Somalia

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 26 June 2018

Summary: State Party Somalia ratified the convention on 30 September 2015 after participating in several meetings of the convention. It voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2017.Somalia has condemned new use of the cluster munitions.

Although it has not submitted an initial transparency report, due 31 August 2016, Somalia is not known to have used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions. Cluster munitions remnants have been cleared from the country’s border areas, but it has not been possible to determine the party responsible for this use.

Policy

The Somali Republic signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified on 30 September 2015, and the convention entered into force for the country on 1 March 2016.

It is unclear if Somalia will undertake national implementing legislation to enforce the convention’s provisions.

As of 1 July 2018, Somalia still had not submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was originally due on 31 August 2016.

In December 2017, Somalia voted in favor of a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that calls on states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[1] Somalia also voted in favor of the first UNGA resolution on the convention in December 2015.[2]

Somalia attended one meeting of the Oslo Process that produced the convention, in Vienna in December 2007.[3]

Somalia participated in the convention’s annual Meetings of States Parties in 2011–2012 and 2014, as well as intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2013–2014. It has not attended any meetings of the convention since then, such as the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2017.

In 2014, Somalia said, “we denounce ongoing use of cluster munitions” in South Sudan and Syria, as well as reported cluster munition use in Ukraine.[4] Somalia has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2017.[5]

Somalia is a party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

In September 2014, Somalia informed States Parties that it “is not a user, producer, or stockpiling state” of cluster munitions.[6]

Cluster munitions remnants have been cleared from the country’s border areas. For example, in March 2016, deminers found an unexploded submunition from a BL755 cluster bomb in Bardera (Baardheere) in Gedo region and found a PTAB-2.5M submunition in Dinsoor in the Bay region in September 2016.[7]

Previous use

Kenya, a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, has denied an allegation that it used cluster munitions in Somalia in 2016.[8] In January 2016, a Somali media outlet reported an alleged cluster munition attack in the Gedo region of Somalia and published photographs reportedly taken at the site of the attack that show dead livestock and the remnants of UK-made BL755 cluster bombs and their submunitions.[9] The article stated that the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) carried out the attack against the non-state armed group al-Shabaab after Kenyan troops were forced to retreat from their base near the Somali border town of El Adde. The governor of Gedo region, Mohamed Abdi Kalil, accused the KDFof attacking the area around Bardere city “using illegal cluster bombs.”[10]

A UN investigation reported to the Security Council on 9 May 2016 that:

“In addition to civilian casualties, air strikes by the Kenyan military from 15 to 23 January in the Gedo region reportedly resulted in the killing of livestock and the destruction of water wells and houses. In this regard, allegations of cluster munitions were reported by the media and local communities. However, the Government of Kenya has officially denied them. Unexploded sub-munitions are reported to have been used by Al-Shabaab as improvised explosive devices during attacks. On 31 January, the Federal Government announced a committee to investigate the impact of the air strikes, but the committee has yet to begin its work.”[11]

The Monitor also could not conclusively determine on the basis of available evidence if Kenya used cluster munitions in January 2016. A UN Monitoring Group investigation reported that al-Shabaab repurposed unexploded submunitions from BL755 cluster munitions as components for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), according to an arms cache seized by anti-al-Shabaab forces in Bardera on 7 March 2016.[12]

Previously, in 2013, mine clearance operators working in Somalia near the border with Ethiopia cleared cluster munition remnants believed to date from the 1977–1978 Ogaden War between Somalia and Ethiopia, but it is unclear who was responsible for the use.[13] Somalia has commented that the cluster munition contamination near its border with Ethiopia dates from the “border wars of 1978–1984,” but has not indicated who was responsible for this use.[14]



[1]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 72/54, 4 December 2017.

[2]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.

[3] For details on Somalia’s policyand practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 153.

[4] Statement of Somalia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 2 September 2014.

[5]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 71/191, 19 December 2017. Somalia voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2014 and 2016.

[6] Statement of Somalia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 2 September 2014.

[7] Email from Mohammad Sediq Rashid, UNMAS, 8 June 2017.

[8] UN Security Council, “Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia (S/2016/430),” 9 May 2016, p. 10, para. 51.

[9]Losses shelling forces arrested Gedo and Juba,” Calanka Media, 24 January 2016. See also, “Sawirro: Kenya Oo Qaaday Weerar Culus Oo Aar goosi Ah!!,” Somalia Memo, 24 January 2016.

[10] Mohamed Abdi Kalil (@GovernorKalil), “‪#KDF‪jets pounded #Bardere city area southern #Gedo region, killing Civilians, destroying livestock Using illegal cluster bombs #Somalia @UN,”8:02am, 5 March 2016, Tweet.

[11] UN Security Council, “Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia S/2016/430,” 9 May 2016, p. 10, para. 51. The January 2017 Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia did not include an update on the committee.

[12] Ibid.

[13] In April 2013, the director of the Somalia National Mine Action Authority (SNMAA) informed the Monitor that dozens of PTAB-2.5M and some AO-1SCh submunitions were found within a 30-kilometer radius of the Somali border town of Dolow. It is not possible to determine definitively who was responsible for this cluster munition use. The Soviet Union supplied both sides in the Ogaden War, and foreign military forcesknown to have cluster munitions fought in support of Ethiopia, including the Soviet Union and Cuba. Email from Mohammed A. Ahmed, SNMAA, 17 April 2013. Photographs of the cluster munition remnants are available here.

[14] Statement of Somalia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 2 September 2014.