CCW draft Protocol VI: Count on More Civilian Casualties

Posted on November 16, 2011


Diplomatic representatives from approximately 100 countries are meeting in Geneva from November 14- 25 for the Fourth Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), where the main order of business is an effort to conclude negotiations on a new CCW protocol on cluster munitions (Protocol VI) that would allow continued use, production, trade, and stockpiling of the weapon. Any weakening of the international norm set by the Convention on Cluster Munitions risks adding to the number of casualties and countries . The  current draft text also undermines existing international standard of victim assistance.

Count on More Civilian Casualties:

Future harm to civilians under draft Protocol VI

By Megan Burke and Loren Persi

The current CCW draft protocol VI would not prohibit or regulate many of the cluster munitions used most recently in Libya, Thailand, Cambodia, Georgia, and Lebanon, which indiscriminately killed and injured civilians. According to the latest findings of the Cluster Munition Monitor Report, in total, 29 states[1] impacted by cluster munition have recorded casualties.

Munitions of the types which caused casualties in most of these impacted countries, including Albania, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Russia (Chechnya), could still be in use for at least 12 more years under the draft protocol since they were produced after 1980. These include munitions which killed and injured civilians in homes and fields in Lebanon, a school in Ethiopia, and in marketplaces in Serbia and Russia. Unexploded submunitions continue to inflict civilian casualties long after the conflict has ended.

 States/areas with cluster munition casualties

Africa

Asia-Pacific

Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia

Middle East and North Africa

Angola

Afghanistan

Albania

Iraq

Chad

Lao PDR

BiH

Lebanon

DRC

Cambodia

Croatia

Israel

Guinea-Bissau

Vietnam

Montenegro

Kuwait

Mozambique

Georgia

Libya

Sierra Leone

Russia

Syria

Uganda

 

Serbia

Western Sahara

Eritrea

 

Tajikistan

Ethiopia

Kosovo

South Sudan

Nagorno-Karabakh

Sudan

 

Convention on Cluster Munition States Parties and signatories are indicated by bold and other areas by italics.

The most widely accepted global estimate of cluster munition casualties is between 20,000 and 54,000. Other estimates range from 58,000 to 85,000 casualties. Despite a lack of systematically collected data, at least 16,  cluster munition casualties have been recorded globally, through the end of 2010. Almost all known cluster munition casualties were civilians and a significant proportion were children when they were killed or injured.[2] Any weakening of the international norm set by the Convention on Cluster Munitions risks adding to the number of casualties and countries affected.


[1]People killed and injured by cluster munitions were reported in least 29 states and three other areas were cluster munitions have been used and that have been contaminated by unexploded submunitions.

[2] HI, Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007).