Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 13 September 2021


Non-signatory Vietnam has acknowledged the human suffering caused by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to join the convention. It has participated in a meeting of the convention in September 2019. However, Vietnam abstained from voting on a key United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2020.

Vietnam states that it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions. The United States (US) used air-delivered cluster munitions extensively in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s.


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

Vietnam has expressed support for the convention’s humanitarian objectives, but it has not taken any steps to accede to it. Vietnam has said it would be unable to comply with the convention’s provisions, particularly the obligation to clear areas contaminated by cluster munition remnants within 10 years.[1] It has also criticized the convention’s alleged lack of a “mechanism” for ensuring international support and cooperation. It often flags the need for cluster munition “users, producers and exporters” to join the convention and take responsibility “for assisting affected countries.”[2]

Vietnam participated in two international Oslo Process conferences to develop the convention text, but attended the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 and the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 only as an observer.[3]

Vietnam participated in a regional conference on cluster munitions in Bali, Indonesia in 2009, and an international conference in Santiago, Chile in 2010.

Vietnam has participated as an observer in meetings of the convention, most recently at the Ninth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2019.[4] It was invited to, but did not attend the first part of the convention’s Second Review Conference held virtually in November 2020.

In December 2020, Vietnam abstained from the vote on a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution urging states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[5] Vietnam has abstained from the vote on the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

Vietnam is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Vietnam signed the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in 1981, but never ratified it.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Vietnam told States Parties in 2012 that, “We do not produce, store, use or encourage to [sic] use cluster munitions.”[6]

In the past, some officials have said that Vietnam does not stockpile cluster munitions, but others were less certain.[7] A 2010 position paper by the government of Vietnam states that “foreign reports” show that it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.[8]

In 2004, Jane’s Information Group listed the Vietnam People’s Air Force as possessing KMGU submunition dispensers.[9]

The US used cluster munitions extensively in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, creating a legacy of contamination.

[1] Explanation of Vote on UN General Assembly (UNGA) Draft Resolution L.49/Rev.1, Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, UNGA Official Records, 70th Session: First Committee, 24th Meeting, New York, 4 November 2015. In 2012, Vietnam told States Parties of its “strong support for the humanitarian goal of the Convention” but was “not be in a position to complete clearance under the Article 4 deadline of ten years.” Statement of Vietnam, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, 11 September 2012. In 2011, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs said that “responsibilities should be laid with countries that had produced, used and exported cluster munitions” and expressed concern at the convention’s 10-year clearance deadline as Vietnam is “seriously affected by cluster munitions” and has “limited resources.” Statement by Le Luong Minh, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the workshop on Joint Efforts in Mitigating the Consequences of Bomb and Mine Remnants of War, Hanoi, 5 December 2011.

[2] Statement of Vietnam, Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meetings, Geneva, 7 April 2014.

[3] For more details on Vietnam’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. 261–262.

[4] Vietnam participated as an observer in all of the convention’s Meetings of States Parties except in 2014 and 2018. It attended the convention’s First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015, as well as intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2011–2014. Vietnam has also participated in regional workshops on the convention, such as a virtual meeting for ASEAN military officials convened by the Philippines in July 2020.

[5] “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions”, UNGA Resolution 75/62, 7 December 2020.

[6] Statement of Vietnam, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, 11 September 2012.

[7] During a CMC mission in May 2010, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said there were no stocks, but a Ministry of Defense official was not clear on the issue. Thomas Nash, “Report on Cluster Munition Coalition Visit to Vietnam, 10–11 May 2010.”

[8] “Vietnam’s Position on Cluster Munition Convention,” undated. Provided to the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition on 26 May 2010.

[9] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2004), p. 848.