Weapons used in five countries—a rate unseen since global ban entered into force
The Cluster Munition Monitor 2015, released in Geneva on September 3, finds that cluster munitions have been used in five countries since July 1, 2014. This is most use recorded since the Oslo Treaty banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of cluster munitions worldwide came into force in 2010.
Handicap International is calling on States Parties to systematically condemn the use of these barbaric weapons, in order to ensure the treaty continues to protect civilians. “When States Parties fail to condemn new uses of cluster munitions, we all run the risk of diluting the treaty’s strength,” says Handicap International Advocacy Manager, Marion Libertucci. “The lack of outrage gives the impression that non-States Parties can use these devastating weapons with total impunity. This is unacceptable.”
From Sept. 7, States Parties to the Treaty will attend The Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The annual conference gives the international community a chance to redouble its efforts to prevent further use of cluster munitions.
The Cluster Munition Monitor 2015, which provides an overview of the application of the Oslo Treaty, reports that cluster munitions were used between July 2014 and July 2015 in Libya, Syria, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen—all non-signatory States. According to the Monitor, cluster munitions were used in two countries in 2011, two in 2012, and three in 2013.
Syria saw the highest number of new victims of cluster munitions since the treaty entered into force, with 1,968 reported victims of sub-munitions between 2012 and 2014—a particularly appalling record.
Although more than 140 countries condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria, their use in Yemen, Ukraine, Sudan, and Libya was not unanimously and firmly condemned by the international community. “Only by systematically condemning their use and, as a result, stigmatizing those responsible and calling on all States to sign the treaty, will the international community be able to reduce and eventually eradicate the use of cluster munitions,” Libertucci says.
Access to victim assistance is lacking in the affected states. “Although States Parties have made a lot of progress with respect to victim assistance, the States affected are still finding it difficult to fund necessary services for victims, who all too often live in extremely difficult conditions,” Libertucci says.
According to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2014, 92% of victims recorded between 2010 and 2014 were civilians, half of whom were children.
Undeniable progress in implementing the treaty
The use of sub-munitions since July 2014, distracts from the progress made in implementing the Oslo Convention, which has been signed by 117 countries to date.
- Stockpile destruction: Since the signing of the Convention in 2008, 27 States Parties have destroyed more than 1.3 million cluster munitions and more than 160 million sub-munitions, respectively 88% and 90% of the stockpiles held by States Parties. Roughly a dozen States have already completed the total destruction of their stockpiles, in advance of statutory deadlines.
- Clearance: Between 2010 and 2014, more than 255 square meters of land have been cleared of cluster munition remnants worldwide, and 295,000 sub-munitions have been destroyed. Eight States Parties have finished clearing their contaminated land.
Read the full report by clicking here: www.the-monitor.org/en-gb/reports/2015/cluster-munition-monitor-2015.aspx
About Handicap International
Handicap International is an independent international aid organization. It has been working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for 33 years. Working alongside persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, our action and testimony are focused on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Since it was founded, Handicap International has set up development programs in more than 60 countries, and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) works constantly to mobilize resources, jointly manage projects and to increase the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. Handicap International is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, and Handicap International is the 2011 winner of the Conrad N. Hilton Prize. Handicap International takes action and campaigns in places where “standing tall” is no easy task.
 The Cluster Munition Monitor 2015, which is coordinated by Handicap International with three other NGOs, is the sixth annual report of its kind. It reports on a complete range of cluster munition issues including ban policy, use, production, trade and stockpiling around the world. It also provides information on contamination by cluster munitions, weapons clearance and victim assistance. The report reviews developments in the second half of 2014, and the first half of 2015, and reports on advances made since the Convention entered into force in 2010.
 Of which there are ten new States Parties: Belize, Canada, Guinea, Guyana, Paraguay, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Slovakia, South Africa and The State of Palestine.
August 1, 2015 is the 5th anniversary of the entry into force of the Oslo Convention banning the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. Despite the clear success of the convention, which 117 countries have signed, cluster munitions were still being used in conflicts in 2015.Read more
Death Sentence to Civilians: The Long-Term Impact of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas in Yemen (June 2020)
In five years of war, Yemen has experienced every manner of explosive weapons—aerial bombs and missiles, artillery, mortars, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and much more. The explosions destroy bridges, ports, roads, hospitals, water systems, and generate long lasting civilian harm. The Humanity & Inclusion report highlights six case studies, showing the extent and impact of such bombings. Download the report, "Death Sentence to Civilians: The Long-Term Impact of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas in Yemen."
