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Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 7287, tabled on 23 January 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the need for international action to prevent the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.

Answered on

28 January 2020

The use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas is governed by International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The UK complies with all appropriate legal obligations and takes its adherence to IHL extremely seriously. The UK is at the forefront of international discussions on the subject and officials contributed extensively to the Vienna Conference on Protection of Civilians in Urban Warfare in October 2019, in which steps towards a political declaration were taken. The issue centres on balancing the need to protect civilians with the requirement for responsible states to be able to operate effectively in the pursuit of national security and defence interests. Further discussions will take place in Geneva in February 2020 and officials from Her Majesty’s Government will continue to take a full and active role.

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