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Gaza Deaths Overshadow Global Conference to End Urban Bombing

April 23, 2024

An invitation to Stop Bombing Civilians

Stop Bombing Civilians | @HI

OSLO, NORWAY — Today, the HI delegation participates in the first international follow-up conference of the EWIPA political declaration.

On April 23, 2024, delegates from 86 states and civil society are meeting in Oslo to discuss the implementation of the international agreement to limit the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA), which was endorsed in Dublin in November 2022 by governments, including the US and UK.

This pivotal meeting comes six months after the escalation of hostilities in Gaza and following two years of war in Ukraine, where, in both cases, explosive weapons are being used systematically in populated areas.

The main driver of the dramatic increase in civilian deaths in 2023 is the use of explosive weapons by Israeli armed forces in Gaza since October 2023.

Humanity & Inclusion (HI)’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal expert reports from Gaza that “the enduring legacy of unexploded ordnance will cast a long shadow over recovery efforts."

Significant increase of civilians affected by explosive weapons, mainly due to the conflict in Gaza

The Explosive Weapons Monitor 2023 shows that civilians in at least 75 countries and territories — one-third of the world — were affected by explosive weapons use in 2023.

“The data from the Explosive Weapons Monitor show a devastating increase in human suffering caused by bombing and shelling. On a daily basis, it is becoming even more evident that states must take action,” says Alma Taslidzan, HI's Disarmament and Protection of Civilians Advocacy Manager.

Northern and Central Gaza Unbearable Due to Unexploded Ordnance

Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip over six months of hostilities has damaged or destroyed more than 60% of housing units and annihilated most of the infrastructure in northern and central Gaza.

Toombs adds: “It's impossible to know the full extent of the explosive remnant contamination in the Gaza Strip, as hostilities have been present in the region for decades, and explosive remnants of war (ERW) were already a significant problem before the escalation that followed October 7. But considering the intensity of the bombardments during these last few months, we can expect a significant increase in explosive contamination.

“Many of the explosives will be hidden in or underneath the rubble. Some of these bombs can go extremely deep into the ground, and we’ll need very specific equipment to dig into them. It can take up to one month just to get to the bomb. And then you have to render it safe.”

Available for interviews: Experts on explosive weapons contamination are available for interviews.

  • Gary Toombs / Simon Elmont, HI Explosive Ordnance Disposal experts who recently returned from Gaza
  • Alma Taslidzan, HI's Disarmament and Protection of Civilians Advocacy Manager

The Explosive Weapons Monitor report is available here or by request.


Mira Adam,
Sr. Media Officer
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +1 (202) 855-0301


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