Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 26 June 2018

Summary: Non-signatory Belarus acknowledges the convention’s humanitarian rationale but has not taken any steps to accede. It abstained from voting on a key UN resolution in December 2017 and has never participated in a meeting of the convention. Belarus has not produced cluster munitions, nor is it known to have used or exported them. It inherited a stockpile from the Soviet Union but has not provided any information on the types or quantities possessed.


The Republic of Belarus has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Belarus rarely comments on its position on joining the convention.[1] After the convention was adopted in 2008, Belarus said it “shares the humanitarian concerns” caused by cluster munitions but objects to the way in which the convention was negotiated outside UN auspices.[2]

Belarus did not participate in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has never participated in a meeting of the convention.[3]

Since 2015, Belarus has abstained from voting on every UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution supporting implementation and universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, most recently in December 2017.[4] Belarus has never commented on its reasons for abstaining.

Belarus has voted against UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2017.[5]

Belarus is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty and completed the destruction of its stockpiled antipersonnel landmines in April 2017.

Belarus is a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and in the past expressed a preference for cluster munitions to be addressed through this framework.

Use, production, and transfer

In 2010, Belarus said, “Our country is not a producer of cluster munitions.”[6] Belarus is not known to have used or exported cluster munitions.


Belarus inherited a stockpile of cluster munitions from the Soviet Union. Belarus said the stockpile was not “major” in 2010 but has never provided any information on the types or quantities that it possesses.[7]

According to Jane’s Information Group, RBK-500 series cluster bombs are in service with the country’s air force.[8] Belarus also possesses Grad 122mm, Uragan 220mm, and Smerch 300mm surface-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if these include versions with submunition payloads.[9]

According to a CMC member in Belarus, cluster munitions with expired shelf-life are regularly destroyed by the Ministry of Defense.[10]

[1] In November 2010, a government representative told the CMC the convention is “too strict” and not applicable for Belarus as it may threaten its security. Meeting with Ivan Grinevich, Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, in Geneva, 30 November 2010. Notes by the CMC.

[2] Statement of Belarus, UN General Assembly (UNGA), First Committee Disarmament and International Security, New York, 30 October 2008. Translation provided by email from Tatiana Fedorovich, Permanent Mission of Belarus to the UN in New York, 26 November 2008.

[3] For details on Belarus’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 190–191.

[4]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 72/54, 4 December 2017. Belarus abstained from votes on similar resolutions on 5 December 2016 and 7 December 2015.

[5]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 72/191, 19 December 2017. Belarus voted against similar resolutions in 2013–2016.

[6] Statement of Belarus, Convention on Conventional Weapons Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 1 September 2010. Notes by Action on Armed Violence.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 836.

[9] International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 89; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2007–2008, CD-edition, 15 January 2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).

[10] Interview with Dr. Iouri Zagoumennov, Support Center for Associations and Foundations, Minsk, 1 April 2010.