22 October 2014

CMC Calls for Immediate Halt to Use of Cluster Munitions in Ukraine

Uragan Cluster Munition Rocket Ukraine HRW 599X399

Remnants of a misfired Uragan cluster munition rocket lying in a field in territory controlled by the Ukrainian government near Novomykhailivka, Ukraine on October 14, 2014. © 2014 Ole Solvang/Human Rights Watch

The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) strongly condemns the use of cluster munitions by Ukrainian Government forces in attacks this month against separatist forces in Donetsk and other areas and calls for an immediate halt to use of the banned weapon. The report by CMC member Human Rights Watch shows evidence of widespread use of cluster munitions in the conflict, including possible use by pro-Russian separatists and Russian military.

Neither Ukraine nor Russia has joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use, stockpiling and transfer of the weapon and mandates assistance to victims.

During a week-long investigation in eastern Ukraine this month, Human Rights Watch documented the use of cluster munitions in fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in some 12 locations in urban areas, towns, and rural settings. While it was not possible to determine conclusively responsibility for all attacks, evidence collected by Human Rights Watch shows that Ukrainian government forces were responsible for several cluster munition attacks on Donetsk city in early October, including one in which an employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was killed.

In the 12 incidents documented, cluster munitions killed at least six people and injured dozens. However the actual casualty number is likely higher given that not all allegations of cluster munition use were investigated.

“Cluster bomb use by the Ukrainian government and other forces in the conflict is an outrage. We have seen the longstanding humanitarian disaster from cluster bomb attacks in Iraq and Lebanon, and the ongoing cluster bombing of civilians in Syria and must prevent at all costs further use of the weapon in Ukraine,” said Cluster Munition Coalition Director Sarah Blakemore. “All States should loudly condemn use of cluster munitions in Ukraine and urge those not yet party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to join immediately,” she added.

At least forty-six states have condemned the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine – based on unattributed use allegations earlier this year – while States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions unanimously condemned any use of cluster munitions, anywhere, by anyone, in a 5 September Final Report from the annual Convention meeting in San José, Costa Rica. Some 157 countries have condemned use of cluster munitions in the context of ongoing cluster bomb strikes in Syria.

One hundred and fourteen countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions to date while international condemnation of the weapon is so strong that use has been limited to rogue regimes such as Syria, since the treaty came into force in 2010.

“This new use highlights the urgency for states to engage in the First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions next year to make sure civilians around the world are protected from this horrible weapon,” said Blakemore. States will meet in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015 to review progress made to date under the treaty and agree next steps towards the elimination of cluster munitions globally.

For more infomation see: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/ukraine