April 3, 2016 marks the third anniversary of the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), an agreement that regulates the trade of conventional weapons. The Treaty aims to prevent arms from being used to commit acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, terrorism, or other war crimes. This is an important step in the fight against weapons proliferation. Handicap International advocates for governments to adopt and enforce the treaty as part of its mission to protect civilians.Read more
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
A new Handicap International program is helping to safeguard civilians who were living in proximity to poorly secured weapons and munitions depots in Niger.Read more