Whenever a weapon is fired, dropped, launched, or projected, there is always a chance it will not explode and become an unexploded ordnance (UXO). This chance (known as the "failure rate") is highest when a munition's fuse fails due to age, design flaws, or human error during the fusing procedure. This report pulls data and experience from humanitarian demining groups including Humanity & Inclusion, MAG, and Norwegian People's Aid, and supports the drafting of a political declaration on explosive weapons in populated areas. The two-page brief may be downloaded here.
The Waiting List: Addressing the immediate and long-term needs of victims of explosive weapons in Syria (September 2019)
This report looks at the challenges linked to the use of explosive weapons in the Syrian context for the provision of adequate immediate assistance and to plan for mid- to long-term assistance to the victims of explosive violence, to ensure their full recovery and inclusion into society. Read more here.
The executive summary may be downloaded by clicking here.
This brochure gives an overview of HI's history which is closely intertwined with the fight against armed violence, including the use of anti-personnel landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of war. It provides an outline of our unique expertise in demining and land clearance, risk education, and victim assistance. Read more here.
This report features in-depth interviews of more than 200 Syrian refugees in Lebanon who confirm and detail the devastating and lasting social and economic effects of the use of explosive weapons. Over half of the refugees interviewed were displaced within Syria before fleeing to Lebanon, experiencing consequences ranging from personal injury to the death of one of more family members, the destruction of homes, infrastructure and/or livelihoods. The report finds women are most vulnerable. Read more here.
This report identifies indiscriminate bombing of civilians as the overriding factor forcing millions of Syrians to flee their homes. Based on interviews with Syrian refugees in July 2016, a document review, and expert interviews, the report identifies the large scale use of explosive weapons in populated areas as the most significant cause of the mass displacement of Syrians. More than 10.9 million Syrians have been affected, equivalent to more than half of the country’s population. Syrians interviewed for the report said they were subject to multiple displacements within Syria—up to 25 times after successive attacks—before seeking refuge abroad. Repeated displacement causes extreme poverty and serious psychological distress. Read more here.
As a political declaration on the prevention of civilian harm from the use of explosive weapons is successfully moving forward, civil society, national and international organizations continue working alongside governments to ensure that the declaration will be comprehensive, and will effectively respond to the expectations of those who have suffered from the consequences of the use of explosive weapons.
With the aim of contributing to the Political Declaration process, Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Humanity & Inclusion launched an initiative with civil society and international organizations along with survivors to develop a common understanding on the needs and the rights of victims of explosive weapons. They developed recommendations regarding victim assistance provisions in the future political declaration, which will be presented during a side event, on the 5th. Read more here.
Kenya: An impact assessment of the armed violence reduction project in North Western Keny (Jan 2015)
The North Rift Valley communities suffer from high levels of insecurity. Armed violence is fed by the proliferation and use of illegal arms related to inter-ethnic rivalries, scare resources competition, and uncontrolled arms circulation. In Aug. 2014, Humanity & Inclusion launched an armed violence reduction project in the Pokot West and Trans-Nzoia Counties, focused on the reduction of the risk factors and armed violence motivations. Alongside its Kenyan partners, Justice and Peace Center and Free Pentecostal Fellowship of Kenya, we worked to enhance the perception of security among the communities, and to establish a way for the communities and security agents to both discuss matters, and gain confidence in one another. This report evaluates the impact of the project's first five months. View the report here.
The Gaza Strip population was exposed to a long-term, and acute military operation for 51 days during the summer of 2014.
The whole population was affected in one way or another. This report sheds light on the emergency response services delivered to the different beneficiaries.
This report details the conclusions of a one year study into the relationship between armed violence and disability. The study was based on data collected from police forces and hospitals, and a survey conducted between May 2011 and April 2012 in four towns or provinces of countries particularly affected by this scourge: Medellin, Colombia; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Karamoja, Uganda; and Peshawar, Pakistan. View the report here.