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Last Updated: 23 August 2014

Cluster Munition Ban Policy


The Kingdom of Thailand has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Thailand has continued to engage in the convention and express support for its objectives, but does not appear to be actively working toward accession. In September 2013, a government representative informed States Parties that Thailand is “pleased to have engaged in constructive dialogue” under the convention and expressed “strong determination to implement the Convention obligations” but did not indicate if there is a plan for accession to the convention.[1] In October 2013, Thailand stated that it “fully supports the humanitarian principles which lie at the core of the international efforts to tackle the inhumane weapons such as…cluster munitions.”[2]

Previously, government officials indicated Thailand’s intent to accede to the convention in “the near future.”[3] Thailand used cluster munitions in early February 2011 during a border conflict with Cambodia and subsequently its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kasit Piromya, informed the UN Security Council that “We are seriously considering joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions.”[4] (See section on Use below.)

Thailand participated in most of the diplomatic conferences of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but attended the formal negotiations in May 2008 only as an observer and did not sign the convention when it was opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008.[5]

Since 2008, Thailand has continued to show strong interest in the Convention on Cluster Munitions, despite the lack of accession. It has participated as an observer in all of the convention’s meetings of States Parties, including the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in Lusaka, Zambia in September 2013, where it made a statement. Thailand has also attended all of the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva, including in April 2014.

Thailand has voted in favor of UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions condemning the Syrian government’s use of cluster munitions, including 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.”[6]

Thailand is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Thailand is not known to have ever produced or exported cluster munitions.

Thailand possesses a stockpile of cluster munitions, but its composition and status are not known. The United States (US) supplied Thailand with 500 Rockeye and 200 CBU-71 air-dropped cluster bombs at some point between 1970 and 1995.[7] Thailand also possesses French-made 155 mm NR 269 ERFB extended-range artillery projectiles, each containing 56 M42/M46-type[8] dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions.[9] Based on the types of submunitions identified in Cambodia after artillery strikes, Thailand also possesses a cluster munition that delivers M85 self-destructing DPICM submunitions.

Thailand has said that it does not intend to acquire more stocks of cluster munitions.[10] Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) provided the government with advice and information on possible solutions for the destruction of Thailand’s stockpile of cluster munitions.[11]


In recent years, Thai and Cambodian military forces have engaged in several brief skirmishes over disputed parts of the border near Preah Vihear temple, resulting in claims and counter-claims of new antipersonnel mine use.[12] In February 2011, the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), a government entity, claimed that Thai military forces had fired cluster munitions during fighting on the border at Preah Vihear.[13] Separate missions by CMC members in February and April 2011 confirmed that cluster munitions were used by Thailand on Cambodian territory, including M42/M46 and M85-type DPICM submunitions.[14] At that time, the CMC urged Thailand to provide detailed information on the cluster munition strikes and has consistently encouraged Cambodia and Thailand to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay.

Thailand’s use of cluster munitions elicited a strong international response.[15] Thailand responded that it “strictly adhered to the applicable international humanitarian law that all states are obliged to prevent unnecessary loss of civilian lives.”[16] Thailand stated that it “fully understands the concerns raised” over the cluster munition use and promised to “remain committed to engaging with the international community on this issue”[17]


[1] Statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 10 September 2013.

[2] Statement of Thailand, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 29 October 2013.

[3] Statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 27 June 2011. Notes by the CMC.

[4] Statement by Kasit Piromya, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, UN Security Council, New York, 14 February 2011.

[5] For details on Thailand’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), pp. 245–246.

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

[7] US Defense Security Assistance Agency, Department of Defense, “Cluster Bomb Exports under FMS, FY1970–FY1995,” obtained by Human Rights Watch in a Freedom of Information Act request, 28 November 1995.

[8] This specific type of submunition is also called a “grenade.” A certain amount of contradictory information exists publicly about the specific type of DPICM submunition contained in the NR269 projectile. France lists it as an “M42 type” in its initial Article 7 report in January 2011. Other international ammunition reference publications list the type as M46. There is little outward visual difference between the two types: the M46 DPICM is heavier/thicker and has a smooth interior surface. A portion of the interior of the M42 DPICM body is scored for greater fragmentation.

[9] NPA, “Impact Assessment Report: Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia,” undated, but circulated 3 April 2011. Both Canadian and South African companies were involved in the development of this weapon. “155 mm ERFB cargo projectiles,” Janes, articles.janes.com.

[10] Interview with Cherdkiat Atthakor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangkok, 24 February 2010; and statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 4 December 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[11] Email from Lee Moroney, Programme Manager, NPA, 17 August 2010.

[12] See ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2009: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2009), pp. 243–244 and pp. 719–710; and ICBL, Landmine Monitor 2010: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010).

[13] CMAC press release, “CMAC Mine Risk Education (MRE) teams to raise awareness of mines, ERW and Cluster Munitions for the communities in PrahVihear,” 10 February 2011.

[14] For full analysis of the 2011 use incident, see CMC, Cluster Munition Monitor 2011 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2011), pp. 319–320. The missions were conducted by Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs (on 9 February and 12 February) and NPA (1–2 April). CMC press release, “CMC condemns Thai use of cluster munitions in Cambodia,” 5 April 2011.

[15] For example, the Beirut Progress Report issued by the convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties stated: “Several states have reported actions reacting to the instance of use of cluster munitions by Thailand in 2011. This includes individual and joint demarches, support for fact-finding missions and condemnation of the use in public statements. The President of the Convention has also issued a statement, stating his concern over the use of cluster munitions. States and civil society have reported on how they follow up, in terms of actions to increase the understanding and knowledge of the Convention. States and civil society have had a good dialogue with Thailand.” “Draft Beirut Progress Report: Monitoring progress in implementing the Vientiane Action Plan from the First up to the Second Meeting of States Parties,” CCM/MSP/2011/WP.5, 25 August 2011.

[16] Statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011.

[17] Statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 27 June 2011. Notes by the CMC.