Victim assistance

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, 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 have reported to have obligations under Article 5: Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, Croatia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Montenegro and Sierra Leone.

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.

What next?

In terms of victim assistance, the Dubrovnik Action Plan encourages States Parties to:

  • Strengthen national capacity (including the designation of a focal point within the government to coordinate victim assistance by the end of 2016 and the development of a national disability action plan or a national action plan on victim assistance by no later than the end of 2018);
  • Increase the involvement of victims;
  • Share information;
  • Provide support, assist and cooperate.

By the Second Review Conference in 2020, these efforts should result in:

  • An improvement in the quality and quantity of assistance provided to persons with disabilities;
  • Strengthened respect for human rights to all persons;
  • Increased exchange of information of good and cost effective practices;
  • Increased involvement of victims in consultations and policy-making and decision-making processes on issues that concern them;
  • Increased cooperation assistance for victim assistance programmes, through traditional mechanisms, and south-south, regional and triangular cooperation and in linking national focal points and centres;
  • Increased demonstration of results achieved and/or expected results in Article 7 transparency reports.