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Country Reports


The Republic of Chile signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. In February 2009, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a request to the President of Chile recommending ratification of the convention. After approval by Chile’s executive, the ratification package will be submitted to the national congress for approval.[1]

Chile is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but has not ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War.

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

On 25 October 2006, Chile supported a proposal that the CCW’s Third Review Conference establish a mandate to negotiate a legally-binding instrument that addresses the humanitarian concerns posed by cluster munitions.[2] However, when this was not accepted, Chile did not join 25 other states that issued a joint declaration calling for an agreement that would prohibit cluster munitions that “pose serious humanitarian hazards because they are for example unreliable and/or inaccurate.”[3]

In February 2007, Chile attended the initial conference convened by Norway to launch the Oslo Process and endorsed the Oslo Declaration, committing to the conclusion of a new treaty in 2008. Subsequently, it actively participated in the international conferences to develop the treaty in Lima, Vienna, and Wellington, as well as the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008, where it served as a vice-president of the conference.[4] It also attended regional conferences in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Ecuador

At the Wellington conference in February 2008, Chile supported a complete prohibition on cluster munitions, without exceptions, and was not in favor of language on “interoperability” (joint military operations with states not party).[5] Chile joined several affected countries in explicitly endorsing obligations for past users of cluster munitions. It supported the inclusion of language on risk education,[6] and language to include survivors in decision-making processes.[7] Chile called for transparency reports to be made publicly available on a website.[8]

During the Dublin negotiations, Chile aligned with many Latin American states in calling for the most comprehensive convention possible. At the conclusion, Chile expressed its particular support for the convention’s provisions on stockpile destruction, clearance, risk education, victim assistance, and transparency, and its lack of a transition period (allowing continued use) or any provision for reservations. Chile promised to make great efforts to achieve the universalisation of the convention.[9]

Immediately after the Dublin negotiations, Chile worked to produce a resolution by the Organization of American States (OAS) on 3 June 2008 that invites member states “to consider becoming parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.”[10] In an August 2008 response to a letter from local campaigners, Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the government attached great importance to the convention and its promotion.[11]

At the CCW in November 2008, Chile was one of 26 states that issued a joint statement expressing their opposition to the weak draft text on a possible CCW protocol on cluster munitions, indicating it was an unacceptable step back from the standards set by the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[12]

Upon signing the convention in Oslo in December, Chile’s Ambassador expressed profound satisfaction with the outcome of the Oslo Process and noted the “indispensable role” played by civil society.[13] He also expressed Chile’s willingness to host future meetings on cluster munitions.

Use, Production, Trade, and Stockpiling

Chile is not known to have used cluster munitions. It produced and exported cluster munitions in the past and has a stockpile.

In September 2007 Chile stated that it no longer produced cluster munitions and did not intend to produce the weapon in the future.[14] In the past, Industrias Cardeon SA and Los Conquistadores 1700 were reported to have produced at least eight types of air-dropped cluster bombs (CB-130 bomb, CB-250K bomb, CB-500 bomb, CB-500K bomb, CB-500K2 bomb, CB-770 bomb, WB-250F bomb, and WB-500F bomb).[15]

In April 2008, Chile stated that it had stockpiles of two types of cluster munitions that would have to be destroyed under the proposed convention.[16] The precise status and composition of the current stockpile is not known.

A complete accounting of transfers of cluster munitions by Chile is not available. The PM-1 combined effects submunitions delivered by bombs produced in Chile have been found in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Sudan.[17] The destruction of 41 stockpiled Chilean CB-250K bombs was reported in Colombia in March 2009.[18] Additionally, a news article in Berita Harian Online includes an undated photo of a member of the Royal Malaysian Air Force with a CB-250K cluster bomb produced by Chile. The accompanying caption indicates that the soldier is offering an explanation of the weapon’s function and suggests the weapon is part of the Malaysian Royal Air Force’s arsenal.[19] A number of CB-250 bombs were found in the arsenal of Iraq by UN weapons inspectors. The bombs had been modified by the Iraqis to deliver chemical weapons in submunitions.[20]

[1] Interview with Pamela Velasquez Guzman, Coordinator, Chilean Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions, Instituto de Ecología Política, Managua, 24 February 2009. As of mid-April, a legal team was reviewing the convention; it will then go to the ministries of foreign affairs and defense for approval and then to the Congress. Email from Pamela Velasquez Guzman, 13 April 2009.

[2] The proposal was put forward by Austria, Holy See, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and Sweden, and formally supported by 20 other states (Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Peru, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland). Proposal for a Mandate to Negotiate a Legally-Binding Instrument that Addresses the Humanitarian Concerns Posed by Cluster Munitions, Third Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW, Geneva, CCW/CONF.III/WP.1, 25 October 2006.

[3] Declaration on Cluster Munitions, Third Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW, Geneva, CCW/CONF.III/WP.18, 7–17 November 2006.

[4] On the first day of the conference, Amb. Juan Eduardo Eguiguren of Chile was elected as a vice-president.

[5] Katherine Harrison, “Report on the Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, 18–22 February 2008,” WILPF, March 2008, p. 12.

[6] Ibid, pp. 22–23.

[7] Ibid, p. 27.

[8] Ibid, p. 31.

[9] Summary Record of the Plenary and Closing Ceremony of the Conference, Fourth Session: 30 May 2008, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, CCM/SR/4, 18 June 2008.

[10] OAS, “Promotion of and Respect for International Humanitarian Law,” AG/RES. 2433 (XXXVIII-O/08), 3 June 2008, www.oas.org

[11] Letter from Amb. Juan Eduardo Eguigurren Guzman, Policy Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19 August 2008. In Chile, several NGOs have actively supported the campaign against cluster munitions including Amnesty International Chile, Centro de Informacion en Zonas Minadas, and the Instituto de Ecología Política.

[12] Statement delivered by Costa Rica on behalf of Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Uruguay, and Venezuela, Fifth 2008 Session of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 5 November 2008.

[13] Statement by Amb. Alberto Van Klaveren Stork, Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008.

[14] Statement of Chile, Latin American Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions, San José, Costa Rica, 4 September 2007. Notes by CMC. Chile clarified that two companies used to produce cluster munitions, but no longer did so.

[15] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), pp. 306–311.

[16] Statement of Chile, Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean on Cluster Munitions, Mexico City, 16 April 2008. Notes by CMC.

[17] Rae McGrath, “Cluster Bombs: The Military Effectiveness and Impact on Civilians of Cluster Munitions,” London, Landmine Action, 2000, p. 38. The “Iraq Ordnance Identification Guide” produced by the US military documents the presence of the PM-1 submunition in Iraq. Mine Action Information Center, James Madison University, “Iraq Ordnance Identification Guide,” 31 July 2006, maic.jmu.edu.

[18] Email from the Colombian Campaign Against Landmines, 17 March 2009.

[19] News article, Berita Harian Online, undated, www.bharian.com.my.

[20] UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, “Sixteenth quarterly report on the activities of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission in accordance with paragraph 12 of Security Council resolution 1284 (1999) S/2004/160,” Annex 1, p. 10.