Protecting civilians in armed conflicts: Monaco signs Dublin Declaration
On Friday 18 November, the Prince’s Government signed the political declaration on strengthening the protection of civilians from the humanitarian consequences arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) at a ministerial conference devoted to this issue in Dublin (Ireland).
At the behest of the host country, which is firmly committed to this issue, 80 countries, including the Principality, have now ratified a text that strengthens protection for civilians in armed conflicts and reinforces international humanitarian law.
Monaco is committed to promoting international humanitarian law as part of its mobilisation in support of human rights and basic freedoms. The signature of this declaration reaffirms this commitment, in a context where conflicts are becoming increasingly urbanised: today, 90% of the victims of explosive weapons are in populated areas. For comparison, civilians made up 50% of the victims of war in 1939–1945, and “just” 15% in 1914–1918.
This is therefore a vital text, as it places the protection of civilians at the heart of discussions on banning the use of the most destructive weapons in cities. It also imposes on States a duty of reparation (assistance to victims, demining and humanitarian access), to strengthen the care offered to victims and survivors.
Finally, it is worth emphasising the key role played by civil society – including non-governmental organisations such as Handicap International and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as victim and survivor networks – which has worked to ensure an understanding of these issues on the part of States and adoption of this ambitious text. Civil society should continue to play a critical role in the process of following up on the declaration and its implementation, and in seeking transparency regarding the measures taken.
Since 2018, Monaco’s Official Development Assistance has supported the Handicap International campaign to prevent the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (more information on this project is available here ).