The Human Cost of Bombing Cities

SUR 22 - v. 12, n. 22, 2015

16 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2016

See all articles by Maya Brehm

Maya Brehm

Article 36; Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Date Written: December 10, 2015


The use of explosive weapons (air-dropped bombs, rockets, artillery shells, etc.) in cities, towns and villages causes immense suffering to civilians. There is increasing support at the international level for the development of a political commitment to address this humanitarian problem and set a strong standard against the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas. Human rights considerations have been largely absent from this debate. This article illustrates the negative impact of explosive violence on the enjoyment of human rights through the prism of case law. It argues that a human rights perspective can help victims of explosive violence to fully realise their rights and support efforts aimed at bringing about changes in military policies and practices to reduce harm to civilians.

Keywords: Bombardment, Displacement, Explosive weapons, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, Protection of civilians

Suggested Citation

Brehm, Maya, The Human Cost of Bombing Cities (December 10, 2015). SUR 22 - v. 12, n. 22, 2015, Available at SSRN:

Maya Brehm (Contact Author)

Article 36 ( email )

81 Rivington street
London, EC2A 3AY
United Kingdom

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights ( email )

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Geneva, 1211

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