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)

Multimedia

Audio
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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid