News / USA

Cluster Munitions Have Prolonged Impact

x
Cluster Munitions Have Prolonged Impacti
X
March 04, 2013
Cluster munitions have been a part of warfare since their invention more than 60 years ago. Activists blame them for the deaths of thousands of civilians in nearly 40 countries or territories. From Washington, VOA's Sean Maroney examines their use and their legacy. We would like to warn you that some of these images are graphic.
TEXT SIZE - +
Sean Maroney
Cluster munitions have been a part of warfare since their invention more than 60 years ago. Activists blame them for the deaths of thousands of civilians in nearly 40 countries or territories. 

Some of the images are graphic.

Mohamed is 13 years old.  Two years ago, he played with a shiny metal object he found outside his home in Benghazi, Libya.  He didn't know it was a cluster munition until it exploded. 

Cluster munitions release smaller explosives across a wide area.

The bomblets can linger, causing death or injury long after a conflict ends.

"Children are really, really often affected," said Antony Duttine. He is a rehabilitation adviser with Handicap International, an independent organization aiding the disabled in more than 60 countries.

His group helped rally support several years ago for an international treaty banning cluster-type weapons and requiring care for their victims.  

Cluster bomb diagramCluster bomb diagram
x
Cluster bomb diagram
Cluster bomb diagram
But many of the world's major military powers, including the United States, Russia and China, refuse to recognize the treaty, and Duttine says victim care is often challenging. "You're in areas which are really quite rural and miles and miles from the nearest medical facility.  So there's the challenge of the immediate life-saving interventions," he stated.

Chris Harmer with the Institute for the Study of War says the real danger to civilians is that these weapons target indiscriminately. "Originally, they were designed to be used by one big army against another big army.  Now that they're being used in close proximity to civilians is when you see the real humanitarian crisis," he added.

Duttine, of Handicap International, says the failure of many bomblets to detonate initially can turn a civilian area into a mine field.

"A victim is not just the person who is directly affected by a mine, it's everybody in that community.  They're affected from being [un]able to live their normal lives because areas of land are contaminated," Duttine explained. "And don't allow agricultural work to go on, don't allow access to the nearest health clinic, don't allow access to school."

Today, young Mohamed from Libya attends physical therapy for his hand.  He's slowly getting better, but recovery,  like cluster munition clean-up, is a long process.

You May Like

'Exceptionally Lucky' US Boy Survives Flight in Wheel Well

The boy was unconscious for most of the flight, and appeared to be unharmed after enduring the extremely cold temperatures and lack of oxygen More

US Anti-Corruption Law Snags Major Tech Company

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in December, 1977 More

Cameron Criticized for Calling UK 'Christian Country'

Letter from scientists, academics and writers says the prime minister is fostering division by repeatedly referring to England as a 'Christian country' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid