Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 03 July 2018

Summary: Non-signatory Thailand acknowledges the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to accede to the convention. Thailand has participated in every meeting of the convention and voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2017.

Thailand is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions, but it has imported them and possesses a stockpile. Thailand’s only known use of cluster munitions was in Cambodia during a February 2011 border dispute.


The Kingdom of Thailand has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Thailand acknowledges the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to join the convention besides studying the implications of accession.[1] Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kasit Piromya, told the UN Security Council in 2011 that “We are seriously considering joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions.”[2] However, Thailand never operationalized that pledge, made after its forces fired cluster munition rockets into Cambodia during a border conflict.

Thailand participated in most of the diplomatic conferences of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but attended the formal negotiations in May 2008 only as an observer and did not sign the convention when it was opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008.[3]

Thailand has participated as an observer in the convention’s First Review Conference in 2015 and every Meeting of States Parties, most recently the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2017. It attended the convention’s intersessional meetings 2011–2015 and has hosted and participated in regional meetings and workshops on the convention, most recently in Bangkok in March 2017.[4]

In December 2017, Thailand voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that urges states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[5] It voted in favor of previous UNGA resolutions promoting implementation and universalization of the convention in 2015 and 2016.[6]

Thailand has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning continued use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2017.[7]

Thailand is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Thailand is not known to have ever produced or exported cluster munitions.

In July 2018, the Thai Military informed the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) that it does not have any cluster munitions in the operational stockpile as they were transferred some years ago to a training stockpile that is inaccessible to active military units.[8] There are no plans to change this policy. The Monitor will remove Thailand from the list of cluster munition stockpilers after it receives official confirmation in writing.

Thailand possesses a stockpile of cluster munitions, but has not disclosed information on the types or quantities possessed. In December 2008, Thailand announced that it does not intend to acquire more cluster munitions.[9]

The United States (US) supplied Thailand with 500 Rockeye and 200 CBU-71 air-dropped cluster bombs at some point between 1970 and 1995.[10] Thailand also received 2,806 cluster munitions containing 850,268 submunitions from the US after the US War Reserve Stock in Thailand (WRS-THAI) was dissolved by a 2002 agreement.[11]

Thailand also possesses French-made NR-269 ERFB extended-range 155mm artillery projectiles, each containing 56 M42/M46-type[12] dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions.[13] Based on the types of submunitions identified in Cambodia after the February 2011 artillery strikes, Thailand also possesses a cluster munition that delivers M85 self-destructing DPICM submunitions.

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) has provided the government with advice and information on possible solutions for the destruction of Thailand’s stockpile of cluster munitions.[14]


In 2009 and 2010, Thai and Cambodian military forces engaged in several brief skirmishes over disputed parts of the border near the Preah Vihear temple, resulting in claims and counter-claims of new antipersonnel mine use.[15] In February 2011, the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), a government entity, claimed that Thai military forces fired cluster munitions during fighting on the border at Preah Vihear.[16] Separate missions by CMC members in February and April 2011 confirmed that ground-delivered cluster munitions were used by Thailand on Cambodian territory, including M42/M46 and M85-type DPICM submunitions.[17]

Thailand’s use of cluster munitions generated widespread concern and provoked a strong international response.[18] Thailand at first denied using cluster munitions.[19] It then stated that it “fully understands the concerns raised” over the cluster munition use and promised to “remain committed to engaging with the international community on this issue.”[20]

[1] Statement of Thailand, Sixth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 6 September 2016. Previously, in October 2015, Thailand said it was“in the process of verifying scope and meaning under the CCM [Convention on Cluster Munitions], with a view to possible accession in the future.” Statement of Thailand, UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 26 October 2015.

[2] Statement by Kasit Piromya, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, UN Security Council, New York, 14 February 2011. Government officials also expressed Thailand’s intent to accede to the convention in “the near future.” Statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 27 June 2011. Notes by the CMC.

[3] For details on Thailand’s policy and 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), pp. 245–246.

[4] EU Nonproliferation Consortium, “Cooperating to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions: the country coalition concept,” Bangkok, 16–17 March 2017.

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

[6] “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016; and “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.

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

[8] CMC meeting with Major General Thongchai Rodyoi, Director, Office of Operations, Royal Thai Army Headquarters, Bangkok, 9 July 2018.

[9] Interview with Cherdkiat Atthakor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangkok, 24 February 2010; and statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 4 December 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[10] US Defense Security Assistance Agency, Department of Defense, “Cluster Bomb Exports under FMS, FY1970–FY1995,” obtained by Human Rights Watch in a Freedom of Information Act request, 28 November 1995.

[11] Department of State, “Memorandum of Agreement between the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and THAILAND Signed at Bangkok November 26, 2002.” The stockpile was comprised of 1,000 M483 and 432 M449A1 artillery projectiles, and 200 CBU-58, 200 Mk-20 Rockeye II, 100 CBU-52, 800 CBU-71, and 74 CBU-87 air-dropped bombs. The cluster munitions were stored at the Korat Munitions Storage Area at the time of the 2002 agreement. See, Andrew Haag, “Thailand received cluster munitions from the United States in 2002–2005,” Landmine and cluster munitions blog, 19 January 2016.

[12] The DPICM submunition is often called a “grenade.” A certain amount of contradictory information exists publicly about the specific type of DPICM submunition contained in the NR269 projectile. France lists it as an “M42 type” in its initial Article 7 report in January 2011. Other international ammunition reference publications list the type as M46. There is little outward visual difference between the two types: the M46 DPICM is heavier/thicker and has a smoothinterior surface. A portion of the interior of the M42 DPICM body is scored for greater fragmentation.

[13] NPA, “Impact Assessment Report: Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia,” undated, but circulated 3 April 2011.

[14] Email from Lee Moroney, Programme Manager, NPA, 17 August 2010.

[15] See, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2009: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2009), pp. 243–244 and 719–710; and ICBL, Landmine Monitor 2010: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010).

[17] For full analysis of the 2011 use incident, see CMC, Cluster Munition Monitor 2011 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2011), pp. 319–320. The missions were conducted by Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs (on 9 February and 12 February) and NPA (1–2 April). CMC press release, “CMC condemns Thai use of cluster munitions in Cambodia,” 5 April 2011.

[18] For example, the Beirut Progress Report issued by the convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties stated: “Several states have reported actions reacting to the instance of use of cluster munitions by Thailand in 2011. This includes individual and joint demarches, support for fact-finding missions and condemnation of the use in public statements. The President of the Convention has also issued a statement, stating his concern over the use of cluster munitions. States and civil society have reported on how they follow up, in terms of actions to increase the understanding and knowledge of the Convention. States and civil society have had a good dialogue with Thailand.” “Draft Beirut Progress Report: Monitoring progress in implementing the Vientiane Action Plan from the First up to the Second Meeting of States Parties,” CCM/MSP/2011/WP.5, 25 August 2011.

[19] Guy De Launey, “Thailand ‘admits cluster bombs used against Cambodia,’” BBC News, 6 April 2011.

[20] Statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 27 June 2011. Notes by the CMC.