explosive weapons for the first time. The organization worked on the declaration together with Ireland, the initiator. According to the peace organization, weapons like bombs and grenades are extremely dangerous because they cause many victims in one fell swoop. “This often happens because they cause a heavy explosion or because the weapons are not precise, so you don’t know where they will fall,” said Roos Boer of PAX.
According to PAX, civilians are deliberately targeted in attacks in conflict areas like Ukraine, Syria, and the Gaza Strip, violating international law of war. Nine out of ten victims of bombings are civilians, the peace organization said. The attacks also greatly impact essential facilities like electricity networks, hospitals, and roads. As a result, the consequences for the local population are felt for years.
The peace organization hopes that the Netherlands and the other countries will devise concrete proposals to protect civilians against such attacks. PAX also hopes that the nations will incorporate the declaration into their policies. “The fact that so many countries recognize the problems of explosive weapons and sign the declaration gives us hope, but it is only the beginning of change for civilians in conflict zones,” said Boer.
In addition to promising not to use explosive weapons in populated areas during conflict, the countries will share information about the consequences of such attacks. The United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Turkey are also among the signatories. The Dutch ambassador to Dublin, Adriaan Palm, will sign on behalf of the Netherlands.
Reporting by ANP