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All uses of sub-munitions must be condemned

Explosive weapons

The Sixth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions ended yesterday in Geneva. The States Parties adopted a strong political declaration reaffirming the imperative need to systematically condemn all uses of cluster munitions. These barbaric weapons have been used intensively and repeatedly in Yemen and Syria since the start of 2015.

This declaration underlines the determination of States Parties to make the Oslo Convention, which bans cluster munitions, an undisputable international standard. “We need to take a zero-tolerance approach to these barbaric weapons. Our observations in the field have shown just how dangerous they are for civilians, both in the short and long term,” explains Anne Héry, head of advocacy at Handicap International.

According to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2016, 97% of recorded victims of cluster munitions are civilians. These weapons kill, injure, maim and cause serious psychological trauma. Up to 40% of these weapons do not explode on impact. They render whole areas uninhabitable, prevent the return of normal social and economic life, and displace people from their homes. These explosive remnants pose a threat to civilians, sometimes for decades after a conflict has ended.

The Meeting of States Parties in Geneva from 5 to 7 September 2016 was attended by more than eighty State delegations. The Oslo Convention, which bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of cluster munitions worldwide[1] has been ratified or signed by 119 States.  At the Meeting, three Signatory States - Madagascar, Namibia and Nigeria - announced their intention to ratify the Oslo Convention over the coming months.

 
[1] The Cluster Munition Monitor 2016, which is coordinated by Handicap International with three other NGOs, is the seventh annual report of its kind. It reports on a complete range of sub-munition issues including ban policy, use, production, trade and stockpiling around the world. It also provides information on contamination by these weapons, weapons clearance and victim assistance. The report focuses on calendar year 2015 with some information updated through July 2016. 

 

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A frightening increase in the number of victims of explosive weapons
(c) E. Fourt/HI

A frightening increase in the number of victims of explosive weapons

On the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness, HI is alarmed by the frightening increase in the number of civilian victims of explosive weapons : 32,008 civilians were killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2016 (out of a total of 45,624 victims), according to Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). The toll looks even heavier for 2017, as civilians account for 90% of the victims of explosive weapons when they are used in populated areas. Landmine Monitor has recorded a dramatic increase in casualties of mine and explosive remnants over the past three years. Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen are among the main countries affected.

7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict: After the death of partner organisation’s employee, HI condemns continuous bombings
© AFP PHOTO / AMER ALMOHIBANY

7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict: After the death of partner organisation’s employee, HI condemns continuous bombings

A staff member from a Syrian organisation that Humanity and Inclusion (HI) partners with was killed yesterday. Mustafa, his wife and their two children – both under the age of 8 years old – were killed by shelling in Hamouriyeh, Eastern Ghouta. As today marks the 7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict, HI condemns once again bombing and shelling of populated areas and calls on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians.

Completion of demining operations
©B.Blondel/HI

Completion of demining operations

HI has completed its demining operations in the Tshopo, Ituri, Bas-Uele and Haut-Uele provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), launched in January 2016. Over a two-year period, HI and its local partner, AFRILAM (Africa for Anti-Mine Action) cleared 34,520 m2 of land of mines, the equivalent of 5 football pitches, benefiting the 5,600 inhabitants in the region.