Letter to Representatives: What are you doing to reverse the increased use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas?

UAI is sharing this generic text to facilitate advocacy with political representatives on the surge in civilian casualties given the increased use of ever more lethal Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA).

To: Your National-level representatives (i.e. parliamentarians)

Subject: What are you doing to reverse the increased use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas?


The unrelenting bombing of Gaza, the ferocious attack of Hamas on 7 October that triggered the latest round of unrestrained warfare, and the structural violence of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are a shocking indictment of contemporary politics, national and global. The ever-growing civilian casualty count and daily toll of images speak for themselves. So does the growing frustration of concerned citizens everywhere that this nightmare is allowed to persist notwithstanding global majority support to end the slaughter and the denial of safe access to such fundamentals as food, shelter, and health care.

According to Oxfam, civilian deaths in Gaza occurred “at a scale unprecedented in recent history” with the daily toll greater than that of “any other major conflict” since the beginning of this century. The routine use of unguided “dumb bombs”, as well as massive 2,000 pound bombs, has levelled homes, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure essential for survival in Gaza.

October 2023, aerial view of collapsed buildings and destruction in the Gaza Strip © UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra

Beyond the searing images of Gaza, the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA), at high cost to civilians in 2023, included armed conflict in Myanmar, Sudan, and Ukraine. As a recent Action On Armed Violence (AOAV) report shows, this is part of a wider trend of a surge in civilian casualties – a 122% rise, globally, in 2023 – given the use of explosive weapons in urban and other densely populated areas. This past year has witnessed a 69% increase in incidents involving explosive weapons. Airstrikes were responsible, reportedly, for 67% of civilian casualties. AOAV advises that 90% of those harmed by explosive weapon incidents were civilians in towns and cities. State actors were responsible for 77% of civilian casualties in 2023.

In towns and cities, 90% of those harmed by explosive weapons were civilians.

Action on Armed Violence Report on 2023

The appalling human cost of using explosive weapons puts in question why the 83 governments – listed below – that applauded, endorsed, and adopted the Political Declaration on EWIPA (Nov 2022) seem to have ignored their stated commitments. Some of the signatories are actively engaged in facilitating the provision or use of explosive weapons in Gaza and elsewhere.

As a UAI member I write to you to query what action you have taken or will take to give effect to the Political Declaration in Gaza and other warzones where civilians are greatly endangered by the unrestrained use of explosive weapons in built-up and densely populated areas. 

Best regards,


Signatories of the EWIPA Declaration

83 States endorsed the agreement: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Laos, Liberia, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.

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