Victim Assistance- Cluster Munition Monitor 2014

Posted on August 27, 2014



Cluster Munition Monitor 2014 reviews the progress made on the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It provides information on cluster munition contamination and casualties as well as victim assistance.

Casualties and Victim Assistance*

Since 1999, the Monitor has tracked casualties from landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) as well as the provision of victim assistance to the victims of these weapons, including victims of cluster munitions. In 2010, the Monitor initiated a specific focus on victim assistance in those States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions that have cluster munition victims.

Documentation of casualties from cluster munition strikes, as well as from cluster munition remnants,[1] remains inadequate but has been improving since when the convention process began. Beginning in 2013 and continuing into 2014, this was demonstrated in States Parties and also in Syria, where casualty data collection groups have disaggregated cluster munition casualties, resulting in far improved reporting on the devastating consequences of strikes than ever available before: 1,584 casualties were identified due to strikes and unexploded submunitions in 2012 and 2013 in Syria, with hundreds more being recorded into 2014. This improved reporting also highlights the incredible lack of reporting of cluster munition casualties from past conflicts, such as those in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, for which few casualties during cluster munition strikes were reported or no records were made available.

Globally, there are no comprehensive, reliable statistics and both civilian and military casualties are under-reported. The Monitor has managed to identify a total of 19,419 cluster munition casualties in 31 countries and three other areas beginning in the mid-1960s through the end of 2013. However, a better indicator of the number of cluster munition casualties is derived from various state estimates that collectively place the total at more than 55,000 casualties globally.

The convention is a landmark humanitarian disarmament agreement that is the first international treaty to make the provision of assistance to victims of a given weapon a formal requirement for all States Parties.[2] It codified the international understanding of victim assistance and its provisions have influenced the victim assistance commitments in the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), particularly Protocol V and its Plan of Action on Victim Assistance, and strengthened practices related to the Mine Ban Treaty. The Convention on Cluster Munitions continues to set the highest standard in obligations for provision of assistance and reporting practices on victim assistance.

In practice, victim assistance addresses the overlapping and interconnected needs of persons with disabilities, including survivors[3] 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.

The rationale behind the Convention on Cluster Munitions is found in its preamble, which affirms that States Parties are “Determined to put an end for all time to the suffering and casualties caused by cluster munitions.” While all States Parties in a position to do so have a legal obligation to provide resources and otherwise support the full implementation of the convention’s victim assistance provisions, the convention places overall responsibility for the provision of victim assistance on the States Parties with cluster munition victims in areas under their jurisdiction or control.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Lao PDR, and Lebanon are the States Parties with the most significant numbers of cluster munition victims in need of assistance and support. Together, they account for the majority of known cluster munition casualties. Non-signatories Cambodia and Vietnam—both of which have already reported their victim assistance efforts to the convention’s States Parties[4]—complete the list of the countries “considered to have the largest number of cluster munition victims, with the challenge of the responsibility to address the needs of several thousands of survivors.”[5] Given the data becoming available, it is likely that Syria should be considered among the group of non-signatory states with the largest numbers of survivors and needs.

In order to make a difference in affected communities, there must be a clear understanding of the rights and needs of victims, and victim assistance responses must be coordinated, timely, and measurable. With a year to go before the Vientiane Action Plan is reviewed in 2015, States Parties have reported significantly more efforts to improve assistance to cluster munition victims than were reported before entry into force, while striving to overcome challenges during the period. However, the challenges have continued to include armed conflict combined with the related displacement of populations and, in many states, inadequate funding and resources for the international organizations, national and international NGOs, and disabled persons organizations (DPOs) that deliver most direct assistance and services to cluster munition victims.

Cluster Munition Casualties

Cluster munition casualties in 2013

 Special issue of concern from 2013 findings: massive increase in casualties recorded     security_murder_100px_bluebox The highest annual number of cluster munition casualties recorded by a single country for 2013 was in Syria, as had been the case in 2012. However, in 2013 more information on the extent of the casualties caused by cluster munitions became available for both years. This was also the highest number of annual casualties recorded by any country since the Monitor began differentiating between cluster munitions casualties and other ERW casualties in 2010.

