Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 08 July 2019

Summary: Non-signatory Thailand acknowledges the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to accede. Thailand participates in meetings of the convention. It voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2018.

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 2011 border dispute.


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

A senior Royal Thai Army officer met with the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) on 9 July 2018 and said Thailand is not be in a position to join the convention in the near future. [1] Thailand has previously acknowledged the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to join the convention besides studying its provisions. [2] After Thailand fired cluster munition rockets into Cambodia during a 2011 border conflict, Thailand’s foreign minister told the UN Security Council the government was “seriously considering joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions.” [3]

Thailand participated in the diplomatic conferences of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but it attended the formal negotiations in May 2008 only as an observer. Thailand did not sign the convention when it was opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008. [4]

Thailand has participated as an observer in the convention’s meetings, but it did not attend the Eighth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2018. [5] Thailand participated in a regional workshop on the convention in Vientiane, Lao PDR in April 2019 and has hosted regional meetings on the convention. [6]

In December 2018, 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.” [7] It has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

Thailand has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning continued use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2018. [8]

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 2018, a military official said that Thailand has no cluster munitions in the operational stockpile as they were transferred years ago to a training stockpile that is inaccessible to active military units. [9] While there are no plans to change this policy, the Monitor will not remove Thailand from the list of cluster munition stockpilers after it receives official confirmation in writing.

Thailand possesses a stockpile of cluster munitions, but said in December 2008 that it does not intend to acquire more cluster munitions. [10]

The United States (US) supplied Thailand with 500 Rockeye and 200 CBU-71 air-dropped cluster bombs at some point between 1970 and 1995. [11] 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. [12]

Thailand also possesses French-made NR-269 ERFB extended-range 155mm artillery projectiles, each containing 56 M42/M46-type [13] dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions. [14] Based on the types of submunitions identified in Cambodia after the February 2011 artillery strikes, Thailand also possesses a cluster munition that delivers M85 DPICM submunitions.

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and other technical experts have provided advice and information on possible options for destroying Thailand’s stockpile of cluster munitions. [15]


In February 2011, Thai military forces fired cluster munitions during fighting at the Preah Vihear temple on a disputed part of the border, according to the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), a government entity. [16] Thailand fired ground-delivered cluster munitions into 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] At first, Thailand denied using cluster munitions then stated that it “fully understands the concerns raised.” [19]

 [1] CMC meeting with Maj. Gen. Thongchai Rodyoi, Director, Office of Operations, Royal Thai Army Headquarters, Bangkok, 9 July 2018.

 [2] 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.

 [3] 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.

 [4] 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.

 [5] Thailand participated as an observer in the convention’s Meeting of States Parties in 2010–2017, the First Review Conference in 2015, and intersessional meetings in 2011–2015.

 [6] Regional Seminar on Landmines, Cluster Munitions and Explosive Remnants of War, Vientiane, Lao DPR, 29–30 April 2019. See, “Experts Discuss Landmine-related Risks At A Regional Seminar,” Lao News Agency, 2 May 2019. Previously, EU Nonproliferation Consortium, “Cooperating to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions: the country coalition concept,” Bangkok, 16–17 March 2017.

 [7]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 73/54, 5 December 2018.

 [8]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 73/182, 17 December 2018. Thailand voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2017.

 [9] CMC meeting with Maj. Gen. Thongchai Rodyoi, Royal Thai Army, Bangkok, 9 July 2018.

 [10] 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.

 [11] 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.

 [12] 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.

 [13] 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 smooth interior surface. A portion of the interior of the M42 DPICM body is scored for greater fragmentation.

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

 [15] Email from Lee Moroney, Programme Manager, NPA, 17 August 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; and Statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 27 June 2011. Notes by the CMC.