04 April 2014

Prioritise the Protection of Civilians says Cluster Munition Coalition on International Day of Mine Action

All states should prioritise the protection of civilians by joining the treaty banning cluster munitions and addressing their deadly legacy, said the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) today on the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

“Ninety-four percent of cluster munition victims are civilians” said CMC Director, Sarah Blakemore. “The recent use of this indiscriminate weapon by Syrian Government forces continues to add to the toll of death and destruction. All countries should condemn this outrage and join the lifesaving Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay ” she added.

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions has succeeded in reducing the threat to civilians worldwide from this banned weapon.  A total of 84 states are party to the Convention, which bans cluster munitions and requires clearance of contaminated areas and assistance to victims. Another 29 states have signed but not yet ratified the Convention.

As a result of the treaty significant progress has been make in clearing contaminated land and  22 States Parties have destroyed stockpiles totalling over 1 million cluster munitions and 122 million submunitions. This represents the destruction of 71% of all cluster munitions and 69% of all submunitions declared as stockpiled by States Parties.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions has also set the highest standards for victim assistance in international humanitarian law; with Iraq’s ratification in May 2013, the majority of cluster munition victims now live in States Parties to the convention, which are legally obliged to ensure that these victims are provided with adequate assistance.

April 4th was declared the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005. To mark Mine Action Day 2014, Cluster Munition Coalition campaigners from around the world including survivors will take part in national campaign actions to push every country in the world to join and implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions.