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Council of Delegates 2009: Resolution 7

25-11-2009 Resolution

Preventing humanitarian consequences arising from the development, use and proliferation of certain types of weapons

Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Nairobi, Kenya, 23-25 November 2009

The Council of Delegates,

reiterating its continuing concern about the direct, indirect and long-term effects of weapons use on civilians, in particular during hostilities in urban areas and the use of explosive area weapons in densely populated areas,

alarmed by the widespread and preventable death and injury to civilians caused by the unregulated availability of conventional arms,

recalling Resolutions 1 and 3 of the 28th and 30th International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent respectively, in which States recognized that, in light of their obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law, adequate measures to control the availability of arms and ammunition are required so that they do not end up in the hands of those who may be expected to use them in violation of international humanitarian law, recalling the ICRC’s 2002 “Appeal on Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity”

reminding the political and military authorities and the scientific and medical communities, industry and civil society of potentially dangerous applications of biotechnology and other developments in the life sciences,

gravely concernedby the continuing threat posed by the potential proliferation or use of nuclear weapons and welcoming States’ increased focus on nuclear disarmament on the international agenda,

regretting that only a small number of States have carried out their obligation to ensure the legality of new weapons, means or methods of warfare under international law, despite Final Goal 2.5 of the Agenda for Humanitarian Action adopted during the 28th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which stated that: “In light of the rapid development of weapons technology and in order to protect civilians from the indiscriminate effects of weapons and combatants from unnecessary suffering and prohibited weapons, all new weapons, means and methods of warfare should be subject to rigorous and multidisciplinary review.”

  1. calls upon the components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Movement) to encourage States to pursue a comprehensive approach to reducing the human cost of arms availability, including through national and regional measures, the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, and the adoption and implementation of an international arms trade treaty regulating transfers of all conventional arms and ammunition;
  2. encourages National Societies, to the extent possible in their own contexts, to actively raise public awareness of the human costs of unregulated arms availability and to promote a culture of non-violence;
  3. calls upon States, the scientific and medical communities, industry and civil society to continue to monitor developments in biotechnology and the life sciences and to take all necessary steps to ensure that these benefit humanity and are not used for hostile purposes;
  4. calls upon States to ensure the faithful implementation of relevant treaties related to biological and chemical weapons and to adopt stringent national legislation to ensure that the norms prohibiting biological and chemical warfare are respected;
  5. calls upon States to continue their efforts towards the elimination of nuclear weapons with determination and urgency;
  6. calls upon all components of the Movement to help ensure that decisions of the 31st International Conference contain clear proposals for action to address means and methods of warfare that pose particular hazards to the civilian population;
  7. encourages all components of the Movement to remind States of their obligation to ensure the legality of new weapons, means or methods of warfare under international law;
  8. invites the ICRC, in consultation with the International Federation, to report during future sessions of the Council of Delegates, as it deems necessary, on developments in the areas identified in this resolution.