Ambassador Steffen Kongstad
President of the Third Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions
Recalling my condemnation on 17 October this year of the Syrian authorities’ use of cluster munitions, I express my deepest concern at reports of renewed use of these unacceptable weapons in Syria in an attack that may have caused the deaths of at least 11 children.
The use of cluster munitions is incompatible with norms established by the international community. Such weapons are unreliable and inaccurate, and are known to be disproportionate and have devastating effects on civilians both during and after hostilities have ended. All belligerents have a responsibility to protect civilians in time of conflict, and to abstain from using means of warfare that cause unacceptable humanitarian consequences.
I find it encouraging that there is a widespread condemnation of this recent use of cluster munitions, demonstrating that the international norm established by the Convention on Cluster Munitions is an effective part of International Humanitarian Law.
In line with the Vientiane Declaration and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, I reiterate my call for all States Parties to condemn the use of cluster munitions by the Syrian authorities. With the devastating humanitarian effects caused by the use of cluster munitions as evidenced by this attack, I urge all States not yet party to the Convention to join, and meanwhile adhere to its prohibitions on all use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions.