Cluster Munitions Use: Civilian Casualties in Yemen

Since March 2015, a Saudi Arabian led coalition has been fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, as part of an operation called “Operation Decisive Storm”. Now, the human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported that due to the use of cluster munitions during the fighting, civilians have been seriously injured.[1]

The production, trade and use of cluster munitions is internationally outlawed by the Oslo Convention, which entered into force on 1 August 2010. As of October 2015, 118 states have joined the Convention, 98 have ratified the convention and 20 further states have yet to ratify it.[2] Despite the major international alliance against the use of cluster munitions they are still used in current conflicts such as in Yemen. Production of cluster munitions occurs, among others, in the United States. The impact on civilian casualties is therefore barely considered.

According to HRW, the Saudi Arabian alliance bears the responsibility for the victims of cluster munitions in Yemen. The alliance is the only party to the conflict, which possess the technical requirements for five of the six types of cluster munitions used. HRW reported that ammunition of the type CBU-105 produced by the US based Textron Systems Corp., (according to SIPRI one of the 20 largest arms manufacturer in the World)[3], was used and has certainly led to injuries among civilians. This is also contrary to US export regulations which prohibit the use of cluster munitions in populated areas. In addition, the US export law prescribes that only cluster munitions, which have a maximum error rate of 1% (i.e. the proportion of faulty ignition) may be sold. The cluster munitions used in Yemen are not functioning in in ways which meet this standard.[4]

Amnesty International reported that Brazilian Astros II of Avibras,[5] and the US CBU-97, as well as the BLU-97 submunitions were apparently used in Yemen.[6] In August 2015, HRW previously reported that Lockheed Martin’s M26 was used with M77 submunitions.[7] The M77 submunition has a particularly high dud rate.

Except for Senegal, none of the participating nations in “Operation Decisive Storm” have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. However, the military operations in Yemen are supported by France and the UK, both of which are signatories of the Oslo Convention.

According to Onvista, Funds in Textron Inc. are held by: http://www.onvista.de/fonds/filter-suche/top-holding.html?ISIN=US8832031012

According to Morningstar, Investors in Textron Inc: http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-overview.html?t=TXT&region=USA&culture=en_US

 

[1] https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/02/14/yemen-cluster-munitions-wounding-civilians, (accessed on 20.02.2016)

[2] http://www.clusterconvention.org/ (accessed on 20.02.2016)

[3] http://www.sipri.org/research/armaments/production/recent-trends-in-arms-industry/The%20SIPRI%20Top%20100%202014.pdf, (accessed on 18.02.2016

[4] http://www.alternet.org/world/meet-massachusetts-company-whose-cluster-bombs-are-killing-civilians-yemen, (accessed 0n 12.02.2016)

[5] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/10/yemen-brazilian-cluster-munitions-suspected-in-saudi-arabia-led-coalition-attack/ (accessed on 12.02.2016)

[6] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/10/yemen-call-for-suspension-of-arms-transfers-to-coalition-and-accountability-for-war-crimes/, (accessed on 12.02.2016)

[7] https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/08/26/yemen-cluster-munition-rockets-kill-injure-dozens?_sm_au_=iVVQ3MNHZgQgMNNV (accessed 15.2.2016)