Cluster Munition Ban Policy
Non-signatory Estonia accepts the humanitarian rationale for banning cluster munitions, but has never taken any steps to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Estonia has never participated in a meeting of the convention, even as an observer. It abstained from voting on the key annual United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2021.
Estonia states that it has never used or produced cluster munitions. Estonia has shared limited information on its cluster munition stockpile.
The Republic of Estonia has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Estonia acknowledges the humanitarian rationale of the convention, but states it has not acceded “due to security considerations.” Previously, in 2012 and 2013, Estonia said it could not join the convention due to the cost and time involved in replacing its stockpiled cluster munitions.
Estonia participated throughout the Oslo Process to develop the Convention on Cluster Munitions and joined in its consensus adoption in Dublin in May 2008, where it described the convention as a “remarkable achievement” that it would consider further.
Estonia has never participated in a meeting of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, even as an observer. It was invited to, but did not attend, the convention’s Second Review Conference held in November 2020 and September 2021.
Estonia abstained from voting on the key United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution in December 2021, which urged states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” It has abstained from the vote on the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.
In 2015–2018, Estonia endorsed a joint UNGA statement on cluster munitions made by Poland on behalf of itself and three other European Union (EU) member states—Finland, Greece, and Romania—that are not party to the convention, reiterating the need to meet their own “legitimate security concerns and military and defence needs.”
In March 2022, Estonia endorsed a joint statement by eight Nordic-Baltic states condemning Russia’s use of cluster munitions in Ukraine, calling it one of several “inhuman and immoral actions [that] embody Russia’s disregard for international law, including international humanitarian law, and the principles upon which the UN is based.” In May 2022, four Estonian journalists were caught in a Russian cluster munition rocket attack in Ukraine’s Donetsk province.
Estonia has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria. It has also voted for Human Rights Council resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria.
Estonia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
In 2012, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed that Estonia “has never produced or used cluster munitions offensively and has no intention to do so in the future.”
Estonia is not known to have exported cluster munitions.
Estonia possesses cluster munitions but has never explained how it acquired them or provided information on the quantity and types stockpiled.
In 2009 and 2010, Estonia’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Paet, told the Monitor that the Estonian Defense Forces possess DM632 155mm artillery projectiles in “small amounts…for training and defensive purposes.”
 Permanent Mission of Estonia to the UN in Geneva, “Arms control,” undated. In an April 2016 letter, the director for security policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Estonia “is not yet in a position to sign and ratify” the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but fully supports the instrument’s “humanitarian goals.” Letter to Mary Wareham, Advocacy Director, Arms Division, Human Rights Watch (HRW), from Mariin Ratnik, Security Policy Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, 13 April 2016.
 Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) Austria meeting with Pirit Pikker, Advisor, International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Defence, Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Seventh Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, November 2013; and Letter No. 3-31/6134-1 from Väino Reinart, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs and Development Cooperation, and Acting Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Laura Cheeseman, Director, CMC, 16 October 2012.
 For details on Estonia’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 200–201.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 76/47, 6 December 2021.
 Statement of Poland (on behalf of Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Romania), UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 8 November 2018; statement of Poland (on behalf of Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Romania), UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 31 October 2017; statement of Poland (on behalf of Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Romania), UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 31 October 2016; and statement of Poland (on behalf of Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Romania), UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 4 November 2015. Poland did not provide a statement on behalf of the same group of states at the UNGA in 2019 or 2020.
 Statement by Lithuania on behalf of eight Nordic-Baltic states (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden), UNGA, New York, 23 March 2022.
 The journalists were Anton Alekseev and Christian Svirgsden from ERR and Jaanus Piirsalu and Dmitry Kotyukh from Postimees. See, International Press Institute, “Estonian and German journalists caught in shelling in Donetsk region,” 12 May 2022.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 75/193, 16 December 2020. Estonia voted in favor of similar UNGA resolutions in 2013–2019.
 “The grave and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” Human Rights Council Resolution 29/L.4, 2 July 2015. Estonia voted in favor of similar Human Rights Council resolutions in 2013 and 2014.
 Letter No. 3-31/6134-1 from Väino Reinart, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Laura Cheeseman, CMC, 16 October 2012; Letter No. 3.3-1/3080-1 from Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, 6 April 2011; Letter No. 03.3-1/4591 from Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, 29 March 2010; and Letter No. 3.3-1/5341 from Foreign Minister Urmas Paet to Judith Majlath, CMC Austria, 27 April 2010.
 Letter No. 03.3-1/4591 from Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, 29 March 2010; and letter from Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, 12 February 2009. Manufactured by Germany, each DM632 cluster munition projectile contains 63 DM-1383 submunitions with self-destruct features.