2019 Cluster Munition Monitor Report: Cluster munitions continue to kill civilians
Press release | London, 29th August 2019, 8:00 GMT
Press release | London, 29th August 2019, 8:00 GMT
Released on 29th August, the 2019 Cluster Munition Monitor report reveals that attacks involving cluster munitions continued to kill civilians in 2018. Globally, at least 149 people were killed or injured by cluster munition attacks and remnants in a total of eight countries and one territory.
The conference of State Parties to the Oslo Convention, which bans the use of cluster munitions, is due to take place from the 2nd to the 4th of September in Geneva. Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is calling on states to enforce international law and to systematically condemn the use of these barbaric weapons.
New uses of cluster munitions were reported only in Syria where at least 38 cluster munitions attacks occurred between July 2018 and June 2019. As up to 40% of these weapons do not explode on impact, these attacks have caused heavy contamination by cluster munition remnants, which pose a deadly and long-term threat for the local population.
The Monitor recorded 149 new cluster munition casualties in 2018 globally, caused either by attacks using these weapons (65) or as a result of cluster munition remnants (84). According to the Monitor, the majority of annual casualties in 2018 (53%) were recorded in Syria, which has been the case since 2012.
This shows a sharp decline from 951 recorded in 2016, mainly due to a change in the Syrian conflict context. This figure remains a major cause for concern: 99% of cluster munition victims are civilians.
In 2018, casualties from unexploded cluster munition remnants were recorded in eight countries and one territory: Afghanistan, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and Nagorno-Karabakh.
In 2018, Yemen had the highest recorded casualties due to cluster munition remnants (31). More than 40 years after the conflict, casualties continue to be recorded in Lao PDR (21). These figures highlight the dramatic consequences of using cluster munitions, which create long-term contamination by explosive remnants and a deadly threat for the population.
14 State Parties to the Oslo Convention have cluster munitions victims. The Monitor reports that many face continued decline in funding for community-based work and hampered access to rehabilitation and economic activities. In many countries, more services, better coordination and greater integration into national systems remains necessary. Access to rehabilitation services for survivors in remote and rural areas also need to be improved in at least 3 states (Chad, Guinea-Bissau and Iraq).
“HI is calling on belligerent parties to immediately end the use of cluster munitions. We also call on states to put pressure on countries that use cluster munitions to end this practice. Any new use of these weapons should be condemned. Only by systematically condemning their use and stigmatising those responsible, and calling on all states to sign the treaty, will the international community be able to reduce and eventually eradicate the use of cluster munitions.” says Aleema Shivji, Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion UK.
Since the Convention came into force on 1st August 2010, 35 State Parties have destroyed 1.5 million cluster munition stockpiles, i.e. a total of 178 million sub-munitions. This represents 99% of all cluster munitions declared by State Parties.
“The Oslo Convention has made great strides in protecting civilians against the scourge of cluster munitions: every year, existing stockpiles are destroyed and significant areas of contaminated land are cleared, while these weapons are increasingly stigmatised. State Parties have also made a lot of progress with respect to victim assistance, but the countries affected are still finding it difficult to fund necessary services for victims, who all too often live in extremely difficult conditions.” adds Shivji.
More information about cluster bombs and the Oslo Convention:
Cluster bombs are weapons containing several hundred mini-bombs called cluster munitions. Designed to be scattered over large areas, they inevitably fall in civilian neighbourhoods. Up to 40% do not explode on impact. Like anti-personnel mines, they can be triggered by the slightest contact, killing and maiming people during and after conflicts. As they make no distinction between civilians, civilian property and military targets, cluster bombs violate the rules of international humanitarian law.
The Oslo Convention, which bans the use, storage, transfer, production and sale of cluster munitions, was opened for signature in December 2008. Currently, 120 countries are signatories to this convention.
Marlene Manning, Humanity & Inclusion UK
Tel: +44 (0)870 774 3737
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is a charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.
For the past 30 years, HI has been campaigning against anti-personnel mines and cluster bombs, with projects ranging from bomb clearance, risk education to teach civilians about the dangers of these weapons and victim assistance. This led to the signing of the Ottawa mine ban convention (1997) and the Oslo convention on cluster munitions (2008). HI is one of six founding organisations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and co-founder of the Cluster Munition Coalition.
Humanity & Inclusion is the new name of Handicap International.