The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has condemned the use of cluster munitions, calling on countries to abide by the terms of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The statement comes as the United States prepares to announce the supply of artillery shells of this type to Ukraine.
In a press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, Guterres’ spokesman, Farhan Haq, highlighted the Secretary-General’s support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was adopted 15 years ago. Haq emphasized that Guterres does not want the continued use of cluster munitions on the battlefield.
The White House has confirmed that cluster munitions will be included in the latest batch of military supplies for Ukraine. The Ukrainian army has hailed the delivery as having an extraordinary psycho-emotional impact on Russian troops who have been difficult to push back during a month of heavy fighting.
One of the reasons cited by the Pentagon for providing the dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) is the shortage of conventional 155mm artillery rounds to send to Ukraine.
However, Human Rights Watch and other organizations have raised objections to the plan, pointing out that cluster bombs have a high rate of unexploded ordnance, which continues to pose a threat to civilians for years after they are deployed.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions, which came into effect in August 2010, prohibits the use, development, production, and transfer of these banned munitions. Signatories of the convention pledge to “never under any circumstances” use or facilitate the use of cluster munitions. So far, 111 states, including most NATO members, have ratified the convention. However, notable absentees are the United States, Ukraine, and Russia.
The use of cluster munitions raises concerns due to their indiscriminate nature and the long-lasting danger they pose to civilians. The international community has recognized the need to ban these weapons to prevent further harm and suffering.
While Ukraine may view the supply of cluster munitions as an advantage in their conflict with Russia, it is essential to consider the potential humanitarian consequences. The use of such weapons can lead to civilian casualties and long-term effects on communities.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s condemnation of the use of cluster munitions serves as a reminder to countries to uphold their commitments to international agreements. The focus should be on finding peaceful solutions to conflicts rather than escalating violence through the use of indiscriminate weapons.
The supply of cluster munitions to Ukraine highlights the ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia and raises concerns about the human rights implications of such weapons. It is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the protection of civilians and to seek peaceful resolutions to conflict situations.