World

100 Incidents of Humanitarian Harm. Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas. 2009 - 2010

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Introduction

From air-dropped bombs, rockets, and missiles to improvised explosive devices and grenades, explosive weapons share a particular capacity to cause humanitarian harm.

When used in populated areas, the impact can be devastating, causing large numbers of direct deaths and severe injuries, displacement, and long-term psychological, social, economic, and infrastructure damage. These impacts can be more severe where heavy explosive weapons are used or where use is sustained over time. When used in populated areas, the effects of explosive weapons tend to be indiscriminate – harming civilian men and women, children and the elderly, as well as any combatants.

However, because of their widespread use by both state and nonstate actors, the use of explosive weapons, even in populated areas such as cities, towns, and villages is sometimes viewed as an inevitable part of conflict. The indiscriminate nature of the damage caused by explosive weapons used in populated areas can make their effects seem random – unfortunate, but unpredictable.
This report argues that, broadly, the severe humanitarian harm caused by explosive weapons incidents in populated areas can be predicted. This harm can therefore be reduced, mitigated, or in many instances, avoided altogether.

To read the full report, click here