Victim Assistance—Cluster Munition Monitor 2013

Posted on September 3, 2013

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© Jelena Vicentic, April 2012

Cluster Munition Monitor 2013

Majority of the world’s cluster munition victims covered by ground-breaking humanitarian treaty

According to the latest reporting by civil society watchdog, the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor:

With Iraq’s ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in May 2013, the majority of cluster munition victims * now live in States Parties to the Convention. Nearly three-quarters of all recorded casualties of the weapon occurred in countries which are now are legally obliged and committed to ensuring that these victims are provided with adequate assistance.

Seven more countries have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions in the past year, including two countries where cluster munitions have been used, and that have responsibilities for cluster munition victims (Chad and Iraq). Cluster munition casualties have been reported in 31 states, including 12 States Parties and 4 signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as well as in 3 other areas, as of 31 July 2013.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Lao PDR, and Lebanon are the States Parties with the most  cluster munition victims in need of assistance and support. The Convention on Cluster Munitions has set the highest standards for victim assistance in international humanitarian law; by 2012, even the two non-signatory states with the most cluster munitions victims (Cambodia and Vietnam) had reported on their efforts according to its emerging norm.

Through the end of 2012, 17,959 cluster munition casualties have been confirmed globally, but a better indicator of the number of cluster munition casualties is the total of country estimates coming to 54,000 casualties, or more. Where the status was recorded, civilians accounted for the majority of casualties (94%). Most civilian casualties were male (82%) and a significant proportion were children (40%).

In 2012, 190 cluster munition casualties were identified; this is the highest annual casualty total since the convention entered into force. Syria suffered the highest number of casualties in 2012 with at least 165 new casualties reported from cluster munition attacks. Based on data available for 2012 —appallingly incomplete for most countries—casualties of cluster munition remnants were confirmed in two States Parties (Lao PDR and Lebanon), five non-signatories (Cambodia, Serbia, Sudan, Syria, and Vietnam), as well as Nagorno-Karabakh.

All States Parties with cluster munition victims provided some victim assistance services and nearly all States Parties have acted in accordance with the first time-bound actions of the conventions’ victim assistance plan. There were measurable improvements in the accessibility of services in many States Parties and most strived to make services sustainable while facing the challenges of reliance on international funding and the poor global economic climate.

Victim assistance addresses the overlapping and interconnected needs of persons with disabilities, including survivors of cluster munitions, landmines, and other weapons and ERW as well as people in their communities with similar requirements for assistance. In addition, some victim assistance efforts reach family members and other people in the communities of those people who have been killed or suffered trauma, loss or other harm due to cluster munitions.

[Banner image (c) Jelena Vicentic, April 2012.] Hussein Ghandour, a survivor employed at the prosthetic workshop of the Lebanese Welfare Association is a peer support volunteer and advocate for survivors’ rights.

* Cluster munition victims include survivors (people who were injured by cluster munitions or their explosive remnants and lived), other persons directly impacted by cluster munitions, as well as their affected families and communities. As a result of their injuries, most cluster munition survivors are also persons with disabilities. The term “cluster munition casualties” is used to refer both to people killed and people injured as a result of cluster munition use or cluster munition remnants.

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