New PAX paper calls upon states to better protect civilians and strengthen international law on incendiary weapons. The PAX publication “Put Out the Fire. Strengthening International Law and Divestment Policies on Incendiary Weapons”, links the human cost of incendiary weapons, international law, key producers, and divestment policies of financial institutions.
Incendiary weapons produce heat and fire through the chemical reaction of a flammable substance. They cause immense harm to their civilian victims, both in the short and the long run. In addition to experiencing excruciating physical pain, survivors often suffer from profound psychological and socioeconomic problems.
While international regulations still allow for continued use of some incendiary weapons, including white phosphorus, various financial institutions and their research providers consider incendiary weapons, and white phosphorus in particular, as ‘controversial’.
PAX calls upon states to review and strengthen international law on incendiary weapons because of the civilian harm they cause. The instrument that regulates their use, Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, has two major loopholes that limit its power. The design-oriented definition does not cover multipurpose munitions, such as
white phosphorus. Furthermore, while the use of air-delivered incendiary weapons in populated areas is prohibited, the regulations for ground-launched models are weaker. Yet, regardless of the design or launch mode, civilians bear the brunt of the impact on the ground.
States should adopt an effects-based definition and ban the use of all incendiary weapons in at least populated areas, including ground-launched systems.
Read the publication Put Out the Fire. Strengthening International Law and Divestment Policies on Incendiary Weapons here.
Read more about incendiary weapons here.