For 2013, the Monitor received reports of at least 1,001 cluster munition casualties in Syria; at least 151 people were recorded as killed and some 850 people were injured. Among those people who died, 142 were killed by cluster munition air strikes and shelling (direct use of cluster munitions) and another nine fatalities were recorded from incidents involving unexploded submunitions. Ninety-seven percent of those killed in 2012 and 2013 were civilians.[6] Detailed data on fatalities was collected and disaggregated according to the weapons involved by the Violation Documentation Center in Syria (VDC) and the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).[7] Picture1

The SNHR also documented the number of people injured by cluster munitions, many of whom were wounded by unexploded submunitions that are scattered widely throughout many areas of the country.[8] Collection of data was ongoing and efforts to gather details on casualties were hampered by the intensity of the continuing conflict. The SNHR reported that the number of casualties, was believed to be far higher than presented in the available statistics.[9] Data collected by the SNHR was periodically updated.

In 2012, according to data from VDC and SNHR, 113 people were reported as killed (including four due to unexploded submunitions) and some 470 people injured by cluster munitions.[10] In 2013, the only casualties recorded globally during cluster munition strikes occurred in Syria.[11]

Despite efforts to improve data collection methods, casualties from cluster munitions remained chronically underreported and were often not distinguished in data from casualties of other types of unexploded ordnance. Despite the challenges of accessing information, in 2013 unexploded submunition casualties were reported in at least nine countries and one other area: Cambodia (three), Croatia (three), Iraq (eight), Lao PDR (six), Lebanon (one), South Sudan (six), Sudan (five), Syria (nine), Vietnam (four), and the other area Western Sahara (one).

In countries where incidents resulting in unexploded submunition casualties were disaggregated, and the circumstances were known, a continuing pattern of harm to civilians—particularly children and young adults trying to make a living—is apparent. Cluster munition remnants also continued to create a deadly threat to mine and ERW clearance personnel who endeavor to clear hazardous areas. The following examples of reports of casualties in 2013 illustrate the types of incidents that occurred:

  • In Lao PDR, six young boys (ages 5, 6, 10, 13 and two aged 12) were out looking for bamboo shoots in the woods near their home when they picked up and began to play with a cluster submunition. The submunition exploded, killing one boy and injuring the others with shrapnel. Two of the wounded boys had serious injuries to their stomachs.[12]
  • In Lebanon, an 18-year-old shepherd working on a farm in Hallat village in the south was killed when he stepped on a cluster submunition.[13]
  • In Croatia, one member of a demining battalion was killed and two other clearance personnel in the battalion were injured in an accident when a BL-755 submunition detonated as they searched and cleared the area surrounding a military munitions storage facility in Pađene, near Knin. This was the site of an unplanned explosion in September 2011 that scattered cluster submunitions.[14]
  • A 12-year-old boy was playing with his friends in Arjamia in the liberated territories of POLISARIO-controlled[15] Western Sahara when he picked up a small ball from the ground. It turned out to be an unexploded cluster submunition which detonated in his hand and blew the boy’s fingers off.[16]

Details of unexploded submunition casualties in Syria were still emerging at the time of publication. Data sources include links to images and videos of torn, punctured, and bloody human remains of several of the people killed both in strikes and from unexploded submunitions.[17]

Global casualties

Casualties from cluster munition remnants and strikes have occurred in at least 31 states and three other areas where cluster munitions have been used.[18] Of the 31 states where cluster munition casualties occurred, 12 are States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and four have signed but not yet ratified the convention. There may have been casualties, as yet unconfirmed, in several more states.[19]

States and other areas with cluster munition casualties (as of end 2013)

States Parties (entry into force date) Other states and areas
Afghanistan (1 March 2012) Cambodia
Albania (1 August 2010) Eritrea
Bosnia and Herzegovina (1 March 2011) Ethiopia
Chad (1 September 2013) Georgia
Croatia (1 August 2010) Israel
Guinea-Bissau (1 May 2011) Kuwait
Iraq (1 November 2013) Libya
Lao PDR (1 August 2010) Russia
Lebanon (1 May 2011) Serbia
Montenegro (1 August 2010) South Sudan
Mozambique (1 September 2011) Sudan
Sierra Leone (1 August 2010) Syria
Signatories Tajikistan
Angola Vietnam
Colombia Yemen
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Kosovo
Uganda Nagorno-Karabakh
Western Sahara

Note: Convention on Cluster Munitions States Parties are indicated in bold; other areas in italics.

 

Cluster munition victims

people_affected_population_100px_bluebox

Cluster munition victims” are defined under Article 5 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions as all persons who have been killed or suffered physical or psychological injury, economic loss, social marginalization, or substantial impairment of the realization of their rights caused by the use of cluster munitions. This definition includes 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. Although little is known about the actual number of families and communities affected by cluster munitions, available information indicates that their needs are likely to be extensive.

Data collection of cluster munition victims mostly recorded only those people killed and injured (casualties). The available information on efforts to assist cluster munition victims focuses on the survivors.

There are no comprehensive, reliable statistics on cluster munition casualtiesthe people who were killed or injured by cluster munitionsand for decades there was inadequate reporting and massive under-reporting of both civilian and military casualties.[20] However, in 2013, for the first time, Iraq and Croatia did report cluster munition casualties in annual Article 7 transparency reporting. Western Sahara also disaggregated cluster munition casualties in their first voluntary Article 7 report. Yet Lao PDR and Lebanon reported all casualties of mines/ERW without differentiating or specifying how many cluster munition casualties were included in the casualty figures.

At least 19,419 cluster munition casualties have been reported globally through the end of 2013. But a better indicator of the number of cluster munition casualties is the estimated total of more than 55,000. Some global projections range as high as 85,000 casualties or more, but some of those country totals are based on extrapolations from limited samples and data may be inflated.[21]

The majority of reported cluster munition casualties (70%) have been recorded in States Parties and signatories, particularly Afghanistan (774), Iraq (3,019), Lao PDR (7,604), and Lebanon (713).

The vast majority (15,652) of reported casualties were caused by cluster munition remnants—typically explosive submunitions which failed to detonate during strikes. Another 2,447 casualties were recorded from cluster munition strikes. For another 1,320 casualties documented it was not specified how many were due to strikes. Casualties at the time of use have been grossly under-reported; therefore the actual number of casualties, both known and estimated, is massively under-represented. Data on casualties due to cluster munition strikes is more difficult to collect systematically and is often not included in casualty reporting.

Civilians accounted for the majority (94%) of all cluster munition casualties recorded for all time from both cluster munition strikes and cluster munition remnants in the cases where the status was recorded.[22] Humanitarian deminers (clearance personnel) accounted for slightly more than 3%, and security forces (military, police, and other security personnel) accounted for just under 3%. The original data used by the Monitor is based on global casualty data collected by Handicap International (HI) in 2006 and 2007. The addition of new data sources over time did not significantly change the percentage of civilian casualties.[23]

Victim Assistance

The Convention on Cluster Munitions requires that States Parties with cluster munition victims implement the following victim assistance activities:

  • Collect relevant data and assess the needs of cluster munition victims;
  • Coordinate victim assistance programs and develop a national plan;
  • Actively involve cluster munition victims in all processes that affect them;
  • Ensure adequate, available, and accessible assistance;
  • Provide assistance that is gender- and age-sensitive as well as non-discriminatory; and
  • Report on progress.

According to the convention, States Parties with responsibility for cluster munition victims should identify the resources available as well as the needs for international cooperation and assistance for the above activities.

