Incendiary Weapons

Incendiary weapons produce heat and fire through the chemical reaction of a flammable substance. They cause terrible burn wounds and damage to civilians and civilian objects, often leading to long term harm and psychological trauma.

In the past 15 years incendiary weapons were used in Afghanistan, Gaza, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.

Currently, international law prohibits the use of air-delivered incendiary weapons in ‘concentrations of civilians’, but is not as strong for ground-launched weapons. At the same time, many states believe the rules do not apply to munitions that were not ‘primarily designed’ as incendiary weapons but have the same effect nonetheless.

PAX position

PAX calls on states to:

  • Acknowledge the humanitarian harm caused by incendiary weapons
  • Condemn the use of any type of incendiary weapon by any actor, and
  • Calls on states to use the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Protocol III) to strengthen existing rules on incendiary weapons.

Further reading


Roos Boer,
Program leader Humanitarian Disarmament

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