© CMC, 22 June 2009
De-fuzed submunitions prepared for destruction in Germany.
Cluster munitions have been banned by the majority of the world’s nations because of the grave dangers that they pose to civilian populations—due to the very nature of the weapon.
Cluster munitions consist of containers and submunitions. Launched from the ground or dropped from the air, the containers open and disperse submunitions indiscriminately over a wide area. Many fail to explode on impact, but remain dangerous, functioning like de facto antipersonnel landmines. Thus, cluster munitions put civilians at risk both during attacks due to their wide area effect and after attacks due to unexploded ordnance.
Cluster munitions have been used in at least three dozen countries and have killed and injured tens of thousands of civilians. Typically scattered in very large numbers, they not only cause civilian victims during and after attacks, but can also have a lasting socio-economic impact for months, years, or decades.
Cluster munitions can deny access to food, water, and other basic needs, and inhibit freedom of movement. They can prevent the repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons, and hamper the delivery of humanitarian aid. When countries must spend money clearing cluster munitions and assisting victims rather than funding other pressing needs, these weapons not only cause appalling human suffering, they can also present a lethal barrier to development and post-conflict reconstruction.
However, the humanitarian harm caused by cluster munitions to date is far less than that caused by antipersonnel mines, which have been used much more widely and in many more conflicts than cluster munitions. In fact, the effort to ban cluster munitions has, with some notable exceptions, been largely preventive in nature.
Before the ban movement began, at least 86 nations stockpiled millions of cluster munitions containing hundreds of millions—probably even billions—of submunitions. Given the predictable harm caused whenever cluster munitions are used, this was, simply put, a staggering human-made disaster in waiting.
The solution to the future threat and current problem caused by cluster munitions now exists. The Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force on 1 August 2010. It is a legally-binding international agreement banning cluster munitions because of their indiscriminate area effects and risk of UXO. The convention also provides a framework for tackling the existing problems that cluster munitions have caused.
The convention obliges states to stop the use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions immediately. States must destroy all stockpiled cluster munitions within eight years of becoming party to the convention, and clear all cluster munition remnants in areas under their jurisdiction or control within 10 years. The Convention on Cluster Munitions includes far-reaching provisions for victim assistance, and includes those killed or injured by cluster munitions, their families and affected communities in the definition of a cluster munition victim. These provisions set a new standard in international law. In addition, States Parties in a position to do so must provide assistance for the clearance of unexploded submunitions and other cluster munition remnants, for risk education programs to help prevent cluster munition casualties, for assistance to victims, and for stockpile destruction.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions provides a framework for taking action, but it must be universalized and effectively implemented. Just as they did in creating the convention, governments, the CMC, the ICRC, UN agencies, and all other partners must continue to work together to ensure the success of the effort to eradicate cluster munitions.
Cluster Munition Coalition
The CMC is an international coalition working to protect civilians from the effects of cluster munitions by promoting universal adherence to and full implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The CMC has a membership of approximately 350 civil society organizations from close to 100 countries, and includes organizations working on disarmament, peace and security, human rights, victim assistance, clearance, women’s rights, and faith issues. The CMC facilitates the efforts of NGOs worldwide to educate governments, the public, and the media about the global cluster munition problem and its solutions.
Like the ICBL, the CMC was established by a group of NGOs in response to a global problem, in this case the suffering caused by cluster munitions. From 2003–2006, the CMC called for negotiations to establish new international law to address the cluster munition problem. Throughout 2007 and 2008, the CMC actively participated in the diplomatic Oslo Process, facilitating and leading the global civil society action in favor of a ban on cluster munitions. This effort was crucial to the adoption and signature of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008.
In 2009 and 2010, the CMC engaged in an intensive global ratification campaign to ensure that 30 countries that had signed the convention ratified it without delay in order to bring the convention into force as quickly as possible. Its global signature campaign sought to expand the number of countries committed to the convention and the ban. The 30th ratification was achieved on 16 February 2010, and the convention entered into force on 1 August 2010 commemorated by events held in dozens of countries worldwide. In 2010, the CMC also pressed for early implementation of the convention, and devoted intense effort to preparations for the First Meeting of States Parties in Lao PDR in November.
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor provides research and monitoring for the CMC and the ICBL and is formally a program of the ICBL. It is the de facto monitoring regime for the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It monitors and reports on States Parties’ implementation of, and compliance with, the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and more generally, it assesses the international community’s response to the humanitarian problems caused by landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). The Monitor represents the first time that NGOs have come together in a coordinated, systematic, and sustained way to monitor humanitarian law or disarmament treaties, and to regularly document progress and problems, thereby successfully putting into practice the concept of civil society-based verification.
In June 1998, the ICBL created Landmine Monitor as an ICBL initiative. In 2008, Landmine Monitor also functionally became the research and monitoring arm of the CMC. In 2010, the initiative changed its name from Landmine Monitor to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor (known as “the Monitor”) to reflect its increased reporting on the cluster munition issue. A five-member Editorial Board coordinates the Monitor system: Mines Action Canada, Action On Armed Violence, Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, and Norwegian People’s Aid. Mines Action Canada serves as the lead agency. The Editorial Board assumes overall responsibility for, and decision-making on, the Monitor system.
