Every country in the world can and should join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It is a question of political will and placing a priority on the protection of civilians over outdated and indiscriminate weapons.
The Cluster Munition Coalition stands ready to provide advice, technical support and resources to all countries that have yet to ratify or accede to the convention. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The military utility of cluster munitions is limited in modern warfare for the following reasons:
- The weapons were designed for Cold War-era operations with large formations of tanks or troops. Today's combat often takes place in urban environments where there are a high number of civilians. The weapons are therefore less effective, and their impact on civilians is magnified.
- Using cluster munitions is often counterproductive for modern militaries. They interfere with military operations, as contaminated areas reduce the mobility of the forces that use them and endanger friendly troops. The harm caused to civilians also means continued use of the weapons would increase hostility among the local population towards the users.
- Cluster munitions are also poor defensive weapons, leaving behind a large numbers of explosive submunitions that endanger a state's own population.
The humanitarian impact of cluster munitions far outweighs any perceived military benefit. Given the wide-area impact of cluster munitions and the tendency for combat to take place in areas with a high number of civilians, it is almost impossible for them to be used in a way that distinguishes between civilian and military targets. The use of cluster munitions consistently leads to pollution by unexploded submunitions, which continue to claim lives in an indiscriminate manner. Cluster munitions do not meet the criteria a responsible government should have for weapons in its arsenal.
The political cost of using cluster munitions has become very high given the Convention's powerful stigmatizing force. Recent instances of cluster munition use have triggered strong international condemnation. Indeed, in almost every recent case, the state that deployed cluster munitions later denied such use out of a concern for the criticism it would incur.
In addition, many defence companies are moving away from the development and production of cluster munitions as the market is drying up and financial institutions are increasingly developing policies to prevent investment in any company involved in the production of cluster munitions.