Cluster munition casualties doubled in 2016

Image: Submunitie van een BL-755 clusterbom, gevonden in het noorden van Jemen. Foto © Amnesty International, april 2016

August 31, 2017

Global casualties of cluster munitions doubled in 2016, compared to the year before. This is an alarming finding from the Cluster Munition Monitor, the 2017 update of the annual report by the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), released today. PAX is a member of this international coalition.

Spike in cluster munitions victims
Cluster Munition Monitor 2017Cluster Munition Monitor 2017 recorded 971 casualties. The number of casualties in 2016 is more than double the number recorded the year before, making it the second-highest annual figure since Cluster Munition Monitor reporting began in 2009 (highest was in 2013). Most of these casualties occurred during cluster munition attacks (837 in Syria and 20 in Yemen). When it was possible to identify their status, civilians made up 98% of casualties.

New use of cluster munitions
The international Convention on Cluster Munition (CCM) has 102 States Parties and another 17 signatories. This sends a strong message and has very positive effect: no State Party to the CCM has been recorded to have used cluster munition since the Convention was adopted in May 2008. December 2016 saw 141 states voting in favor of a UN-resolution supporting the CCM.

However, these inhumane weapons continue to be used by countries that have not yet signed the convention, such as Syria, Saudi-Arabia and Russia. Broad international condemnation of such use is very important and does have effect: the use of cluster munition by the Saudi-led coalition has declined following widespread international condemnation. This shows that it continues to be essential to stigmatize these horrendous weapons and have all states embrace and adhere to the international ban on these weapons. The Cluster Munition Coalition and PAX as one of its members will continue to strive for this.

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