Cluster bomb demining in Laos. Each red stick shows where a bomblet has been found. Photo: CCBY Steve Joyce, MAG
Four countries scrap their cluster bombs
During the past year, four additional countries have successfully destroyed their entire stockpile of cluster bombs.
Global opposition to cluster bombs is growing. More and more countries do not just keep from using the problematic weapons that primarily kill and mutilate civilians and especially children. The countries also scrap the millions of cluster bombs they have been stockpiling.
Cuba, Croatia, Slovenia and Spain have now become the latest countries to get completely rid of the weapons, according to a new official report on the results of the Convention Against Cluster Bombs.
The Convention is a voluntary agreement that countries can sign up for. When they sign, they promise to stop using cluster bombs, destroy their stocks, and clear the unexploded bomblets still in the ground after previous wars.
“Thanks to this global agreement, the world’s countries are getting rid of the plague that cluster munitions are,” says Hector Guerra, head of the international cluster bomb campaign.
But even though the convention has so far resulted in a total of 177 million cluster bomblets being rendered harmless, the weapons are still being used by some of the countries that have not signed the agreement. Especially in Syria, where they are used by the Syrian army, with support from Russia. Today, only Russia and Zimbabwe are actively opposing the ban on cluster bombs.
The growing aversion to the weapons also means that more countries now decline to use cluster bombs, even though they have not officially signed the agreement. These include the United States, which previously used them in huge quantities, including in Laos. The United States has not dropped any cluster munitions since 2009, but continues to produce and sell the bombs to other countries.
One of the buyers is Saudi Arabia, which has recently used them in the civil war in Yemen. However, the use of cluster bombs in Yemen has diminished lately, following international condemnation, according to the report by Cluster Munitions Monitor.