01 March 2018

Is Egypt using cluster munitions? [Updated]

Egypt Northern Sinai Feb 2018

Screen shot of video issued by the Ministry of Defense of Egypt, 9 February 2018.

The Cluster Munition Coalition is concerned with reports of use of cluster munitions by the Armed Forces of Egypt in northern Sinai, including in a new analysis from Amnesty International on 28 February.

Cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons that do not distinguish between civilian and military targets. They are imprecise and have a wide area effect at the time of use. Many submunitions do not explode on impact and remain dangerous long after the attack, until they are cleared by specialized teams years or decades later.

Due to their distinct pattern of harm to civilians, cluster munitions have been banned internationally through the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. All states should refrain from using them, even states that, like Egypt, are not yet on board the Convention. The Cluster Munition Coalition condemns any use of cluster munitions by any actor.

We call on Egypt to clarify the events and to confirm or deny the use of cluster munitions in Sinai. A request for such information delivered 21 February to the permanent representative in Geneva has to date been unanswered.

Any use of the weapon must cease immediately, and the appropriate warnings about the presence of unexploded submunitions must be issued to local populations. Contaminated areas must be cleared to humanitarian standards as a matter of urgent priority to prevent casualties.