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Last Updated: 25 August 2014

Cluster Munition Ban Policy


The Republic of Singapore has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Singapore’s position on joining the ban convention is outlined in a May 2010 letter that states: “Singapore believes that humanitarian concerns pertaining to anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions should be balanced against the legitimate right of States to use such munitions judiciously for self-defence…We will continue to support international efforts to resolve the humanitarian concerns over anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions, and to work with members of the international community towards a durable and truly global solution.”[1]

The Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN in Geneva informed the Monitor in April 2013 and March 2012 that there is no update to the position articulated in the May 2010 letter and affirmed that Singapore’s “indefinite moratorium on the export of cluster munitions has not changed.”[2]

Singapore did not participate in any of the preparatory meetings of the Oslo Process but attended, as an observer, the Dublin negotiations of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in May 2008.[3] It has expressed concern at the way in which the convention was “negotiated outside of the United Nations framework into the United Nations system.”[4]

Despite not joining, Singapore has continued to engage in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has participated as an observer in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention except the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in Lusaka, Zambia in September 2013. Singapore attended the first intersessional meetings of the convention in Geneva in June 2011, but has not participated in any subsequent meetings. Singapore did not make any statements at these meetings.

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

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Singapore is not known to have used cluster munitions, but it produces and stockpiles the weapons.

According to Jane’s Information Group, Advanced Material Engineering Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Engineering, produces 155mm dual purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) artillery projectiles, each containing 64 submunitions and equipped with electro-mechanical self-destruct fuzes.[5] The company also produces a 120mm mortar bomb that delivers 25 DPICM submunitions.[6]

Singapore received 350 CBU-71 air-delivered cluster bombs from the United States (US) at some point between 1970 and 1995.[7]

Details on the size of Singapore’s stockpile remain unknown, as the government has chosen not to disclose such information. It is not known if Singapore possesses other types of cluster munitions in addition to its domestically produced 155mm projectiles and 120mm mortar bombs, and the US-supplied cluster bombs.

In November 2008, Singapore announced that, while it would not sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions, it would impose an indefinite moratorium on the export of cluster munitions with immediate effect.[8] In May 2010, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told the Monitor that the indefinite export moratorium was undertaken “to ensure that these munitions will not be transferred to other parties who might use them indiscriminately and irresponsibly.”[9]

When asked by the Monitor if it is producing cluster munitions, Singapore Technologies Engineering stated in May 2010 that, “ST Engineering does not produce cluster munitions for export, nor are we a sub-contractor to anyone who does. We are committed to work with the Singapore government and abide by the moratorium imposed by the Singapore government on the export of cluster munitions.”[10]

In the past, companies in Singapore publicly advertised cluster munitions for sale. However, it is not known if exports actually occurred.

At least three Singaporean financial entities are reportedly involved in investments in manufacturers of cluster munitions. Singapore Technologies Engineering receives investments from at least nine US financial entities, six United Kingdom financial entities, and two Singaporean financial entities, as well as one each in Canada, Finland, and Switzerland..[11]


[1] Letter from Seah Seow Chen, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN in Geneva, 4 May 2010.

[2] Letter from Cheryl Lee, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN in Geneva, 10 April 2013; and letter from Seah Seow Chen, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN in Geneva, 13 March 2012.

[3] For details on Singapore’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 238–239.

[5] Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2007), pp. 657–658. The submunitions have an advertised failure rate of less than 3%.

[6] Singapore Technologies Engineering, “Product: 155m Cargo Round.”

[7] US Defense Security Assistance Agency, Department of Defense, “Cluster Bomb Exports under FMS, FY1970–FY1995,” 15 November 1995, obtained by Human Rights Watch in a Freedom of Information Act request.

[9] Letter from Seah Seow Chen, Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN in Geneva, 4 May 2010.

[10] Email from Sharolyn Choy, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Communications, Singapore Technologies Engineering, 3 May 2010.

[11] IKV Pax Christi, “Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility,” December 2013, pp. 19-23.