KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – A new report released on Monday documenting the use of incendiary weapons and their horrible costs against civilians over the past decade in conflict zones like Afghanistan The Gaza Strip and Syria, with the Human Rights Watch and Harvard Human Rights Clinic urging countries to close loopholes in international law and stigmatize their use.
Weapons, which can include white phosphorus, are reported to cause severe burns and could lead to infection, shock, and organ failure. Often, health care workers do not have enough resources in war zones to assist victims of severe burns.
The white phosphorus burns until it̵7;s gone. It can burn to the bone, causing the victim to suffer from chronic pain, permanent disability, and scarring.
A report by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic notes that burn victims sometimes require intubation to treat deep wounds and scrape dead skin. They may also need multiple surgeries and intense physical therapy to regain mobility.
In one incident detailed in the report, an 8-year-old Afghan girl named Razia suffered burns to 45% of her body after a white phosphorus attack outside the capital Kabul in 2009. Her family Razia had just finished eating breakfast when she had two shells of white phosphorus. crash into their mud brick house in the province of Kapisa, in northeastern Afghanistan. Fire and smoke burned the house, instantly killing Razia’s sisters as they slept next to each other.
Razia was taken to a local Afghan army base, where much was not to be helped. A car drove the family to a nearby French base where it was also unable to provide the necessary medical assistance. A medivac helicopter finally drove the young girl to a US-operated hospital at Bagram Air Base.
She eventually survived with the help of extensive and painful medical care, but the report noted she lived with the emotional scars of losing two sisters and with physical pain from close burns. half body. Although it has been 11 years since the attack happened, her father said she was embarrassed to be shown in public and didn’t want to leave the house.
US and NATO troops used white phosphorus to illuminate targets in Afghanistan, but military officials said at the time they could not be sure if it was their own attack. .
That same year, Israeli forces fired white phosphorus-containing shells in the northern part of the Gaza Strip surrounded by the 2009 war with Hamas. The Israeli bullet pierced the roof of the Abu Halima family, where 14 members of the family, between the ages of 6 months and 45 years old, were searching for shelter during the fighting.
Five people died in the attack, burned alive in the fire caused by white phosphorus. Among the dead were three brothers, 14 years old, 11 and 10. Other family members were seriously injured.
Most recently in 2013, Syrian government troops attacked a building near a school in the north of Aleppo province. As students at Urum al-Kubra rushed out to see what happened, a fire bomb landed on a group of them, instantly killing 5 people, after which many died from their injuries. their.
The constant human suffering caused by burning weapons underlines the need for stronger international law, the report said. It calls on states to take concrete action at next year’s Conventional Weapons Convention to condemn and continue to raise awareness about the use and harm of such weapons, and Prevent loopholes in existing protocols.