What does the Convention say?
Article 2 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions defines the term “cluster munition victim” as “all persons who have been killed or suffered physical or psychological injury, economic loss, social marginalisation or substantial impairment of the realisation of their rights caused by the use of cluster munitions. They include those persons directly impacted by cluster munitions as well as their affected families and communities”.
As is highlighted in the preamble to the Convention, its victim assistance provisions build on principles reflected in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as well as experience from working with the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.
Article 5 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions identifies the obligations of States Parties with regard to victims of cluster munitions. The article also outlines how States Parties are to fulfill these obligations in insisting on the principle of non-discrimination and inclusion of victims in the decision-making process.
11 States Parties reported to have obligations under Article 5: Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chad, Croatia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Montenegro, and Sierra Leone.
In November 2016, the Guidance on an Integrated Approach to Victim Assistance was published. It was developed by the 2016 and 2017 CCM Coordinators on Victim Assistance (Australia, Chile and Italy) and on Cooperation and Assistance (Australia, Austria and Iraq), with technical support from Handicap International. The Guidance aims to assist states to improve the quality of life and uphold the rights of victims.
In November 2020, the CCM Coordinators on Victim Assistance, Mexico and Spain, established a National Focal Point Database as a platform for States Parties with cluster munition victims to exchange lessons learnt and good practices in the implementation of their Article 5 obligations.
In terms of victim assistance, the Lausanne Action Plan encourages States Parties with cluster munition victims to:
- collect and analyse data disaggregated by gender, age and disability;
- address the needs of victims in national policies and legal frameworks, aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and the CRPD;
- develop a measurable national action plan and designate a national focal point responsible for coordinating victim assistance;
- provide emergency and continuing medical care to victims, and have in place well-functioning rehabilitation, psychological and psychosocial services, which are accessible, age, disability and gender-sensitive;
- improve the socio-economic inclusion of victims;
- strengthen the inclusion and meaningful participation of victims in the development of national laws and policies, as well as in the work under the Convention; and
- support the training of victim assistance professionals, and have victims cared for by qualified personnel.