HPG - Collaborative Advocacy on the Protection of Civilians: Children and Armed Conflict and Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas


Existing norms and mechanisms to protect civilians are increasingly under threat, while others are not sufficient to protect civilians in contemporary conflict. Conflicts are increasingly conducted in towns, cities and other populated areas, and they include the use of explosive weapons. Violations against children in conflict are on the rise. Multilateral approaches involving a broad and diverse set of actors, strategies and tactics are required to develop and maintain protections and norms at the international, regional and national levels. This report focuses on advocacy to promote the protection of civilians in relation to two protection concerns: the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA), and children and armed conflict (CAAC). Both the EWIPA and CAAC agendas have been a focus of complementary efforts of national and international civil society actors, United Nations (UN) and international organisations as well as UN member states. These have involved efforts to either develop new norms to reduce a grave pattern of harm to civilians in relation to the use of EWIPA, or, in the case of CAAC, to respond to growing concerns over the politicisation and undermining of efforts to identify and respond to grave violations against children. By analysing these two themes, this report draws out factors for effective advocacy, dilemmas, challenges and gaps, resulting in learning to inform future multilateral advocacy initiatives.