Status of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions
- A total of 119 countries have signed or acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions as of 1 August 2017, of which 102 are States Parties legally bound by all of the convention’s provisions. The convention, which entered into force on 1 August 2010, is the sole international instrument dedicated to ending the human suffering caused by cluster munitions.
- Since September 2016, Madagascar and Benin have ratified the convention.
- On 5 December 2016, 141 states voted to adopt the second United Nations General Assembly resolution supporting the Convention on Cluster Munitions, including 32 non-signatories to the convention. Russia and Zimbabwe were again the only states to vote against the resolution.
- At their Sixth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Geneva in September 2016, States Parties adopted a political declaration reaffirming their commitment to the convention and condemning “any use of cluster munitions by any actor, in conformity with Article 21.”
- There have been no reports or allegations of new use of cluster munitions by any State Party since the Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted in May 2008.
- Since 1 July 2016, cluster munitions have been used in Syria by Syrian government forces with Russia’s support and in Yemen by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of states. There were reports that cluster munitions may have been used in Iraq and Libya, but the Monitor could not independently verify the evidence of possible use.
- 2016 marked the second highest annual figure of reported cluster munition casualties since the beginning of Cluster Munition Monitor reporting in 2009, and was more than double the number of new cluster munition casualties recorded for 2015.
- In total, the Monitor recorded 971 new cluster munition casualties in 2016, with the highest number in Syria (860), Lao PDR (51), and Yemen (38).
- Civilians accounted for the vast majority of casualties, making up 98% of all casualties whose status was recorded in 2016.
- In both Syria and Yemen, the majority of casualties occurred during cluster munition attacks that killed or injured at least 857 people (837 in Syria and 20 in Yemen).
- In 2016, casualties from cluster munition remnants were recorded in 10 countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Libya, Serbia, South Sudan, Syria, Vietnam, and Yemen.
- In Lao PDR, the country that decades ago suffered the most intensive cluster bombing in history, a 10-year peak in unexploded submunition casualties was recorded in 2016, 67% of whom were children.
- More than 21,200 cluster munition casualties have been documented globally from the 1960s, when the United States conducted cluster munition attacks in Lao PDR and Southeast Asia, to the end of 2016. Many casualties, however, go unrecorded or lack sufficient documentation. The estimated number of global all-time casualties for 33 countries and three other areas is roughly 56,000.
- As of August 2017, a total of 26 states (12 States Parties, one signatory, and 13 non-signatories) and three other areas are contaminated by cluster munition remnants. It is unclear whether two States Parties are contaminated.
- New use increased contamination in Syria and Yemen in both 2016 and 2017, and in the area of Nagorno-Karabakh in early 2016.
- In 2016, at least 88km2 of contaminated land was cleared, with a total of at least 140,000 submunitions destroyed during land release (survey and clearance) operations, an increase on 2015. However, this estimate is based on incomplete data, as survey and clearance results have been poorly recorded and reported in many countries.
- State Party Mozambique reported completion of clearance in December 2016.
- Conflict and insecurity in 2015 and 2016 impeded land release efforts in three States Parties (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia), and six non-signatories (Libya, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen).
- States Parties have committed to improving assistance for cluster munition victims by 2020 as part of the Dubrovnik Action Plan, but during the reporting period renewed attention was needed to increase the availability and quality of rehabilitation and economic activities in the face of recent declines in international funding.
- Despite some rehabilitation programs existing in all affected States Parties, improvement in the quality and quantity of assistance for survivors was needed.
- Most coordination programs included survivor representation, but meaningful consideration of contributions by victims was often deficient.
- In many States Parties, inadequate resources for organizations that deliver most direct assistance to cluster munition victims impeded the availability of services.
Production and Transfer
- Eighteen States Parties and Argentina, a non-signatory, have ceased production of cluster munitions.
- In August 2016, US manufacturer Textron Systems announced it is stopping cluster munition production, effectively ending US production of cluster munitions as it was the country’s last producer.
- A total of 41 States Parties have stockpiled cluster munitions at some point in time, of which 28 have completed destruction of their stocks, destroying a collective total of nearly 1.4 million cluster munitions and more than 175 million submunitions. To date, this represents the destruction of 97% of the total stockpiles of cluster munitions and 98% of the total number of submunitions declared by States Parties.
- During 2016, three States Parties—Slovakia, Spain, and Switzerland—collectively destroyed 56,171 cluster munitions and nearly 2.8 million submunitions. Another 10 States Parties did not destroy any of their cluster munition stocks in the past year, and several have indicated they will require financial and technical assistance.
- No State Party completed the destruction of its cluster munition stocks in the second half of 2016 or first half of 2017. France completed its stockpile destruction in June 2016.
- Most States Parties have formally declared that they are not retaining any cluster munitions for training or research in detection, clearance, and destruction techniques, as permitted by the convention.
- Eleven States Parties—all from Europe—are retaining live cluster munitions or submunitions for training and research. Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland have significantly lowered the numbers retained since making their initial declarations, while Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden have yet to consume any retained cluster munitions. Slovakia intends to destroy its retained cluster munitions.
National Legislation and Transparency
- 27 States Parties have enacted national legislation to implement the convention, most recently Mauritius in June 2016. Another 24 States Parties are in the process of drafting, considering, or adopting national legislation for the convention. A total of 32 States Parties indicate that their existing legislation is sufficient to enforce implementation of the convention’s provisions.
- A total of 82 States Parties have submitted an initial transparency report as required by the convention, representing 82% of all States Parties for which the obligation applied as of July 2017. A total of 18 States Parties have not delivered their initial transparency reports, including five that were originally due in 2011.
Interpretation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions
- At least 37 States Parties and signatories to the convention view any intentional or deliberate assistance with activities banned by the convention as prohibited, even during joint military operations with states not party. States Parties Australia, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom (UK), however, support the contrary view that the convention’s Article 1 prohibition on assistance with prohibited acts may be overridden by the interoperability provisions contained in Article 21.
- At least 33 states agree that both the transit of cluster munitions by a state not party across the territory of a State Party and foreign stockpiling are prohibited by the convention. States Parties Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, and the UK have asserted that transit and foreign stockpiling are not prohibited by the convention.
- The United States has removed its stockpiled cluster munitions from States Parties Norway and the UK and may continue to store cluster munitions in States Parties Afghanistan, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain, as well as in non-signatories Israel, Qatar, and perhaps Kuwait.
- Ten States Parties have enacted legislation that explicitly prohibits investment in cluster munitions, while at least 28 States Parties and signatories to the convention have elaborated their view that investment in cluster munition production is a form of assistance prohibited by the.