Iraq Bans Cluster Munitions

Iraq joins global cluster bomb ban.


On May 14, Iraq took a bold step in the fight against the indiscriminate weapons that make Iraq one of the world's most contaminated. Accession to the Convention on Cluster Munitions involves the destruction of these weapons of death and assistance for the thousands of Iraqi victims. Iraq depositing its instrument of ratification in New-York at the United Nations, making it the 83rd State Party to this life-saving Convention.  

Iraq’s ratification represents a landmark moment for the Convention, given the history of use in Iraq, and its ongoing impact on communities.

Iraq’s ratification of the treaty comes one decade after cluster munition strikes during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. During the 2003 conflict, the U.S. and U.K. used nearly 13,000 cluster munitions, containing an estimated 1.8 million to 2 million submunitions.

Cluster munitions were also used during the 1991 Gulf War, leaving a deadly legacy of submunition contamination in Iraq.

After Laos, Iraq has the second highest number of recorded cluster munition casualties in the world. Data available is incomplete, but latest figures in the Cluster Munition Monitor show more than 3,000 recorded casualties in Iraq as of 2011—an estimated quarter of these casualties were children. Iraq's accession to the Oslo treaty, banning cluster munitions, represents a major step to prevent further accidents, to decontaminate the country and to provide adequate assistance to victims.

Handicap International first intervened in Iraq in 1991, supporting victims of the Gulf War. As well as performing risk education on mines and explosive remnants of war (grenades, shells, rockets or cluster bombs), the organization also plans to raise awareness of the dangers involved in the improper use of small arms, especially guns. The organization continues to provide support to the KORD orthopedic-fitting center, which Handicap International founded when it first intervened in Iraqi Kurdistan.