The Vientiane Action Plan 2010–2015 provides a guide for prioritizing implementation of victim assistance in all its key aspects.[24] States Parties in a position to provide such assistance should promptly respond to requests for support to victim assistance “to ensure that the pace and effectiveness of these activities increases in 2011 and beyond.” They should also “strive to ensure continuity, predictability and sustainability of resource commitments.”[25]

Assessing needs

According to the Convention’s Article 5 requirements, States Parties must make “every effort to collect reliable relevant data” and assess the needs of cluster munition victims. According to the Vientiane Action Plan, within one year of the convention’s entry into force for each State Party, all necessary data should have been collected and disaggregated by sex and age, and the needs and priorities of cluster munition victims should have been assessed.[26] Though no States Parties have fulfilled the action,[27] a number of States Parties saw progress in needs assessment in 2013:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continued to identify new cluster munition casualties; however, details were insufficient for planning or analysis.
  • In Iraq, the identification of new cluster munition casualties through an ongoing survey and needs assessment was reported in Iraq’s Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 report for 2013.
  • Lao PDR continued to gather data on survivors and their needs in its national Survivor Tracking System, which planned to track more than 15,000 mine/ERW and cluster munition survivors by the end of 2013. By April 2014, profiles of 9,000 survivors had been entered into the IMSMA database and data was to be made available to implementers when analysis was completed.
  • Lebanon initiated a national victim survey and needs assessment survey in July 2013, targeting 690 people killed and injured as well as their families, covering medical, economic, social, psychological, and educational and training needs.
  • In 2013, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), in cooperation with the Montenegrin Regional Centre for Underwater Demining, identified nine cluster munition casualties that occurred in 1999 in Montenegro. This was one more casualty than identified by NPA during a research study in 2006, but no other details were reported.
  • In June 2013, a needs assessment of a representative sample of mine/ERW survivors was completed by HI and RAVIM, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs, in the provinces of Inhambane and Sofala in Mozambique. The survey did not differentiate the assessed survivors by type of explosive device.

Coordination, plans, and strategies

States Parties with cluster munition casualties must designate a government victim assistance focal point. The focal point should be appointed within six months after becoming a State Party.[28] All States Parties with known cluster munition victims with the exception of Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone have designated one or more focal points for Convention on Cluster Munition victim assistance activities. The government’s victim assistance focal point for BiH in 2013 was unclear,[29] although one had been designated in past years.

BiH reported having revised its victim assistance strategy in 2013. Lao PDR adopted a victim assistance plan in March 2014, which specifies cooperation with relevant ministries. However, the plan is only a guideline and it is not mandatory for ministries to include the needs of cluster munition victims in their limited budgets.[30] In 2013, Mozambique developed a national plan for victim assistance, as a component of the National Disability Plan 2012–2019, with the support of HI.[31] Guinea-Bissau presented objectives of its national victim assistance plan in December 2013.[32] A victim assistance and disability plan was yet to be developed in Afghanistan pending the completion of a relevant policy paper.

Providing adequate assistance: progress in 2013 and action required

Under the Vientiane Action Plan, each State Party with cluster munition victims should take immediate action to increase availability and accessibility of services, particularly in remote and rural areas where they are most often absent. States and other areas with cluster munition victims continue to face significant challenges in providing holistic and accessible care to affected individuals, families, and communities. Following are some of the key advances to improve the availability, accessibility, and sustainability of victim assistance in 2013, as well as actions required for further improvement.

Special issues of concern from 2013 findings: conflict and displacement

security_attack_100px_blueboxcamp_idp_refugee_camp_100px_bluebox

In States Parties Iraq and Lebanon, the availability of services was affected by the crisis in Syria, which caused millions of refugees to find shelter in those States Parties.

  • In Iraq, healthcare centers and hospitals in Kurdistan were “overwhelmed” by the number of refugees in need entering from Syria during 2013.
  • In Lebanon, “the influx of Syrian refugees to different Lebanese territories including the contaminated areas results in an increase in mine/ERW incidents.” A number of UN agencies, as well as national and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), have initiated programs and interventions that directly support the Ministry of Public Health “to try and relieve some of the burden on Lebanon’s health system.”

In Afghanistan, obtaining appropriate and timely medical treatment in conflict-affected areas remained difficult for much of the population. Furthermore, attacks on medical personnel and facilities impeded services.

 Availability, accessibility, and sustainability of services and action points based on findings

With one year remaining to see the fulfillment of the Vientiane Action Plan promise of immediately available and accessible services for cluster munition victims, concrete steps have been taken by most States Parties. However, services remain a far cry from being adequately available, particularly for survivors in remote and rural areas. NGOs continue to provide the most direct and measurable assistance to persons with disabilities and war-injured persons, including survivors, while States Parties overall have not yet developed needed services or even replaced services and programs that were reduced or closed.

