Handicap International warns against any use of cluster munitions in Syria by the Russian air force

  • Explosive weapons
  • Syria

As the Russian air force launch their operations in Syria, Handicap International has issued a reminder that the use of cluster munitions is prohibited by an international convention (also known as the Oslo Treaty) signed or ratified by 118 States. The organisation remains vigilant as to any use of these weapons.

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"All parties to the conflict must refrain from using these weapons which indiscriminately harm civilians," stresses Anne Héry, Director of Advocacy at Handicap International.

"Every effort must be made to spare the civilian populations, which to date constitute the main victims of the violence in Syria and Iraq,” she adds. "As well as killing, injuring and maiming people, the use of explosive weapons - including cluster bombs - in urban areas causes mass population movements and makes entire areas uninhabitable due to contamination by explosive remnants of war (ERW)."

Following the First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was held in Croatia at the start of September, the States Parties unanimously adopted a clear political statement, which reiterated their firm commitment to systematically condemn any use of cluster munitions. Handicap International therefore reminds these States of their commitment to applying zero tolerance to these barbaric weapons.  Although the Russian Federation has not ratified the Oslo Treaty it has, on several occasions in the last twelve months, condemned the use of cluster munitions, both in Sudan and in Ukraine.  

Over 90% of the victims of cluster bombs recorded worldwide are civilians. Up to 40% of these bombs do not explode on impact and remain a threat to civilians decades after the fighting stops, constituting a barrier to social and economic activity in the contaminated areas. 

Published 07/10/15

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