Mariam, 9, carries her brother as she stands with other children at an ancient underground cemetery in Jabal al-Zawiya, in the southern countryside of Idlib, Syria. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
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Human suffering caused by war is not a new phenomenon.In recent conflicts, civilians have constituted more than 90 percent of those killed or injured by explosive weapons used in populated areas. Eight civilians now die in conflict for every soldier killed, a reversal of the ratio that prevailed in the early part of the 20th century.The need to protect people from war's effects called the "humanitarian imperative" has driven decades of international efforts to regulate warfare.A number of responsible governments and armed forces have taken many steps to protect civilians from warfare, such as adjusting military doctrines, policies and rules of engagement, and some have enhanced training practices in these areas.In October 2018, 50 countries at the U.N. General Assembly jointly voiced their grave concern about the humanitarian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
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