20 March 2014

Denmark Destroys Its Stockpile Of Cluster Munitions Strengthening Global Ban

Denmark made a strong start to 2014 by announcing it has completed the destruction of its stockpile of cluster munitions, in line with its obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Having ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2010, Denmark finishes its stockpile destruction 4.5 years in advance of the eight-year deadline set by the convention. The Cluster Munition Coalition warmly congratulates Denmark for this great achievement.

Denmark joins 18 other states, including other former large stockpilers such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and the United Kingdom, which have also finished their destruction of cluster munition stockpiles.

Before Denmark began the destruction process it held a stockpile of 42,176 cluster munitions of three different types (DM642 155mm artillery projectiles, DM662 155mm artillery projectiles, and Mk-20 Rockeye cluster bombs), containing a total of 2,440,940 submunitions.

Mr. Martin Lidegaard, Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs said, “It sends a strong signal that Denmark has now destroyed our entire operational stockpile of cluster munitions. Cluster bombs are inhumane weapons which all countries should abolish as soon as possible. Our work does not end here. All states outside the Convention on Cluster Munition must join the convention in order to ensure a total and global ban. I thank the Cluster Munition Coalition and its campaigners around the world for their continued work. In close partnership with likeminded countries and Danish and international humanitarian organisations, we will continue our joint efforts towards a world free from cluster bombs.”

Denmark’s swift ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the early completion of its stockpile destruction demonstrate the country’s strong commitment to the convention and its goal of preventing further harm from the deadly and indiscriminate weapon.

More major stockpilers including Italy, Sweden, Germany and Japan have indicated plans to complete destruction within the next two years.

“Cluster munitions are indiscriminate and cause massive suffering for the civilian populations in the countries where they are used. The sooner these terrible weapons are abolished the better, so this is a very welcome step by Denmark. We believe that the next step for Denmark to cement its commitment against cluster bombs is to introduce a ban on investment in producers of these illegal weapons” said Cluster Munition Coalition member Richard Maccormac, Head of Demining at DanChurchAid.

Use of cluster munitions can currently be seen in Syria, where ongoing use has led to widespread civilian casualties, a timely reminder that global efforts must continue to rid the world of this indiscriminate weapon. Denmark has been outspoken in condemning cluster munition use by the Syrian government. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Villy Søvndal condemned the use of the weapon stating the “recent reports about the Syrian authorities’ use of cluster munitions are extremely worrying. The Syrian government must protect the civilian population and immediately and fully refrain from using such inhumane and indiscriminate weapons”.

Denmark signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified on 12 February 2010. It was among the first 30 ratifications to trigger entry into force of the convention on 1 August 2010. The convention comprehensively prohibits the use of cluster munitions as well as requiring clearance of cluster munition remnants, destruction of stockpiles, and assistance for victims.