The Monitor is not a technical verification system or a formal inspection regime. It is an attempt by civil society to hold governments accountable to the obligations they have taken on with respect to antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions. This is done through extensive collection, analysis, and distribution of publicly available information. Although in some cases it does entail investigative missions, the Monitor is not designed to send researchers into harm’s way and does not include hot war-zone reporting.
Monitor reporting complements transparency reporting by states required under international treaties. It reflects the shared view that transparency, trust, and mutual collaboration are crucial elements for the successful eradication of antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions. The Monitor was also established in recognition of the need for independent reporting and evaluation.
The Monitor aims to promote and advance discussion on mine, cluster munition, and ERW-related issues, and to seek clarifications, in order to help reach the goal of a world free of mines, cluster munitions, and other ERW. The Monitor works in good faith to provide factual information about issues it is monitoring, in order to benefit the international community as a whole.
For cluster munitions, the Monitor system features a global reporting network and an annual report. A network of over 80 Monitor researchers from 70 countries and other areas, and a 20-person Editorial Team gathered information to prepare this report. The researchers come from the CMC and ICBL’s campaigning coalitions and from other elements of civil society, including journalists, academics, and research institutions. Researchers contributed primarily to Country Profiles, also available on the Monitor’s website at www.the-monitor.org/cp.
Unless otherwise specified all translations were done by the Monitor.
As was the case in previous years, the Monitor acknowledges that this ambitious report is limited by the time, resources, and information sources available. The Monitor is a system that is continuously updated, corrected, and improved. Comments, clarifications, and corrections from governments and others are sought, in the spirit of dialogue, and in the common search for accurate and reliable information on an important subject.
About this Report
This is the first Cluster Munition Monitor report. It is the sister publication to the Landmine Monitor report, which has been issued annually since 1999.
Cluster Munition Monitor builds upon the 2009 report Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice, which was researched and written by Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action (now known as Action On Armed Violence), and published by the Monitor. Cluster Munition Monitor covers cluster munition ban policy, use, production, trade, and stockpiling for every country in the world, and also includes information on cluster munition contamination, casualties, clearance, and victim assistance. The report focuses on the period since Banning Cluster Munitions was published in May 2009, with information included up to August 2010 when possible.
A broad-based network of individuals, campaigns, and organizations produced this report. It was assembled by a dedicated team of research coordinators and editors, with the support of a significant number of donors.
Researchers are cited separately on the Monitor website at www.the-monitor.org/index.php/LM/About-Us/Experts.
The Monitor is grateful to everyone who contributed research to this report. We wish to thank the scores of individuals, campaigns, NGOs, international organizations, field practitioners, and governments who provided us with essential information.
We are grateful to CMC and ICBL staff for their review of the content of the report, and their crucial assistance in the release, distribution, and promotion of Monitor reports.
Responsibility for the coordination of Monitor’s reporting network lies with the five Editorial Board organizations: Mines Action Canada (Paul Hannon) manages the Monitor’s production and editing, and coordinates research on support for mine action and non-state armed groups; Action On Armed Violence (Richard Moyes) specializes in research on cluster munitions; Handicap International (Bruno Leclercq) coordinates research on casualty data and victim assistance; Human Rights Watch (Stephen Goose) is responsible for ban policy; and Norwegian People’s Aid (Stuart Casey-Maslen and Atle Karlsen) coordinates research on mine action. Jacqueline Hansen manages the Monitor.
The Editorial Team undertook research and initial country report edits for Cluster Munition Monitor from January to August 2010. The Editorial Team included:
- Ban policy: Stephen Goose (principal editor), Kate Castenson, Katherine Harrison, Mark Hiznay, Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, Mary Wareham, Kerri West;
- Mine action: Stuart Casey-Maslen (principal editor), Nick Cumming-Bruce, Emil Hasanov, Mike Kendellen;
- Casualties and victim assistance: Joohi Haleem and Katleen Maes (principal editors), Stéphane De Greef, Megan Burke, Loren Persi Vicentic; and
- Support for mine action: Mike Kendellen.
Stephen Goose provided final editing from August to September 2010 with assistance from Jacqueline Hansen (Program Manager); Katie Pitts and Tatiana Stephens (Project Officers); and Molly Novatt and Jennifer Spindel (Mines Action Canada Interns).
Report formatting and the online version of the report at www.the-monitor.org were undertaken by Lixar I.T. Inc. and St. Joseph Communications printed the report. Rafael Jiménez provided the cover design.
We extend our gratitude to Monitor contributors. The Monitor’s supporters are in no way responsible for, and do not necessarily endorse, the material contained in this report. It was only possible to carry out this work with the aid of grants from:
- Government of Australia
- Government of Austria
- Government of Belgium
- Government of Canada
- Government of France
- Government of Germany
- Government of Ireland
- Government of Luxembourg
- Government of New Zealand
- Government of Norway
- Government of Spain
- Government of Sweden
- Government of Switzerland
- Holy See
We also thank the donors who have contributed to the individual members of the Monitor Editorial Board and other participating organizations.