Photo of Youen Sam En
Cambodian cluster bomb survivor Youen Sam En at the May 2008 Dublin Diplomatic Conference. Photo credit: Mary Wareham

Despite being an early and prominent supporter of the “Oslo Process” to negotiate the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the Kingdom of Cambodia has still not signed the treaty. The government promised to sign after the Oslo signing ceremony in December 2008, but has cited an ongoing review of its defence and security situation as the reason for a delay.

Cambodia is not believed to have used, produced or transferred cluster munitions. Little is known about its stockpile.

During the Vietnam War, the United States dropped at least 26 million submunitions on Cambodia, as well as extensive amounts on neighbouring Lao PDR and Vietnam. Although Cambodia has yet to fully determine the extent of contamination, this bombing is estimated to have left between 1.9 million and 5.8 million cluster munition remnants in the country, mostly in the southeast and the sparsely populated northeast, along the border with Vietnam. Unexploded cluster submunitions continue to cause extensive civilian harm throughout the region.

Lao PDR, which is the most heavily bombed country in the world, has ratified the Convention and will host the First Meeting of States Parties from 8-12 November. The Cluster Munition Coalition urges Cambodia to sign the Convention without delay and to attend the First Meeting of States Parties.

Youen Sam En is a Cambodian who lost his eyesight and both of his hands in a cluster bomb incident, and he now advocates on behalf of the many survivors of the weapon in his country: “With so many states already on board this treaty, cluster bombs have been stigmatised to the point where nobody should ever want to use them again. There’s really no excuse for countries not to join,” he said. “Affected countries like Cambodia have a special incentive to join, because it will mean that communities affected by these weapons get the help they need and the land gets cleared of unexploded bombies.”

Download letters urging the Royal Government of Cambodia to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions:

Read a letter from Cambodian cluster bomb survivor Youen Sam En asking famous footballers to use their celebrity to support a ban on cluster bombs:

For more information on cluster munitions in Cambodia, please visit:

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