Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 September 2023

Summary: Non-signatory Qatar has never shared its views on joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Qatar last participated as an observer at a meeting of the convention in September 2019. Qatar abstained from voting on a key United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2022.

Qatar is not known to have used, produced, or exported cluster munitions, but it has imported them and possesses a stockpile.


The State of Qatar has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Non-signatory Qatar has never elaborated its position on joining the convention.[1]

Qatar participated in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and joined in its consensus adoption in Dublin in May 2008. Yet Qatar attended the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 only as an observer and did not sign the convention.[2]

Qatar did not attend the convention’s Tenth Meeting of States Parties held in Geneva in August–September 2022. However, it has participated as an observer at most meetings of the convention, including the intersessional meeting in Geneva in May 2022.[3]

In December 2022, Qatar abstained from voting on a key UNGA resolution that called on states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[4] Qatar voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention for the first time in 2020. It abstained from voting on the resolution in 2015–2019 and in 2021.

Qatar has not condemned use of cluster munitions in Ukraine, but it has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning use of cluster munitions in Syria.[5] In 2012, Qatar said it was “appalled” by the Syrian government’s use of “cluster munitions against its own people.”[6]

Qatar 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

Qatar is not known to have produced cluster munitions.

A Qatari official told the Monitor in 2011 that Qatar has never used or exported cluster munitions.[7]

Qatar has imported cluster munitions and possesses a stockpile.[8] In the past, it acquired ASTROS II cluster munition rockets from Brazil.[9]

Foreign stockpiling

The United States (US) military may stockpile cluster munitions on Qatar’s territory, according to a 2008 US diplomatic cable that stated, “The U.S. stores cluster munitions in Qatar. Post reports that it is unknown whether Qatar is aware that U.S. cluster munitions are stored there.”[10]

[1] Government officials have often told the CMC that Qatar is studying the convention and the implications of joining. CMC interview with Lt. Abdulaziz Hamdan Al-Ahmad, Secretary of the National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons, in Geneva, 5 September 2017; CMC interview with Brig.-Gen. Ahmad Abdulrahim Al-Abdellah, Ministry of Defense, in Lusaka, 11 September 2013; Monitor interview with Brig.-Gen. Nasser al-Ali, Chair of National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons, Qatar Armed Forces, in Beirut, 13 September 2011; and letter from Amb. Nassir Adbulaziz al-Nasser, Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations (UN) in New York, to Human Rights Watch (HRW), 9 March 2009.

[2] For more details on Qatar’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 228–229.

[3] Qatar has missed only two meetings of the convention: the Eighth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2018, and the Second Review Conference held in November 2020 and September 2021.

[4]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022.   

[5]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 77/230, 15 December 2022. Qatar voted in favor of similar UNGA resolutions on Syria from 2013–2021.

[6] Email from Anna Fritzsche, Campaign and Research Assistant, Crisis Action, 16 October 2012.

[7] Monitor interview with Brig.-Gen. al-Ali, National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons, Qatar Armed Forces, in Beirut, 13 September 2011.

[8] In 2013, a Ministry of Defense representative confirmed that Qatar possesses cluster munitions, but has only used them in training. CMC interview with Brig.-Gen. Al-Abdellah, Qatar Ministry of Defense, in Lusaka, 11 September 2013.

[9] Terry J. Gander and Charles Q. Cutshaw, eds. Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2001–2002 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2001), pp. 630–631.

[10] The cable also states that “Post suspects that if Qatar does sign the treaty, the Qataris would want to ensure no cluster munitions are stored there, though to Post’s knowledge this is not something the U.S. has ever discussed with Doha. The U.S. would need to make a direct inquiry to determine if Qatar is going to sign and to discover Qatari intentions. Post anticipates Qatar would request removal of cluster munitions if Qatar signed and were aware of U.S. stocks.” The cable also stated that “Unlike other potential signatory states (Germany, Japan, UK) where U.S. military forces store cluster munitions, Italy, Spain, and Qatar have not yet approached the Department or DoD on this issue.” See, “Demarche to Italy, Spain and Qatar Regarding Convention on Cluster Munitions,” US Department of State cable 08STATE125632 dated 26 November 2008, released by Wikileaks on 1 September 2011.