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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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Weapons clearance drones
© HI
Explosive weapons

Weapons clearance drones

Since last January, HI and its partner Mobility Robotics have been trialing the use of drones to support weapons clearance experts in Faya-Largeau, northern Chad.

Weapons clearance platform in northern Chad
© HI
Explosive weapons

Weapons clearance platform in northern Chad

Alongside 50 weapons clearance experts working in Chad, HI uses a remote-controlled platform, a German-made GCS 200, to clear large areas in record time.

Weapons clearance under extreme conditions
©
Explosive weapons

Weapons clearance under extreme conditions

HI has been conducting weapons clearance operations near Faya-Largeau, the capital of Borku province in northern Chad, since November 2018. Some fifty weapons clearance experts work in the area. HI Communications Officer Gilles Lordet joined the teams for a typical morning of demining.