Wars in the 21st century are increasingly being launched in urban areas, causing unspeakable suffering to thousands of civilians who are suffering under cruel siege and trapped in a daily barrage of attacks and relentless bombardment from the ground and air, thus shelling civilian homes and destroying infrastructure through inaccurate or highly destructive munitions that cause extensive damage beyond intended targets. Such disproportionate use has devastating consequences on the lives and livelihoods of civilians.
Munitions and explosive remnants of war remain a major cause of civilian casualties, particularly among children and the most vulnerable, as their small size makes them more vulnerable to the impact of the deadly blast. Explosive ordnance or unexploded ordnance remnants of war, regardless of where they are used, endanger civilians in the decades to come, especially children. Therefore, all parties to conflicts must stop the use of these weapons in populated areas and put in place measures to protect civilians, especially children.
Children living in war-torn parts of the world are experiencing daily, unimaginable horror. They do not feel safe in their homes, on the streets, in schools, or in hospitals. Children caught between lines of fire of warring parties face shocking levels of violence as they face the risks of death, injury, abduction, sexual violence, attacks on educational and health facilities, as well as the denial of much-needed humanitarian assistance.
There are more than 61 million male and female children living in war-affected countries in the Middle East, out of a total number of 166 million male and female children. This means that more than a third of children in the Middle East are affected by conflict and ongoing violence. That is, one out of every three children suffers from this situation. In this region, living in conditions of war has become a living reality for millions of children. The world has witnessed devastating damage caused by explosive more than once in various regions, including Syria, Libya, Palestine, Iraq and Ukraine. In addition to deaths numbers, the use of these weapons causes long-term damage as it destroys livelihoods and critical infrastructure such as healthcare facilities.
Therefore, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights presents this paper to clarify the impact of the munitions defined in the Fifth Protocol to the Conventional Arms Trade Treaty of 1988 on children’s enjoyment of their rights by clarifying the nature of the munitions and their impact on civilians as well as clarifying the Association’s role in participating in private formal and informal consultations on the Fifth Protocol and the Declaration on the Protection of Civilians from the Danger of Munitions and explaining the danger of these munitions to children in a number of conflict countries.