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Interior of an apartment on Syria Street, Tripoli, Lebanon
© Lorenzo Meloni/Magnum Photos
Political progress on explosive weapons - what to expect in 2021
As with so many other issues, the COVID-19 pandemic saw the delay of efforts to finalise a political declaration to address the harms arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. 

Now, as a new year begins, the process is again picking up pace. Ireland has announced its intention to circulate a new draft by mid-January that takes into account the submissions received as part of the written consultation and the bilateral feedback they have received throughout 2020. Following the circulation of the draft, Ireland, who remain committed to a transparent and inclusive process, will schedule an open and informal exchange of views on the draft in the early Spring, most likely in a fully online or hybrid format. A final consultation to conclude negotiation of the text is envisaged for late Spring or early Summer, in the hope that the public health situation may by then allow a fully in-person meeting, or a hybrid format.
Publications on explosive weapons use
INEW member Human Rights Watch issued two reports on the September - November conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. The two reports - "Azerbaijan: Unlawful Strikes in Nagorno-Karabakh" and "Armenia: Unlawful Rocket, Missile Strikes on Azerbaijan" - detail instances of apparent indiscriminate attacks including those using explosive weapons. The reports detail strikes on residential areas and critical civilian infrastructure that has short and long-term effects for civilians.

Action on Armed Violence followed up their series of reports published in 2020 examining some of the lasting impacts on children of explosive weapons use with an article focussed specifically on the impact of explosive violence on a child’s access to healthcare. Explosive weapons destroy the human and material infrastructure of healthcare systems, preventing children from accessing timely treatment. Repeated studies have shown that children are more likely to die from blast injuries than adults.

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