Breakfast Briefing with Jonathan Somer

The EWIPA Declaration: Dublin’ Down on Measures to Protect Civilians from the Effects of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas?


Armed conflict in urban environments spells bad news for civilians. While some refute data suggesting that 90 % of casualties in urban environments are civilian, there is no doubt that civilians pay an inordinate price. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas accounts for a great deal of this civilian loss, including damage to civilian objects.  

In November 2022, Denmark joined 82 other states from around the globe in Dublin to endorse the "Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Area Explosive Weapons" (EWIPA Declaration). While the political declaration does not purport to create new legal obligations, the jury is still out as to what extent it raises the bar for states signatories and non-state armed group adherents towards greater civilian protection in populated areas.

On the one-year anniversary of the adoption of the EWIPA Declaration, the presentation will reflect on some of the key issues in the multi-year drafting process led by Ireland, as well as the relevance of the Declaration itself.

About the speaker

Jonathan Somer is currently Legal Advisor at the Danish Red Cross. Prior to joining the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, he worked with Geneva Call and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. As a consultant, he has advised, among others, the United Nations and the Government of Denmark. He holds a JD from the University of British Columbia, an LLM from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and has been awarded the Henry Dunant Prize for his scholarship in international humanitarian law.

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See a list of all the Breakfast Briefings for Autumn 2023.