• Cluster munitions are inaccurate and unreliable weapons that by their very nature pose unacceptable dangers to civilians.  They pose an immediate threat during conflict by randomly scattering thousands of submunitions or "bomblets" over a vast area, and they continue to take even more civilian lives and limbs long after a conflict has ended, as hundreds of submunitions may fail to explode upon impact, littering the landscape with landmine-like "duds." Governments responded to this humanitarian threat by creating the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, an international treaty prohibiting the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions. The treaty requires destruction of stockpiles of the weapon within eight years and clearance of affected areas within 10 years, and also establishes a strong framework for assistance to cluster munition victims. More than 110 states have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions and are working to implement its provisions. 

    Human Rights Watch is a founding member of the international Cluster Munition Coalition, the civil society campaign behind the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Read more about which states have taken action to eliminate cluster munitions in Cluster Munition Monitor. 
     

  • Sep 1, 2014
    Credible evidence has emerged that Islamic State forces used ground-fired cluster munitions in at least one location in northern Syria in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch said today. The use of cluster munitions by non-state actors such as the Islamic State shows the urgent need for Syria and all nations that have not yet done so to join the ban on cluster munitions and destroy their stockpiles.
  • Feb 19, 2014

    Syrian government forces are using a powerful type of cluster munition rocket not seen before in the conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. The new use of cluster munitions is causing civilian casualties and adding to the country’s already devastating legacy of unexploded ordnance.

Reports

Cluster Munitions

  • Sep 1, 2014
    Credible evidence has emerged that Islamic State forces used ground-fired cluster munitions in at least one location in northern Syria in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch said today. The use of cluster munitions by non-state actors such as the Islamic State shows the urgent need for Syria and all nations that have not yet done so to join the ban on cluster munitions and destroy their stockpiles.
  • Aug 8, 2014

    The international treaty banning cluster munitions is four years old this month. While Syria’s ongoing use of cluster munitions has kept the issue in the news lately, the reality is that the Convention on Cluster Munitions is making a big difference in saving lives and limbs and curtailing the long-term devastation caused by these weapons.

  • Apr 7, 2014
    The requirement to develop national implementation measures to give full effect to the Convention on Cluster Munitions is absolutely vital, but it has not been given the priority it deserves by many States Parties.
  • Apr 4, 2014
    The Syrian government’s extensive use of cluster munitions has caused numerous casualties, damaged infrastructure, and is resulting in a deadly legacy of explosive remnants of war that will pose dangers to civilians for years to come. Human Rights Watch has identified at least 224 locations in 10 of Syria’s 14 governorates where cluster munitions have been used between July 2012 and March 2014.
  • Feb 19, 2014

    Syrian government forces are using a powerful type of cluster munition rocket not seen before in the conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. The new use of cluster munitions is causing civilian casualties and adding to the country’s already devastating legacy of unexploded ordnance.

  • Feb 19, 2014

    Syrian government forces are using a powerful type of cluster munition rocket not seen before in the conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. The new use of cluster munitions is causing civilian casualties and adding to the country’s already devastating legacy of unexploded ordnance.

  • Feb 14, 2014
    The governments of South Sudan and Uganda should investigate new evidence that banned cluster bombs have been used in the South Sudan conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. United Nations (UN) experts found remnants of the weapons, including intact unexploded submunitions or “bomblets,” in the week of February 7, 2014, near the town of Bor in an area not known to be contaminated by remnants prior to mid-December 2013.
  • Nov 25, 2013
    Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) appreciate this opportunity to submit a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development regarding Bill C-6 (known as Bill S-10 when it was reviewed by the Senate). The Bill seeks to allow Canada to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions by creating offenses for certain acts related to cluster munitions, as required by Article 9 of the convention. The Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the convention will be held in September 2014 in Costa Rica, and we hope to see Canada participating there as a state party.
  • Oct 8, 2013
  • Sep 13, 2013
    The international treaty banning cluster munitions is gaining in strength despite Syria’s use of the weapons, Human Rights Watch said today as a diplomatic meeting of the convention concluded in Lusaka, Zambia.