Vatican lobbies for Convention on Cluster Munitions

cluster munitions

The Vatican is lobbying for nations to adopt the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Convention aims to prohibit the use of such munitions, their production, transfer and stockpiling.

“Any additional State Party to the Convention represents a renewed impulse to achieve universality, further ensuring that there will be fewer victims in the future and that those who already have tragically been affected can be properly assisted,” the Vatican delegation’s statement informed the United Nations and Other International Organisations.

The Vatican delegation at this week’s Geneva-based meeting of States Parties to the Convention appealed for signatures from all 17 States not yet belonging.

Currently, 112 States are parties to the Convention. Those that have not yet signed include Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Iran, Israel, India, North Korea, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, the United States and Turkey.

The 13-year old Convention has two aims. One is to stop suffering caused by cluster munitions, the other to prevent the potential humanitarian impact these munitions have on civilians – during and long after conflicts end.

The Vatican stressed the correctness of the Convention’s fundamental principles.

These include the “unequivocal reaffirmation of the preeminent and inherent value of human dignity and the centrality of the human person.”

The Vatican also noted the Convention is a legal obligation for those party to it.

This is because it “has direct implications and far-reaching consequences, in particular with relation to victims’ assistance, which is one of the main reasons why this Convention came into existence.”

Promoting integral human development

The Vatican’s appeal for signatories coincides with the US government’s July decision to transfer some of its stockpiled cluster munitions to Ukraine for use in the war against Russia.

It appealed to all parties in the Ukraine conflict “to put an immediate end to the use of cluster munitions” and overcome what these represent “for the innocent people who suffer from the cruelty of conflict” and promote “integral human development, and the preservation of stability and peace.”

The EU stated after the Vatican appeal that “putting the human rights of victims at the forefront of victim assistance is not just a commitment, but a shared responsibility.

“Where needed, we must support States Parties in the integration of victim assistance into their national policies and legal frameworks in a non-discriminatory and gender-sensitive manner,” the EU statement said.

Cluster damage – the numbers

According to the annual Cluster Munition Monitor Report, civilians are the most likely victims. They accounted for 95 percent of casualties recorded in 2022.

Children account for 71 percent of casualties from cluster munition remnants.

In Ukraine alone, cluster munition attacks killed and injured at least 890 people in 2022. Most were civilians.

Other cluster munition casualties last year were recorded in Syria and Myanmar.


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News category: World.

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