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Handicap International condemns the repeated use of cluster munitions in Syria

Explosive weapons

The NGO Human Rights Watch is reporting that cluster munitions have been used in at least 14 attacks during operations carried out jointly by Syrian government forces and Russia since 26th January 2015.

Destruction caused by bombing in the city of Kobani, Syria.

Destruction caused by bombing in the city of Kobani, Syria. | © Ph. Houliat / Handicap International

At least 37 civilians have been killed during these offensives. These latest figures follow an initial report, published by the Human Rights Watch in 2015 also condemning the use of cluster munitions by the Syrian-Russian coalition.

"The international community must firmly condemn the repeated use of cluster munitions," Anne Héry, Director of Advocacy at Handicap International insists. "The use of these weapons is outlawed by the Oslo Treaty, signed by 118 States. The barbaric weapons pose an unacceptable threat to Syrian civilians who are the main victims of the conflict."

The 2015 Cluster Munition Monitor report states that "Between 2012 and 2014 at least 1,960 victims of cluster munitions were recorded in Syria, which is the highest number of victims in a country since the Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted." The vast majority of them were civilians.

Sixteen States continue to produce cluster munitions or have reserved the right to produce them, according to the 2015 Cluster Munition Monitor report.

Over 90% of recorded victims of cluster munitions worldwide are civilians. These weapons kill, injure and cause severe psychological trauma. Furthermore, up to 40% of the weapons do not explode on impact, leaving entire areas uninhabitable. This prevents any return to normal social and economic activity and forces people to move. Explosive remnants of war can pose a serious threat to civilians for years and even decades after a conflict has finished.

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