Treaty Banning Cluster Bombs Goes Into Effect

Yesterday, the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) went into effect.  The CCM is an international treaty that bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. 

For those that don’t know, cluster bomb units are weapons that release explosive fragments when they’re dropped from the air, covering swaths of land with cluster munitions, sometimes known as “bomblets.”

TAKE ACTION: Clean up cluster bombs!

Many of these dangerous items fail to explode on impact, which means that they continue to pose a threat of death or injury to civilians long after the conflict is over. For years, land is unusable for infrastructure rebuilding or farming. Even worse, these brightly colored munitions look like toys to children, who can be severely injured or killed when they touch these items.

Cluster munitions were heavily used in Laos PDR, Cambodia, Sudan, Lebanon, and Iraq, where contamination still affects daily life in countless communities. In these areas, it’s not enough to simply ban future use of cluster munitions. The bomblets littering the land must be removed.

MAG, a Nobel-prize-winning organization, has been working in many of these communities  for nearly twenty years. MAG helps to clear deadly cluster munitions, as well as other dangerous remnants of conflict that threaten people’s safety and prevent their development for years following a war’s end. 

Cluster bombs from the 2006 Lebanon conflict forever changed Adnan Fakih’s life. Unexploded bomblets that contaminated his home in the south of Lebanon took his right arm, and his once-prosperous farm is now littered with explosives. Only a quarter of his land is safe — certainly not enough for Fakih to provide for his family of eight.

Since 2006, MAG has destroyed at least 21,000 submunitions in Lebanon and cleared more than 13 million square meters of land, including Fakih’s land. Hundreds of families have been able to safely return to their homes. But there is much work left to be done.

Across the Asian continent sits the most cluster bomb-contaminated country: Lao PDR. In the 1960s and 70s, it is believed that more than 260 million bomblets were dropped in the region, which is roughly the size of the United Kingdom. Some estimates suggest as many as 80 million of these bomblets still litter the land.

“People in Laos have been living with the legacy of one of the heaviest and most under-reported bombing campaigns in history for 30 years, and although serious efforts to clear the land are being made, there remains a huge amount of work to do,” said Lou McGrath OBE, Chief Executive of MAG.

In many ways Laos has recovered from this violent past. But the threat of cluster munitions still looms for Laotians in poor, rural areas. The Laos government has ratified the new treaty — an important sign of their commitment to working with the international community to clear the threat from these weapons.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions is an important step, but MAG has a lot of work to do to help the people still at-risk from cluster munitions dropped in years passed. Show your support for MAG’s life-saving work: Sign this pledge and stand with MAG to help make communities safe again.

photo credit:  ©Sean Sutton/MAG


Scott Vonwolf
Scott haakon7 years ago

Roger Nehring Why use mustard when we have VX?
Furthermore there are easier ways to clear field but these people did not do their homework.

Dave Tohunga
Dave te tohunga7 years ago

And who were the 3 large countries that did not sign the treaty as mentioned by one responder to this article?
Would that by any chance be the US, Russia and China?
As the main nation deploying these disgustingly evil devices was the USA which even officially denies the bombings of Laos and Cambodia despite the ample evidence, and refused and still refuses to help remove it's UXB's, what appalls me is that the criminals who make these grotesque weapons, and the criminals who deploy them against civilians, mainly women and children have profitted from their crimes for fifty years and seem unlikely to ever face justice...
Just as american torturers go free, so do american mass murderers.
America! How can any body claim to be a 'proud patriot' and support such evil?

John C.
John C7 years ago
Just for the record it was the US that bombed Laos.

Ray P.
Mary P7 years ago

William A -

check out my profile page and SEE what these Cluster Bombs did to Little Children when Israel bombed Gaza. Check out my shares "Palestine Victims' and "Dare to look".

WARS are EVIL, Killing Innocents, maiming and scarring peoples lives for ever; leaving them emotional and physical wrecks for the rest of their earthly lives.

Peace will only come when the Power of Luv overcomes the Luv of Power.

William A.
William A7 years ago

I wrote my 'Representatives' about these bombs disguised as children's toys that are deliberately designed to not all explode on first contact with the ground. 10 years ago. The US air force under the mass murdering traitor George Bush - whose brother Bush was sitting on the insurance board paid his friend 500 million dollars extra for that special terrorist attack clause after planting bombs at the WTC where he held the security contract- his other brother head of airport Bush retro fitted air craft and flew his drone aircraft into the towers- ordered the closing of the city of Falluja trapping all the people inside and had it fire and cluster bombed because some one shot at Traitor Cheneys Black Water goon squad rapists.

Michel P.
Past Member 7 years ago


Ray P.
Mary P7 years ago

Vladimir - "The rulers of these two consider themselves having the right (certainly God gave them such a right) to bomb anyone who can't bomb them."

Israel and USA are in the habit of making sure those that they dislike and wish to steal(Land and OIL) from, they falsely label "Terrorists" so the countries of the world are banned from supplying them with weapons. The COWARDS then bomb the unarmed innocent peoples of democratic states(Palestine) calling it an attack on a "Terrorist" state which is yet again a LIE, as the Government of Gaza was elected democratically by its people. And guess what the gullible peoples of the world believe the LIES of Israeli and USA Governments; and Watch SILENTLY while innocent peoples are mercilessly massacred and slaughtered like animals. The best retaliation method is home made rockets thanks to the BAN from the world which has made these so called "Terrorists" and its innocent peoples into "sitting ducks" waiting to be destroyed by cluster bombs. Such barbaric injustices is so prevalent in this 21st century and yet they have the nerve to call others barbaric and stone age.

Vladimir G.
Vladimir Grekov7 years ago

Yes, dear Judith, of course, it's accordingly the U.S. and Israel that bombed Laos and Lebanon, and left there millions of cluster bombs. The rulers of these two consider themselves having the right (certainly God gave them such a right) to bomb anyone who can't bomb them.

Judith H.

Well said Joseph A., it is true that governments making decisions to go to war is often for hidden agendas. The government is not that concerned with the individual lives of the soldier or the innocents that are killed. The article did not say whether America signed the agreement, and it did not state who dropped the cluster bombs in Laos, but I believe it was America. Thank you to MAG for their important work, saving lives and saving land. It seems I heard a small blurp on the news that said our country was not glad about the agreement and that we sell millions of these bombs. What will be done with them now? I hope they can destroy them. There is so much money selling weapons by our country and others, much profit to be made. What if we made items of peace. Would there be a demand for that? Imagine what we could produce instead using all that money given to the offense by our country on other countries. It is like a never ending nightmare for many people who have been under conflict. So very evil and so very sad, and so very avoidable. People need to tell their governments we do not want war. We can make our own energy here. Stop this madness.

Michele C.
Michele C7 years ago

Already signed the petition.