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Scientists call for fifth Geneva Convention to recognise environmental damage as a war crime

by Futures Centre, Aug 21
1 minute read

In an open letter addressed to international lawmakers, 24 scientists from across the world have called for a new Geneva Convention that would make governments accountable for the environmental damage inflicted by their militaries in war zones. Published in international science journal Nature, the letter, entitled “Stop Military Conflicts from Trashing the Environment”, urges governments to “incorporate explicit safeguards for biodiversity… to uphold environmental protection during such confrontations” and suggests that “the military industry must be held more accountable for the impact of its activities.”

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These suggestions came as the UN’s International Law Commission held a week-long meeting to explore ways to further attempts to keep natural resources safe during war, and amidst the ever-increasing biodiversity crisis we now face. The signatories of the letter call for legal instruments that will ensure safeguards for wildlife and natural resources including: 

  • Site-based protection
  • Protections for nature reserves
  • Controls on the spread of guns used for hunting
  • Measures to hold military forces to account for damage to the environment.


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