04 April 2016

Marking 4 April: Stop cluster bombs!

 Vcitims Giovanni Diffidenti 599X350

Mother holds photo of daughter killed in cluster bomb explosion - Piou, 10, on right. 2010, © Giovanni Diffidenti

We are marking 4 April, the day of International Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, while regrettably cluster munitions continue to be used in Yemen and Syria-- and to threaten the lives of civilians in these countries. 4 April is observed globally and aims to stop the harm caused by all indiscriminate weapons, including the internationally outlawed cluster munitions.

To mark International Mine Awareness Day, members of the Cluster Munition Coalition have taking actions in the lead up to and on 4 April to advance the goal of a cluster munition free world. To name just a few actions:

-          Campaigners in the Democratic Republic of Congo have organized a series of advocacy events, including a global action to demand that the President of DR Congo ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions

-          In Lebanon, a country severely affected by the scourge of cluster munitions, campaigners are taking the advantage of 4 April to educate school students on fatal dangers caused by remnants of cluster munitions and, through public and sport events, to mobilize the support of the public for the eradication of cluster munitions, including through rapid and efficient implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

-          In Yemen where cluster munitions are still being used, in spite of a difficult and fragile security situation, national campaigners persist in trying to get the word out-- by conducting mines/cluster munitions risk education and through mass media and social media outreach regarding the dangers of cluster munition remnants and other explosive remnants

-          Members of the campaign in Europe, including in Demark, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, have launched social media and online campaigns, writing letters or holding advocacy events to raise awareness on eradication and clearance of cluster munitions, mines and other explosive remnants of war, assistance to victims and to stop investment in the production of cluster munitions and also to urge for no use of cluster munitions, in particular by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

-          In countries such as Nepal and Uganda, national members of the Cluster Munition Coalition have reached out to embassies of the Convention’s member states to mobilize their support, including to promote accession/ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in their countries.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions continues to reduce the harms caused by cluster munitions through: the destruction of160 million submunitions; the joining of118 countries to the ban; the clearance of hundreds of square kilo-meters of cluster munitions-contaminated land; and the provision of assistance to cluster munitions victims. However, cluster munitions remain a global problem and cause harm to civilians in many countries, in particular in Yemen, Syria, Ukraine and Libya, as a result of continued or recent use.  

The widespread and ongoing use of cluster munitions by Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and by Syrian forces in Syria horrendously show the need for strong and resolute stance against cluster munitions by all states and in particular by the States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

The Cluster Munition Coalition calls for: