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Media Kit Archives » Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice » Quick Facts

Since it was opened for signature on 3 December 2008, a total of 96 countries have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions including 35 former users, producers, stockpilers, or exporters of the weapon. Signatories include 20 of the 28 NATO members and 14 countries that are affected by cluster munitions, such as Afghanistan, Lao PDR, and Lebanon.

To date, seven signatories have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions: Austria, Holy See, Ireland, Lao PDR, Mexico, Norway, and Sierra Leone. Thirty ratifications are required to trigger entry into force of the convention six months later.

Cluster munitions have been used in 33 countries and disputed territories since the end of World War II. The most recent use was in August 2008 when both Russian and Georgian forces used the weapon in South Ossetia, killing or injuring at least 70 civilians. Banning Cluster Munitions highlights major cluster munition users Israel, Russia, and the United States, which have not signed the convention. The report also details lesser known instances of cluster munition use including by the US during the invasion of Grenada in 1983 and by Nigeria in Sierra Leone in 1997 as part of the ECOMOG peacekeeping operation.

A total of 34 states have developed or produced more than 200 types of cluster munitions. Fourteen of those states have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, foreswearing any future production. A total of 17 non-signatories are believed to continue to produce today: Brazil, China, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Turkey, and the US. Three more non-signatories—Argentina, Iraq, and Serbia—apparently no longer produce cluster munitions.

A total of 79 countries are believed to possess stockpiles of cluster munitions, including 31 signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The total global stockpiles of submunitions contained in cluster munitions likely number into the billions. The US alone possesses between 730 million and one billion cluster submunitions. Several signatories have begun the process of destroying their stockpiles of cluster munitions including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK. Spain completed destruction of its stockpile in March 2009, the first country to do so since signing.

While the true scope of the global trade in cluster munitions is difficult to ascertain due to lack of official information, at least 15 countries have transferred more than 50 types of cluster munitions to at least 60 other countries. The US has transferred hundreds of thousands of cluster munitions to at least 30 countries.

Non-signatories are starting to change their policy and practice on cluster munitions as the norm created by the convention begins to take hold. The US has banned and Singapore has enacted a moratorium on export of cluster munitions. Some non-signatories have imposed restrictions on the possible future use of cluster munitions including the US, Poland, and Romania.