ALERT – Cluster Munition Monitor 2021: Sharp increase of cluster munitions casualties | September 14, 2021
The number of cluster munitions casualties increased by 30% in three years, according to the 2021 Cluster Munition Monitor. The conference of State Parties to the Oslo Convention, which bans the use of cluster munitions, takes place on 20-21 September: HI is calling on states to enforce international law and for States that have not […]
The number of cluster munitions casualties increased by 30% in three years, according to the 2021 Cluster Munition Monitor. The conference of State Parties to the Oslo Convention, which bans the use of cluster munitions, takes place on 20-21 September: HI is calling on states to enforce international law and for States that have not done it yet, to join the Convention.
The 2021 Cluster Munition Monitor report assesses the implementation of the Oslo Convention, which bans the use, production, transfer and storage of cluster munitions. Released today, the report has recorded at least 360 casualties of this weapon in 2020 globally, compared to 317 in 2019 and 277 in 2018. This increase is mainly due to new attacks using cluster munitions during the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict in October 2020 (107 casualties).
Global cluster munitions casualties
The Monitor recorded at least 360 new cluster munition casualties in 2020 globally caused either by attacks using these weapons (142 casualties) or as a result of cluster munition remnants (218, 60% of the casualties). Up to 40% of the sub-munitions do not explode on impact and leave remnants that pose a threat for the local population.
The real number of new casualties is likely to be much higher as many have gone unrecorded due to challenges with data collection. However this figure already represents a 30% increase in three years (compared to 317 casualties in 2019 and 277 in 2018). Civilians accounted for all casualties whose status was recorded in 2020, and children accounted for 44% of all casualties.
The main cause of this increase is the use of cluster munitions in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh in October 2020. Furthermore, casualties from cluster munitions remnants were reported in 7 countries, the main ones being: Syria (147), Iraq (31), South Sudan (16).
The Oslo Convention has made great strides in protecting civilians against the scourge of cluster munitions: every year, existing stockpiles are destroyed and significant areas of contaminated land are cleared, while these weapons are increasingly stigmatised. But that is still not enough. In the last three years, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of victims of cluster munitions. It was mainly due to use in the war in Syria and the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. We must never tolerate atrocity. We must constantly remind States and armed groups that the use of these weapons is banned and that international law must be enforced.” says Anne Héry, Director of Advocacy and Institutional Relations at HI.