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Cluster munitions: investments in free-fall

Emergency Explosive weapons

On 3 December, the non-governmental organisation PAX published its ninth report on investments in the production of cluster munitions, Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: A Shared Responsability. According to the report, these investments have fallen by two thirds since its last report in May 2017.

Cluster munitions found in Kobani, northern Syria in 2015

Cluster munitions found in Kobani, northern Syria in 2015 | © Philippe Houilat / HI

A dramatic decrease

Investments in cluster munitions have fallen from $31 billion (between 2013 and 2017) to $9 billion (between 2015 and 2018). This dramatic 350% drop is largely due to the fact that two American manufacturers, Textron and Orbital ATK, no longer produce and deliver these weapons. However, seven weapons manufacturers continue to produce cluster munitions.


Dramatic drop in investor numbers

The report named 88 financial institutions that have invested in the seven cluster-munition manufacturers identified between May 2015 and June 2018. This is half the 166 financial institutions identified during the previous reporting period (2013-2017).


Legislating against these weapons

"Governments are increasingly aware that the use of cluster munitions, of which 99% of casualties are civilians, is unacceptable. One hundred and twenty States have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions which bans these weapons. But only 11 of them have made it clear to financial institutions that supporting investment in cluster munitions is illegal. More needs to be done. We must work to reduce the sources of funding for these weapons in order to eradicate them."

Anne Héry, Director of Advocacy at HI

Submunitions continue to kill

According to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2018 published last August, new cluster munition use was reported in Syria and Yemen in 2017. In total, the Monitor recorded 289 new cluster munition casualties in 2017 - both due to cluster munition remnants and during cluster munition attacks[1] -  in eight countries and two other areas. Civilians made up 99% of all cluster munition casualties.


[1] Up to 40% of cluster munitions do not explode on impact. Like anti-personnel mines, they can be triggered at the slightest touch, killing and maiming during and after conflicts.

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