Explosive weapons in populated areas

Armed conflicts are increasingly taking place in urban and other populated areas, often with weapons designed to deliver large explosive force from afar and over large areas. When used in populated areas, explosive weapons with a wide impact area are very likely to have indiscriminate effects. They are a major cause of harm to civilians and disruption to services essential for their survival. This factsheet provides an overview of: what are the weapons of concern and who uses them; the notion of populated area; the humanitarian consequences of the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas; the relevant rules of international humanitarian law; whether there is a need for new rules to regulate the use of explosive weapons in populated areas; the position of the ICRC and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; the Political Declaration on explosive weapons in populated areas.