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Last Updated: 12 August 2014

Cluster Munition Ban Policy


The Republic of Malawi signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified on 7 October 2009. It was among the first 30 ratifications that triggered the convention’s entry into force on 1 August 2010.

The status of draft implementing legislation to enforce the provisions of the Convention on Cluster Munitions is not known. In January 2011, Malawi reported that draft implementing legislation for the convention would be presented to Parliament for approval “soon.”[1]

Malawi provided an initial Article 7 transparency report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 27 January 2011, but as of 27 June 2014, had not submitted annual updated Article 7 reports due in April 2012, 2013, or 2014.[2]

Malawi participated in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and supported a comprehensive ban without exceptions.[3] It has continued to engage in the work of the convention. Malawi participated in the convention’s Meeting of States Parties held in 2010, 2012, and the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in Lusaka, Zambia in September 2013. Malawi has never participated in the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva, such as those held in April 2014.

In September 2013, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Malawi informed States Parties of his full support for universalization of the convention, committing that Malawi will “use its position as the current SADC [Southern African Development Community] Chair to encourage those members that are signatories to ratify and those who have not signed to accede to the Convention.”[4]

Malawi voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution condemning the Syrian government’s use of cluster munitions, Resolution 68/182, on 18 December 2013, which expressed “outrage” at Syria’s “continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights…including those involving the use of…cluster munitions.”[5]

Interpretive issues

Malawi has described the prohibitions contained in the Convention on Cluster Munitions as “absolute with no exception or loopholes.”[6] In March 2010, Malawi expressed its views on a range of important issues related to interpretation and implementation of the convention, including that:

·         Article 1(c) of the convention’s prohibition of assistance “should read to prohibit investments in CM [cluster munition] producers.”

·         “As well as transfer, the transit of CM is prohibited” under the convention.

·         “States Parties must not intentionally or deliberately assist, induce or encourage any prohibited activity” under the convention during joint military operations with states not party that may use cluster munitions.

·         “There should be no stockpiling of CM of non-State Parties on the territory under the jurisdiction or control of a State Party and State Parties must ensure the destruction or removal of CM of foreign states on the territory.”

·         The retention of cluster munitions for training and development “should be the exception and not the rule,” and those that do retain should only keep a “very limited number.”[7]

Malawi is party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Malawi is not party the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Malawi does not possess stockpiles, does not retain any cluster munitions or explosive submunitions for training or other purposes, and does not have facilities that produce cluster munitions.[8] Malawi is not known to have ever used or transferred cluster munitions.


[2] The initial report covers the period from 1 August 2010 to 27 January 2011.

[3] For details on Malawi’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 115.

[4] Statement of Malawi, Opening Ceremony, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 9 September 2013.

[5]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/68/182, 18 December 2013. Malawi voted in favor of a similar resolution on 15 May 2013.

[6] Statement of Malawi, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Meeting of States Parties, Vientiane, 10 November 2010. Notes by the CMC.

[7] Statement by Maj. Dan Kuwali, Director of Legal Services, Malawi Defence Force, on Promoting a Common Understanding of the Provisions of the Convention in Africa, Africa Regional Conference on the Universalization and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Pretoria, 25 March 2010.

[8] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B to Form J (inclusive), 27 January 2011. The response in almost all forms consists of “none” or “N/A” for not applicable.