News / Africa

Hundreds of Thousands of Cluster Munitions Destroyed

Cluster Munitions Monitor 2012 shows much progress in destruction of weapons (Cluster Munitions Coalition)
Cluster Munitions Monitor 2012 shows much progress in destruction of weapons (Cluster Munitions Coalition)
Joe DeCapua
A new report says governments that joined the treaty banning cluster munitions have destroyed nearly 750-thousand of the weapons since 2008. However, it also says there are credible allegations of new use of the weapons in Syria and Sudan.

Cluster munitions are canisters containing either a few or hundreds of smaller munitions called bomblets. They can be dropped by aircraft or fired from artillery and spread over a wide area. The Cluster Munitions Coalition says they have killed thousands of civilians in nearly 40 countries and territories.

The Cluster Munitions Monitor 2012 report has been released prior to the September 11th meeting of countries that support the treaty or convention. It says the destruction of 750,000 of the weapons means about 85-million bomblets were also destroyed.

“We’ve seen a huge amount of progress by states who have got stockpiles of cluster munitions to declare what they’ve got and to begin destroying them. And the other aspects of the convention’s implementation are also important – not least that we’ve got no reports or even allegations of any new use of cluster munitions by countries that have joined the convention. They are no longer producing, no longer exporting, and destroying the stockpiles,” said Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch, who is the final editor of the report.

Wareham also said there have been impressive efforts to clear contaminated areas and increasing efforts to assist those wounded by the weapons.

However, the report said there’s growing concern over what may be happening in Sudan and Syria.

“We’ve got evidence that came out in the first half of this year, 2012, and reports continue. Both countries have been quite difficult to access. But journalists in Sudan and citizen journalists in Syria have been taking photographs and video, which we look at. And we’ve been able to identify cluster munition remnants and sub-munitions from those videos and photographic footage,” she said.

Nevertheless, Wareham said, more evidence is still needed before it can be officially declared the weapons are being used in Sudan and Syria.

“We do not have the full picture of how they were used, the eyewitness testimony of people who saw them being used, where they were used, the impact on the ground, what were the casualties? Still a big unknown for us. Usually we find that later once the clearance crews get in there and can do their surveys and can begin the clearance process. Then they can find out exactly what is contaminating these states,” she said.

The report said 16 nations that formerly produced the weapons have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions. There are still 17 countries that have not joined that are still listed as producers.

“That includes major countries such as Russia, China and the United States. A number of countries in Asia – India, Pakistan, Singapore are problematic. In Europe also – Poland, Romania, Slovakia and a couple in the Middle East – Egypt and of course Israel and Iran,” said Wareham.

She added, however, there’s not much data coming from these countries. So, although the countries are listed as producers of cluster munitions, it’s not certain they actually manufactured any over the past year.

“Of the 17 producers we’re only able to identify three that actually use cluster munitions. And those three are Israel, Russia and the United States,” she said.

Next Tuesday’s meeting of parties to the treaty is taking place in Oslo. Norway led the initial effort for the treaty. So far, 111 nations have joined the convention and 75 have actually ratified or acceded to its conditions.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

Al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs