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Case 12 “On Civilian Harm”: Weaponizing drinking water

In Syria, more or less all conflict parties exploited their control over access to and distribution of water as a means to punish, harm or favour certain segments of the population. Civilians get the worst from this ‘strategic game’. The chapter "Weaponizing drinking water: Rivers, purification plants and generators as targets (Syria, 2014-16)" examines the impact of armed actors controlling water. It shows the economic effects, consequences for health, and the impact on society. In so doing, it raises crucial yet understudied questions about (the lack of) international legislation to criminalise the weaponization of water.

In ‘On Civilian Harm’, we explore the ways in which civilians are negatively affected by violent conflict, offer tools and language to discuss the phenomenon, make practical recommendations for civilian harm mitigation and raise questions for further debate. The book contains in-depth analysises of 13 particular events in which harm to civilians occurred as a consequence of use of armed violence. Taken together, they contribute to an increased understanding of the variety and complexity of civilian harm at a conceptual level, bringing out common traits and patterns on civilian harm in violent conflict.

About this report

Date of publication:

Jun 10, 2021


Known to PAX


PAX Protection of Civilians

More about the book 'On Civilian Harm'
Case 12 “On Civilian Harm”: Weaponizing drinking water

Jun 10, 2021, Known to PAX

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