Afghanistan

Although there was an overall decline in the extent of activities and services in 2013, the number of service providers remained primarily unchanged and no new rehabilitation centers were established and none closed. Organizations providing services and programs for survivors were unable to secure funding to sustain these programs due to a decrease in international financial support. Many organizations secured one-off support to implement projects that were similar to those that had operated in the past, but were, in some cases, more closely aligned with donor priorities than organizational plans. The precarious funding situation resulted in an overall decline in the number of survivors being assisted. This resulted in an overall decrease in the number of projects being implemented and some organizations were unable to complete their planned projects and overall mandates due to a decrease in international financial support.

Way forward:

  • Expand access to physical rehabilitation, particularly in provinces lacking services or where travelling to receive rehabilitation is difficult for survivors. Coordination among donors funding services for persons with disabilities and government and NGO actors is needed to preserve programs as changing priorities increasingly become a challenge for service providers.

Albania

Donor support for the purchase of much needed rehabilitation equipment for the prosthetics department in the cluster munition affected-region helped avert a crisis in support that would have resulted in essential services not being available.

Way forward:

  • Ensure the sustainability of rehabilitation supplies, particularly because surveys of abandoned ordnance casualties throughout the country have increased the demand for the limited services available in the area where cluster munition victims live.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

A decrease in all services provided by NGOs continued, mainly linked with the ongoing decline in international funding.

Way forward:

  • Do more to improve the quality and sustainability of services for survivors and other persons with disabilities, including by upgrading community-based rehabilitation centers.

Chad

No significant reported changes in the accessibility, availability, or quality of victim assistance services. Rehabilitation was inadequately available and there was a persistent lack of physiotherapists, psychosocial support, vocational training, and economic reintegration opportunities for survivors and persons with disabilities.

Way forward:

  • Increase all services and programs needed by victims, including physical rehabilitation and employment. There is an acute need for improved facilities and professional capacity in the rehabilitation sector. Ensure sustainability with government investment and support to rehabilitation and emergency care.

Croatia

Healthcare, rehabilitation, and employment were delivered through state services. A special facility for psychological rehabilitation continued to improve the availability of short-term support. However, provision for continuing psychosocial rehabilitation and reintegration remained weak during the reporting period.

Way forward:

  • Secure adequate resources for civil society victim assistance activities that fill gaps in government services, including peer support outreach and targeted psychological assistance, while working toward improving government provision of necessary services. Expand services to rural and remote areas and improve accessibility to the existing services in those areas.

Guinea-Bissau

Over the last decade, there has been little progress overall in improving access and quality of assistance to survivors due to lack of funds and of government support.

Way forward:

  • Dedicate increased national and international funding to address the needs and promote the rights of mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) survivors and other persons with disabilities.

Iraq

The national healthcare budget increased and the Iraqi and Kurdistan Ministries of Health assumed greater responsibility for the management and financing of physical rehabilitation. However, the availability of all services needed by survivors remained limited and access to those services that were available was hindered even more than in recent years in some parts of the country as armed violence rose to the highest level in 10 years.

Way forward:

  • Improve access to physical rehabilitation services, particularly for people living in remote locations and areas with high levels of violence, and ensure equal access to services for both males and females.

Lao PDR

Lao PDR reported that it still has “a long way to go to provide support to survivors and their families. Beyond meeting their immediate emergency medical needs, very few survivors receive adequate physical, psychological, or economic support.”[33] Survivors lacked access to quality medical care and professional health workers in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychological support were almost non-existent.

Way forward:

  • Improve accessibility to rehabilitation for survivors and other persons with disabilities in remote and rural areas. Integrate responsibility for the allocation of resources for services, referral, and outreach, including transport and accommodation into government budgets

Lebanon

Relatively active but poorly funded private organizations made most of the efforts to assist persons with disabilities. International assistance received in 2013 was less than anticipated despite resource mobilization efforts undertaken by the Lebanon Mine Action Center together with operators.

