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The Indiscriminate Bombing of Civilian Populations

Around the world, from Gaza to the Ukraine to the Philippines, military and paramilitary forces have been indiscriminately bombing civilian populations to reach military objectives. The International Committee of the Red Cross defines an indiscriminate attack (https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/en/customary-ihl/v1/rule12) as a military attack that fails to distinguish between legitimate military targets and protected persons.

The most well known examples, right now of indiscriminate bombing is taking place in Gaza and Ukraine. A December 14, 2023 article by CNN (https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/13/politics/intelligence-assessment-dumb-bo…) stated that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence found that about 40-45% of the 29,000 air-to-ground munitions Israel has used in Gaza have been unguided or "dumb bombs". Unguided munitions are typically less precise and can pose a greater threat to civilians, especially in such a densely populated area like Gaza. The rate at which Israel is using the dumb bombs may be contributing to the soaring civilian death toll.

A Human Rights Watch World Report on Ukraine (https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2023/country-chapters/ukraine) found that Russia has been guilty of indiscriminate and disproportionate bombing and shelling of Ukrainian civilian areas that hit homes and healthcare and educational facilities. Russian forces dropped several unguided aerial bombs on apartment building complexes, the Donetsk Regional Theater in Mariupol, a busy shopping center in Kremenchuk, and in densely populated residential areas in Kharkiv and Izium city.

Indiscriminate bombing victimizes Indigenous peoples as well as civilians caught in war situations. Human Rights Watch (https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/09/04/philippines-soldiers-accused-beatin…) reports that Philippine military and paramilitary forces have bombed Indigenous areas, destroyed Indigenous schools and murdered educators, harassed tribal leaders who speak out against the government by accusing them of being communists, and killed tribal activists who oppose the operations of mining companies and other extractive industries.

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