ALERT – 2019 Cluster Munition Monitor: Cluster munitions continue to kill civilians

Posted by: on Aug 28, 2019 | No Comments

Released today, the 2019 Cluster Munition Monitor* report reveals that at least 149 people were killed or injured by cluster munition attacks and remnants in a total of eight countries and one territory, in 2018.

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. HI is calling on states to enforce international law and to systematically condemn the use of these barbaric weapons.

149 new cluster munition casualties

In 2018, the Monitor recorded 149 new cluster munition casualties globally caused either by attacks using these weapons (65) or as a result of cluster munition remnants (84). It represents a sharp decline from 951 recorded in 2016, mainly due to a change in the Syrian conflict context. However, 99% of cluster munition victims are civilians.

The majority of annual casualties (53%) were recorded in Syria, as has been the case since 2012. 65 casualties of cluster munition attacks and 15 casualties of cluster munition remnants were reported in the country in 2018, this is likely an underestimated figure due to the limited access and difficulties in collecting data across the Syrian territory.

The Monitor also reveals that Yemen had the highest recorded casualties due to cluster munition remnants (31) in 2018. And, 40 years after the conflict, casualties continue to be recorded in Lao PDR (21). Casualties from unexploded cluster munition remnants were recorded in 5 other countries and one territory: Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, South Sudan, Ukraine, and Nagorno-Karabakh. These figures highlight the dramatic consequences of the use of cluster munitions, which create long-term contamination by explosive remnants and a deadly threat for the population.

In total, 26 states and three regions remain contaminated by sub-munition remnants worldwide.

The Oslo Convention

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.  Indeed, 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. 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.

14 State Parties to the Oslo Convention have cluster munitions victims. The Monitor reports that many of these affected countries face continued decline in funding for community-based work and hampered access to rehabilitation and economic activities. Access to rehabilitation services for survivors in remote and rural areas also need to be improved in at least 3 states (Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq). In many countries, more services, better coordination and greater integration into national systems remains necessary.

HI is calling on belligerent parties to immediately end the use of cluster munitions. It also calls 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.

 

Read the full report here.

* The 2019 Cluster Munition Monitor report assesses the implementation of the Oslo Convention which bans the use, production, transfer and storage of cluster munitions, for the period from January to December The report also covers the first half of 2019, where information is available.