Way forward:

  • A sustainable funding strategy is needed for the physical rehabilitation sector, which relies on international funding and donations.

Mozambique

A lack of both availability and access prevented most survivors from receiving needed rehabilitation services. Production of new prosthetic devices, which had halted due to a lack of resources, resumed in 2013, but long waitlists continued. Rehabilitation centers remained out of reach for survivors living in rural areas. No changes were registered in socioeconomic inclusion and psychological support.

Way forward:

  • Prioritize rehabilitation and economic inclusion assistance for the most vulnerable among the survivor population, based on degree of physical, psychological, and socioeconomic need. Respond to the specific needs of women victims, the largest demographic group of victims as the members of affected families and communities, who continue to cope with financial, social and emotional loss.

There were no significant reported changes in the accessibility, availability, or quality of victim assistance services in Montenegro or Sierra Leone. The Monitor’s victim assistance thematic research for Convention on Cluster Munitions signatories and non-signatories on the provision of adequate assistance is ongoing and available online in country profiles.

Role of survivors

The participation of cluster munition victims was key in the development and adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the convention calls on States Parties to “closely consult with and actively involve cluster munition victims and their representative organisations” to fulfill victim assistance obligations. The Vientiane Action Plan states that States Parties must actively involve cluster munitions victims and their representative organizations in the work of the convention, placing responsibility on all States Parties, and not just those with cluster munition victims, for promoting the participation of cluster munition victims.

All States Parties with victim assistance coordination structures in place in 2013 involved survivors or their representative organizations in victim assistance or disability coordination mechanisms. However, overall closer consultation and more active engagement of survivors were needed.

In nine of the 12 States Parties with known cluster munition victims, survivors were involved in victim assistance activities, including in providing ongoing services such as prosthetics or delivering peer-to-peer support.[34]

As highlighted by the Vientiane Action Plan, survivors and cluster munition victims should be considered as experts in victim assistance and included on government delegations to international meetings and in all activities related to the convention. As in the past reporting period, BiH was the only State Party known to have included a survivor as a member of its delegation to an international meeting of the convention in 2013. By contrast, many cluster munition victims have participated in international meetings as part of the Cluster Munition Coalition delegation.

Age- and gender-sensitive assistance and non-discrimination

States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions commit to adequately providing age- and gender-sensitive assistance to cluster munition victims.[35] Yet for most States Parties and signatories, little information was available about this aspect of assistance. Few activities were reported that were designed to increase services appropriate to the needs of women, men, girls, and boys. Some of the reported activities are described below.

According to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, States Parties should not discriminate against or among cluster munition victims, or between cluster munition victims and those who have suffered from other causes. Research shows that for most countries where discrimination was reported, it was due to preferential treatment for veterans or discrimination against particular gender, age, or regional groups, rather than differences in treatment based on the cause of disability or the type of weapon that caused injury. For example, disabled war veterans were often given a privileged status above that of civilian war survivors and other persons with disabilities, particularly in regards to financial allowances and other state benefits. This continued to be a serious problem in BiH in particular. In Afghanistan, unequal benefits for veterans were included in revised disability legislation in 2013.

However, no discrimination in favor of cluster munition victims by, or in, States Parties with Article 5 obligations was identified in 2013.[36] Concerns about positive discrimination in the allocation of services to cluster munition victims nonetheless continued to be raised by States Parties and the question of how to manage a non-discriminatory approach was one of three questions on the agenda for victim assistance at the meeting of States Parties of the Convention in Lusaka in September 2013. These concerns seem to be in part because cluster munition victims and other mine/ERW survivors as a group are sometimes perceived as attracting more attention than other persons facing similar barriers, although this attention has not been seen to result in differences in the provision of services. Rather, research has indicated that it has contributed to making more resources available for people from other groups with similar needs.[37]

Reporting on progress

Under Article 7 of the convention, States Parties are required to submit reports on the status and progress of implementation of all victim assistance obligations. All States Parties with cluster munition victims that submitted their Article 7 report for 2013 included information on victim assistance in Form H; most provided detailed information or new factual reporting, including updates of contact information for focal points. In 2013, signatory State DRC and other area Western Sahara submitted voluntary reports with information on victim assistance. Albania, Chad, Mozambique, and Sierra Leone did not submit Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 reports for 2013, and Guinea-Bissau had not yet submitted its initial reporting.

