Enhancing civilian protection from use of explosive weapons in populated areas: building a policy and research agenda

Every day, and in a range of contexts, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas harms civilians. Evidence is growing that elevated levels of civilian harm fit a recurrent pattern, suggesting that more coherent and effective humanitarian responses are needed to enhance civilian protection, especially changes in behaviour of users of explosive weapons. This article describes the effects of explosive violence, critically examines how the existing humanitarian law regime tends to address this issue and explores some current developments in building a research and policy agenda to try to reduce civilian harm from the use of explosive weapons.

About the authors

John Borrie
Senior Fellow

John Borrie is a Senior Fellow at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and led its project on ‘Discourse on Explosive Weapons’.

Maya Brehm

Maya Brehm manages UNIDIR’s ‘Norms on Explosive Weapons’ project.