When war takes place in cities, ensuring respect for IHL, the protection of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian assistance raises complex challenges.
IHL imposes limits on the choice of means and methods of warfare and prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure against unnecessary and unacceptable harm and destruction. Nonetheless, towns, cities and other populated areas in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine - among many other countries face devastating humanitarian consequences, notably due to the impact of the use of explosive weapons. The damage caused to critical infrastructure often leads to the disruption of essential service provision and put people’s lives at risk, notably due to unexploded ordnance. Direct, indirect, and reverberating effects can be experienced for days, weeks and years after hostilities end.
This humanitarian talk will focus on better understanding the humanitarian consequences and the IHL issues arising from the increasing urbanization of conflict, while discussing pragmatic ways to address these challenges.