[1] Cluster munition remnants include abandoned cluster munitions, unexploded submunitions and unexploded bomblets, as well as failed cluster munitions. Unexploded submunitions are “explosive submunitions” that have been dispersed or released from a cluster munition, but failed to explode as intended. Unexploded bomblets are similar to unexploded submunitions but refer to “explosive bomblets” which have been dispersed or released from an affixed aircraft dispenser and failed to explode as intended. Abandoned cluster munitions are unused explosive submunitions or whole cluster munitions that have been left behind or dumped and are no longer under the control of the party that left them behind or dumped them. See Convention on Cluster Munitions, Art. 2(5), (6), (7), and (15).

[2] See Article 5 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

[3] 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.

[4] Despite not having yet signed or acceded to the convention, both Cambodia and Vietnam have recognized the need for victim assistance for cluster munition victims and have provided information to Convention on Cluster Munition States Parties on their efforts in this regard. Both have reported on their implementation efforts in accordance with the convention’s specific requirements of planning, coordination, and the integration of victim assistance into rights-based frameworks, such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Statement of Cambodia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, 12 September 2012, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAfn4; and statement of Vietnam, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2012, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAfn4b. Vietnam stated that it is “among the countries most affected by cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war.” It said “Viet Nam has signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and adopted a Law on Persons with Disabilities, which provides an important legal framework for the care for and assistance to victims of ERW.” Vietnam identified the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs as the focal point for victim assistance and is developing a Victim Assistance Action Plan and Standard Guidelines on Victim Assistance.

[5] “Draft Oslo Progress Report,” CCM/MSP/2012/WP.1, undated, pp. 7 and 9, bit.ly/ bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf5; and “Lusaka Progress Report,” Lusaka, (corrected) 13 September 2013, p. 9, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf5b.

[6] In 2013, two recorded fatalities were among members of non-state armed groups. In 2012 there were five non-state armed group members recorded as killed.

[7] Email from Amir Kazkaz, Database Management Division, VDC, 14 April 2014 and casualty data from the VDC database, www.vdc-sy.info; and casualty data by email from Fadel Abdul Ghani, Director, SNHR, 28 April 2014.

[8] According the SNHR “most of the injured were wounded by the cluster bombs when they passed near it, touched it…some of them were injured while trying to disarm it.” Email from Fadel Abdul Ghani, Director, SNHR, 25 July 2014.

[9] “Despite the great difficulty in even getting an approximate number of people injured by the use of cluster munitions by the government forces, the estimates of the team of SNHR refer to more than 1470 people injured.” SNHR, “Victims of Cluster Munitions in Syria,” 2 February 2014, p 6; and SNHR, “Three Year Harvest,” sn4hr.org/blog/2014/03/31/three-years-harvest. Casualty data by email from Fadel Abdul Ghani, Director, SNHR, 28 April 2014.

[10] Email from Amir Kazkaz, Database Management Division, VDC, 14 April 2014 and casualty data from the VDC database, www.vdc-sy.info; and casualty data by email from Fadel Abdul Ghani, Director, SNHR, 28 April 2014. The two data sets were analysed by the Monitor and duplicate casualty data removed to create a unique data set.

[11] There may have been casualties due to use of a type of cluster munition in Myanmar, but no details were available. There were also reports of cluster munition casualties in Ukraine in 2014, but these remained unverified, or the type of munition causing the casualties had been questioned. See for example Armament Research Services, “Ukrainian Air Force strike Lugansk with S-8KOM rockets,” 3 June 2014, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf11d; and “8 killed in admin HQ blast as fighter jets deployed to Lugansk, Ukraine,”,RT, 2 June 2014 (edited 3 June 2014), bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf11e.

[12] “A Lao boy killed, five injured by unexploded ordnance,” Vientiane Times, 29 August 2013, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf12a; and see also, Legacies of War, “Casualties & Survivors,” bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf12b.

