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The United Nations has voiced concerns regarding the US supplying Ukraine with cluster munitions.
In a recent correspondence with the US government, UN Special Rapporteur Alice Jill Edwards emphasized the dangers of cluster munitions, noting they “indiscriminately and seriously injure civilians both at the time of use and in post-conflict.” Urging the US to reconsider its decision, Edwards wrote, “I respectfully urge Your Excellency’s Government to reconsider the decision to transfer cluster munitions and to halt any plan towards the implementation of such decision.”
This letter, dated July 14, has become public just as the US seems on the brink of approving a shipment of longer-range missiles loaded with cluster bombs to assist Ukraine against Russian-occupied territories.
Cluster munitions are viewed with apprehension on an international level, being banned by over 100 countries due to their indiscriminate nature. However, neither Russia, Ukraine, nor the US has ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibiting these weapons’ production, stockpile, utilization, and transfer.
The alarming factor about these munitions is that they disperse multiple bomblets, which can cause random harm across vast areas. Moreover, unexploded bomblets remain hazardous long after hostilities have ceased. Highlighting this, Edwards remarked, “Women, children and the elderly are most likely to be killed in indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations,” and further emphasized the persistent danger, stating that cluster munitions “often fail to explode as intended on impact and can remain dangerous for decades.”