August 1st marks the day that the Convention on Cluster Munitions treaty was entered into force. To date, there are 100 States parties and 19 signatories. The convention prohibits the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions. Cluster munitions are explosive weapons which contain many submunitions within. They are designed to cover a large target area and explode either in the air or on impact with the ground.
There are two main humanitarian criticisms regarding the use of cluster munitions. The first of which being the large and unpredictable area that they cover. The average cluster munitions attack can span the area of multiple football fields or city blocks. When this weapon is used in urban areas the potential for civilian loss of life outweighs the tactical advantage. The second criticism of the use of cluster munitions is their high fail rates for detonation upon hitting the ground. This results in countless live munitions spanning the area of multiple football fields. Once the bombs are on the ground they target anyone.
In this past year, cluster munitions have been used in Yemen, Syria and Sudan; however, past uses of cluster munitions are still effecting many countries around the world. Undetonated cluster munitions are still a threat to civilians in Laos, Vietnam, Iraq and Lebanon.
To learn more about cluster munitions and the convention, visit www.stopclustermunitions.org