[13] “18-year-old Lebanese killed by Israeli cluster bomb,” Daily Star, 10 August 2013, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf13a.

[14] Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for Calendar Year 2013), Form J, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf14.

[15] Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro).

[16] Association of Saharawi Victims of Mines (Asociación Saharaui de Víctimas de Minas, ASAVIM), 11 March 2013, www.facebook.com/ASAVIM?ref=stream; and email from Jonas Tappolet, Information Management Officer, UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), 4 June 2014.

[17] See casualty data from the VDC database, www.vdc-sy.info.

[18] This relates to cluster munition casualties recorded around the world beginning with US military intervention in South East Asia (1964). Of the 31 states, there is no definite data on numbers of casualties in Chad, Libya, and Mozambique. For the other 28 states, confirmed number of casualties and/or estimated numbers of casualties are available online in the Monitor country profiles. “Use” in some cases includes cluster munitions which have been scattered or abandoned. In Guinea-Bissau, cluster munition casualties were reported among 11 casualties caused by explosive ordnance during a munitions storage explosion. Handicap International (HI), Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007). Annex 2, p. 145, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14HI2007. Five of the casualties recorded in Croatia were also caused by submunitions that had been scattered as a result of a munition storage explosion.

[19] It is possible that cluster munition casualties have occurred but gone unrecorded in other countries where cluster munitions were used, abandoned, or stored in the past—such as Azerbaijan, Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Zambia— or more recently where details are still unclear—such as Myanmar and Ukraine

[20] In most countries, when identified, casualties from unexploded submunitions have been recorded as casualties from ERW without differentiating from other types of ERW.

[21] See also HI, Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007), bit.ly/MonitorCMM14HI2007. “A conservative estimate indicates that there are at least 55,000 cluster submunitions casualties but this figure could be as high as 100,000 cluster submunitions casualties.”

[22] For 7,933 casualties, status (civilian, humanitarian demining, or security forces) was not recorded.

[23] HI found that 98% of casualties were civilian using an extrapolation based on known casualties. . Of the number of known casualties the percentage of civilians was some 94%. See HI, Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007), bit.ly/MonitorCMM14HI2007.

[24] The Vientiane Action Plan includes 10 detailed and time-bound victim assistance actions specific to countries with cluster munition victims and three other actions relating to victim assistance in States Parties. The actions are related to medical care, rehabilitation and psychological support, social and economic inclusion, and other relevant services.

[25] Vientiane Acton Plan, Action #37 and Action #38.

[26] Such data should be made available to all relevant stakeholders and contribute to national injury surveillance and other relevant data collection systems for use in program planning.

[27] With the possible exception of Albania, which had ongoing needs assessment survey in place prior to entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

[28] The period after the convention’s entry into force for that State Party, as noted in the above table.

[29] BiH, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013) Form H, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf29a.

[30] “Little help for UXO victims in Laos,” IRIN, 27 February 2014, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf30a.

[31] Statement of Mozambique, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, Maputo, 24 June 2014, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf31a.

[32] Statement of Guinea-Bissau, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 4 December 2013, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf32.

[33] Statement of Lao PDR, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meeting, 9 April 2014.

[34] No survivor involvement in victim assistance activities was identified in Guinea-Bissau, Montenegro, or Sierra Leone.

[35] Children require specific and more frequent assistance than adults. Women and girls often need specific services depending on their personal and cultural circumstances. Women face multiple forms of discrimination, as survivors themselves or as those who survive the loss of family members, often the husband and head of household.

[36] Such discrimination by donors and implementers in the sphere of landmine/ERW victim assistance more broadly has been identified in the past by Handicap International, as reported in a series of documents published in 2014. See http://bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf36a.

[37] See individual country profiles; and the Monitor, “Frameworks for Victim Assistance: Monitor key findings and observations,” December 2013, bit.ly/MonitorCMM14VAf37.

 

*The above is an excerpt from the annual report. This is the fifth annual Cluster Munition Monitor report issued annually since 1999 by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), 1997 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate. The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor is coordinated by a committee of ICBL-CMC staff and representatives from Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, Mines Action Canada, and Norwegian People’s Aid.

Posted in: Publications