04 December 2017

US Changes Policy on Cluster Bombs

Clings to the indiscriminate weapon

 Thoummy Silamphan Large

Thoummy Silamphan, a cluster munition survivor, Laos

The United States is ending a long-standing policy where it committed not to use certain types of cluster munitions from 1 January 2019. The Department of Defense signed a policy memo on 30 November 2017, indefinitely delaying the implementation of the US ban on certain types of cluster munitions.

“This reversal of policy is shocking and goes against the global treaty trend to  eliminate cluster munitions. Only a small number of states use cluster munitions at the moment, and this includes Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Is this who the U.S. wants to align with? Why retain the option to use such notoriously failure-prone cluster munitions that kill and injure far more civilians than combatants?” said Amelie Chayer, Acting Director of the Cluster Munition Coalition. 

The Cluster Munition Coalition urges the United States to reinstate the 2008 policy and accede to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions without further delay.

For more on this, see:

Human Rights Watch: US Embraces Cluster Munitions, Reverses Course on Internationally Banned, Reviled Weapons

The Washington Post: The Trump administration cancels a plan to curtail the use of cluster bombs