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82 countries write history in Dublin by endorsing declaration against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

Last week, as Russia continued bombing Ukrainian cities, a number of states were gathered in Dublin to adopt a new international agreement to better protect civilians against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA).

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Memorial to an Unknown Civilian - a wreath-laying ceremony in the garden of the Dublin Castle. Photo: INEW
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Delegated from 80 countries were represented at the conference in Dublin. Photo: INEW
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Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney. Photo: INEW
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Wreath closure at the Memorial to an Unknown Civilian ceremony Photo: INEW
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Panel discussion on the implementation of the declaration. On the left, Director General at the Norwegian MFA, Merete Fjeld Brattested, who announced Norway will host the first meeting for the declaration in 2024.

Weschke represents NPA on the board of the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW). This is a network of international disarmament organisations that have been advocating for the declaration.

For over a decade, INEW's member organisations have put pressure on nation-states and collected data on the humanitarian consequences of the use of the explosive weapons that the EWIPA-declaration will help limit. Many explosive weapons used in cities today were originally developed for open battlefields, causing immense harm and suffering.

The declaration text was finalised at the United Nations in Geneva on 17 June 2022, through a diplomatic process led by the government of Ireland. On Friday 18 November, the declaration opened for signature at a conference in Dublin. 82 states signed on the first day, which is exceptionally good for this type of declaration.

At the start of the conference, a video greeting from Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre was aired. Here, the Prime Minister emphasised Norway's commitment to ensure good implementation of the declaration.

The promises made by the Prime Minister were followed up by Merete Fjeld Brattested, Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who announced at the end of the conference that Norway will host the first meeting on the political declaration in 2024.

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Adviser at NPA, Rasmus Sandvoll Weschke.