Civilians accounted for 95% of cluster munition casualties recorded, says coalition against the use of such weapons
Some 987 people were killed or wounded in cluster munition attacks in 2022, an annual report by a coalition against the use of the weapons said on Tuesday.
According to the report, civilians accounted for 95% of cluster munition casualties worldwide.
Last year, there were at least 1,172 new cluster munition casualties across eight countries including Azerbaijan, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Myanmar, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.
At least 185 people were also killed or wounded by cluster munition remnants, the vast majority of them children, at 71%.
The report found that Russia has repeatedly used cluster munitions in Ukraine since its war begin in February 2022, while Ukraine has also used them to a lesser extent.
In Ukraine alone, cluster munition attacks caused at least 890 fatalities and injuries in 2022, the report said, with the majority of victims being civilians. The remaining cluster munition attack victims were documented in Syria and Myanmar.
None of these countries have signed or ratified the 2008 treaty banning cluster munitions, it said, underscoring the “urgent” need to respect the global ban amid a dramatic increase in cluster munition victims.
“The shocking increase in new civilian casualties from cluster munitions serves as a stark reminder of the devastating impact these heinous weapons have on civilians, including children,” said Tamar Gabelnick, director of the Swiss-based Cluster Munition Coalition.
“All countries that have not banned these weapons must do so immediately,” she said. “There can be no excuse for their continued use.”
Cluster munitions are weapons that are fired from the ground by artillery, rockets, missiles, and mortar projectiles, or dropped by aircraft. They open in the air to disperse multiple submunitions or bomblets over a wide area. Many munitions do not detonate when they hit the ground, leaving behind remains that cause injuries and deaths like landmines for many years, until they are cleared.
Remnants of cluster munitions contamination prevent access to farmland, create impediments to socioeconomic progress, and hinder the provision of essential services and humanitarian aid, the report said.