13 February 2014
Disturbing reports of new cluster munition use in South Sudan: Campaign condemns all use of this banned weapon
(London, 13 February 2014): The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) condemns the use of cluster munitions in South Sudan following reports that the UN Mine Action Service has found new cluster munition contamination near the town of Bor on the road to Juba, capital of South Sudan. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the use of cluster munitions in South Sudan in - statement issued yesterday. The Cluster Munition Coalition calls for an immediate investigation into this new use of cluster munitions.
'We condemn any use of cluster munitions as these banned weapons have no place in warfare,' said Sarah Blakemore, director of the CMC. 'Cluster munitions cause unacceptable harm to civilians and should never be used.'
'Use of cluster munitions anywhere by anyone is outrageous. This incident must be investigated immediately. It is irresponsible to cause more contamination in South Sudan given the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and the current burden of cluster munition contamination that the country struggles to clear. Governments worldwide should speak out against further use of cluster bombs to protect people, especially children and women from being harmed in South Sudan and worldwide.' said Geoffrey L. Duke, Secretariat Team Leader of South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms (SSANSA).
It is unclear if the government forces of South Sudan, opposition rebels or Ugandan forces are responsible for the use. Ugandan forces are assisting South Sudan in its clashes with rebels. South Sudan has not joined the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which comprehensively bans the weapon. Uganda has signed it, but not yet ratified.
South Sudan already suffers contamination from past use of cluster munitions. According to Cluster Munition Monitor, CMC?s research publication, at one point, cluster munition remnants were identified in all 10 states of South Sudan.
A majority of the world?s nations have comprehensively banned the use of cluster munitions through the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which came into force on August 1, 2010. - 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. The Cluster Munition Coalition calls on all states including South Sudan to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay.
Zambia, the current president of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, has issued - strong condemnation of the reported use of cluster munitions in South Sudan.
On 22 February, Norway too condemned the reported use of cluster munitions in South Sudan.
On 15 February, CMC member organisation Human Rights Watch published - press release 'South Sudan: Investigate New Cluster Bomb Use: Identify Those Responsible for Using Banned Weapons'