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Civilians in Ukraine must be protected from bombing and shelling in populated areas.

July 24, 2023

HI is outraged by the intensification of Russian attacks hitting civilians in populated areas and civilian infrastructure in recent weeks.

“HI strongly condemns the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and its consequences on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. We demand an immediate end to the Russian bombing and shelling, which has increased at a terrifying rate over the last several weeks with devastating effects on civilians. Protection of civilians during armed conflict is a cornerstone of international humanitarian law: Indiscriminate or deliberate attacks against civilians are prohibited under international law. Heavy explosive weapons must not be used in populated areas. We also urge all parties to the conflict not to use landmines and cluster munitions that are banned respectively by the Ottawa and Oslo Conventions.”
—Alma Taslidzan, HI Disarmament Advocacy Manager

Russian attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure have intensified in recent weeks:

From February 24, 2022, to June 18, 2023, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recorded 24,862 civilian casualties in Ukraine, including 9,083 dead and 15,779 wounded. The vast majority of civilian casualties in the war are the result of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Bombing and shelling in urban areas have long last reverberating effects.

The use of explosive weapons in populated areas has serious reverberating effects: The injured require specialized medical and psychosocial care. Explosive weapons damage or destroy healthcare facilities, hindering the delivery of medical care. Housing and essential infrastructure - water and sewage treatment facilities and electricity supply systems - are damaged or destroyed, increasing the risk of diseases. Schools are damaged or destroyed, disrupting or depriving access to education. People are forced to leave their homes for long periods and under precarious conditions. Explosive weapons leave behind unexploded ordnance that kill and injure civilians long after the hostilities end. This contamination also prevents or delays reconstruction work, agricultural production, as well as the return of displaced persons. Contamination and destruction of vital infrastructure also impede the delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance.

About Humanity & Inclusion

HI is an independent international aid organization. It has been working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for 40 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and other groups experiencing extreme hardship, our actions and testimony are focused on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Since it was founded in 1982, Humanity & Inclusion (formerly Handicap International) has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. There are eight national associations within the network (Germany, Belgium, Canada, United States, France, Luxembourg, UK and Switzerland), working tirelessly to mobilize resources, co-manage projects and increase the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. HI is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and winner of the Conrad N. Hilton Award in 2011. HI takes action and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task.”


Elizabeth Johnson Sellers,
Communications Director

Email: e[email protected]
Phone: +1 (240) 450-3538
Mobile: +1 (270) 847-3443


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