Gutted buildings, haggard faces bleeding, children without a future… It’s an evil to which we have become accustomed, spectators of recent wars, from Idlib to Mosul or more recently Mariupol and kyiv: civilians are the greatest victims (90%) armed forces, regular or terrorist, in place. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas (explosive weapons in populated areas, EWIPA) has become commonplace in modern conflicts. And when they do not kill, these weapons leave lifelong wounds and deprive populations of any return to normal. We have witnessed these consequences in Iraq, a country scarred by forty years of war.
But this situation is not irreversible. Women and men try every day to change the situation in the field and with the major decision-makers of this world. The fights for the prohibition of anti-personnel mines, twenty-five years ago with the Ottawa treaty, then of Oslo, in 2008, against cluster munitions, are striking proof of this: citizen mobilization, combined with a political fight where every word counts, makes the difference.
On November 18, Handicap International, the UN and their partners will sign a political declaration in Dublin on the prohibition of these weapons. Words against the bombs? Yes, but a text that provides a framework and hope that states will finally stop playing with the lives of civilians.