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Governments Should Bolster Respect for Landmark Arms Ban

Governments should reinforce the global ban on chemical weapons by suspending the rights and privileges of Syria, a party to the treaty that has violated it with impunity for years.  This week, states that are parties to the Chemical Weapons…
A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017.
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Strong Political Declaration Needed to Reduce Civilian Harm

The Covid-19 pandemic has put the brakes on many things, including the negotiations to conclude a new political declaration on explosive weapons in populated areas. But states have continued such use, particularly with weapons with wide-area effects,…
Children in front of the Africa/Ayga hotel likely damaged by a direct fire weapon in Humera town, Tigray region, Ethiopia, on November 22, 2020.
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When history reflects on the Syrian conflict, a defining hallmark will be the Syrian government’s deliberate targeting of civilians. Backed by Russian forces, the government has rained bombs on markets, hospitals, schools, and homes. In 2019 and 2020,…
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UN Inquiry Needed into Alleged Violations by Warring Parties

(Nairobi) – Ethiopian federal forces carried out apparently indiscriminate shelling of urban areas in the Tigray region in November 2020 in violation of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said today. Artillery attacks at the start of the armed…
A woman stands in a metal sheet room that was damaged by shelling in Humera town, Tigray region, Ethiopia, on November 22, 2020. In that residential compound, two women and an elderly man were killed by shelling and gunfire, and two women were wounded.
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Close Legal Loopholes to Prevent Further Civilian Suffering

(Geneva) – The horrific burns and life-long suffering caused by incendiary weapons demand that governments urgently revise existing treaty standards, Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic said in a report…
اوربلونکې وسله چې د ۲۰۱۶ کال د جون پر ۲۲مه د سوريې د حلب ښار پر کفر همراه کلي لګېدلې ده.
Report
Summary In April 2019, the Syrian government and its ally, Russia, launched a major military offensive to retake Idlib governorate and surrounding areas in northwest Syria— one of the last areas controlled by anti-government armed groups. Over the…
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Unlawful Attacks on Hospitals, Schools, Markets Forced Idlib Population Out

The Syrian and Russian armed forces’ repeated attacks on civilian infrastructure in Idlib in northwest Syria were apparent war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Dozens of unlawful air…
A woman in a black niqab and face mask walks through a deserted street with a child
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(Geneva, October 15, 2020) – The Syrian and Russian armed forces’ repeated attacks on civilian infrastructure in Idlib in northwest Syria were apparent war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released…
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12 killed on first day of new decade

(Beirut) – A ballistic missile equipped with a banned cluster munition warhead launched by Syrian forces killed 12 civilians, including 5 children, at a school on January 1, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. The attack…
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Failing Diplomatic Talks Show Need for a Different Path

(Geneva) – Almost three in every four people responding to a new poll in 10 European countries want their governments to work for an international treaty prohibiting lethal autonomous weapons systems, Human Rights Watch said today. At…
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White Phosphorus Should Be Included on the List

(Geneva) – Russia should support, not block, diplomatic talks about possible action to address the civilian harm caused by the use of incendiary weapons, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.  Issued…
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Memorandum to Delegates of the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons

  Ten years ago, images of white phosphorus munitions raining fire on populated areas of Gaza generated international outrage and sparked discussions of incendiary weapons at the United Nations. The Israel Defense Forces’ use of white…
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500,000 People Displaced in Recent Hostilities Stuck at Turkish Border

(Beirut) – A Syrian-Russian military alliance strike on a displacement compound in mid-August is an apparent war crime, Human Rights Watch said today. Witnesses said there was no apparent military target for the…
Residents rescue injured child after strike on the displacement center in Hass on August 16, 2019.
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First Public ‘Condolence’ Payment Provides Way Forward

(Beirut) – The United States-led coalition against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) should address the harm to civilians during military operations in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Independent investigators have reported…
Destroyed house from US-led coalition strike that killed 13 civilians in Tal al-Jayer, Syria in July 2017.
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International Norms Ignored as Civilians Suffer

(Beirut) – The Russian-Syrian joint military operation has used internationally banned and other indiscriminate weapons in unlawful attacks on civilians in northwest Syria in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch said today. According to the…
A man inspects the destruction left by overnight air strikes targeting residential areas at Kafr Nabl in the rebel-held Idlib Province, Syria, May 20 2019.
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Satellite Imagery Reveals Large-Scale Destruction of Buildings

(New York) – Protecting civilians should be a key priority for the US-led coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) makes its last territorial stand in Syria, Human Rights Watch said…
Satellite-analysis of US-led coalition air strike locations in Baghuz (19 January - 20 February 2019)
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Delivered by Bonnie Docherty, Senior Researcher

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson. The exceptional cruelty and ongoing use of incendiary weapons demand a global response. Over the past year, Human Rights Watch has documented thirty new attacks with incendiary weapons across six…
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Memorandum to Delegates of the 2018 Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons

Incendiary weapons are among the cruelest weapons used in contemporary armed conflict. These weapons, which produce heat and fire through the chemical reaction of a flammable substance, cause excruciating burns and destroy…
Des habitants tentent d'éteindre des incendies provoqués par une attaque à l'arme incendiaire dans l'ouest d'Idlib, Syrie, 30 juillet 2018.
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Spotlighting Inadequate International Law

(Geneva) – Countries at an upcoming United Nations disarmament conference, faced with evidence of 30 new incendiary weapons attacks in Syria, should agree to strengthen the international law that governs their use, Human Rights Watch said in a…
Incendiary weapons were used in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, in March 2018, causing more than 260 civilian casualties.