Handicap International condemns the reported use of cluster munitions in South Sudan. Last week, the United Nations Mine Action Service announced that it had found new cluster munitions contamination near the town of Bor, which is on the road to South Sudan’s capital city of Juba.
“We don’t have any confirmation of who is responsible for this new use but we blame all use of this banned weapon,” said Marion Libertucci, head of advocacy for Handicap International. “Cluster munitions cause unacceptable harm to civilians and should never be used.”
In a statement issued Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the use of cluster munitions in South Sudan.
South Sudan already suffers from the legacy contamination of previous cluster munitions use. According to the Cluster Munition Monitor, cluster munitions remnants were identified in all ten states of South Sudan. “It is irresponsible to cause more contamination in South Sudan given the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and the current burden of cluster munitions contamination that the country already struggles to clear,” Libertucci said.
A majority of the world’s nations have comprehensively banned the use of cluster munitions through the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which came into force on August 1, 2010. A total of 113 countries have signed the convention, which bans cluster munitions and requires clearance of contaminated areas and assistance to victims. Eighty-four have already ratified it.
Handicap International calls on all states to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay. The U.S. has yet to join both the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty. More facts about cluster bombs can be found here.
South Sudan is in the midst of a fresh round of violence. The United Nations estimates that 707,400 people inside South Sudan have been displaced from their homes, while another 149,700 people have fled to nearby countries.
Handicap International has worked in South Sudan since 2006, and has a team on the ground, responding to the country's most recent emergency.